DECEMBER 16, 2002
Wilson at Minardi
The Press Association is reporting that Britain's Justin Wilson will be named as Minardi's first signing of 2003 tomorrow at a press conference in London. Our sources confirm that this is indeed the case and so the lanky Yorkshireman, who won the 2001 International Formula 3000 Championship will finally get his chance in Formula 1, having spent this year racing in the Formula Nissan series, based in Spain.
Wilson had to come up with money to land the drive and is believed to have found around $5m in sponsorship to secure his chance in Formula 1. Minardi will be building chassis which are designed to accomodate the 6ft 3in Wilson. Wilson was talking to the Newman Haas Racing team about a drive in CART next season but it is now expected that opportunity will go to Italian Giorgio Pantano.
The identity of the second Minardi driver is still to be decided but a contract does exist for Christjian Albers to take the drive if his sponsors come up with the money. The Dutchman has a contract with the team but the terms of the deal have not yet been met.
The news is a boost for British racing with Wilson joining David Coulthard and Jenson Button as the country's representatives in F1. It had been thought that British drivers would drop to just two, following the departure from Jaguar Racing of Eddie Irvine. It is not expected that Irvine will find another F1 drive although a possibility still exists at Jordan.
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