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FEBRUARY 20, 2003

Ron Dennis's comments on Jordan and Minardi

Ron Dennis told pressmen on Thursday that he is happier to help out the Jordan team than he is to support Minardi.

"I feel strongly that what help is given to those two teams should not be equal as I don't see them as equals in Grand Prix racing," he said. "Jordan have a long established history of competing in Grand Prix racing, led by a colourful and aggressive individual whose skills of survival are finely honed. While he has been known to have a degree of vocal complaint, this pales in comparison to that of Paul Stoddart, who has little track record in F1."

Minardi has always been a backmarker in F1 - apart from a brief period 10 years ago when the team used Pirelli qualifying tyres which were much better than the rival Goodyears - but it has been in Formula 1 since 1985 while Jordan did not arrive in F1 until 1991. Jordan has, however, won three F1 victories. Despite this Minardi is hugely popular amongst racing fans because of its underdog status.

Frank Williams was less controversial in his views.

"There is a will to keep those teams in business," he said. "We do recognise that we need to keep 10 teams if at all possible."

It is unclear whether Jordan will be pleased or not to have Ron Dennis's support. He recently told the Reuters newsagency that money from the other teams was "not included in our forecasts" and that "Jordan is not into charity". This contrasts to comments he made after the January 15 meeting when he said he was delighted that money was being found for the smaller teams, telling The Times that "without this, we would have needed Houdini at his greatest, pulling lots of rabbits out of hats. This means we can go to sponsors and tell them we are definitely in business."

Paul Stoddart was not surprisingly than impressed with Dennis's remarks.

"I have so much to say that it is best that I say nothing," Stoddart said, mimicking the remark made by Dennis after the January 15 meeting. "I think this matter can wait until I see Ron in Australia where we can sort it out."