APRIL 30, 2003
Is the US team still out there?
A quiet visit by former World Champion Phil Hill to the Minardi factory in Faenza is being linked to the plan which emerged last year for an All American Formula 1 team. The team, announced by Hill and Dan Gurney at the United States Grand Prix in September last year, failed to come to fruition because the group behind the plan did not find the backer needed for the project. But that does not mean that the ambition has disappeared.
Minardi is available if the right buyer comes along. Paul Stoddart has made no secret of the fact that he will happily pass the team on if the right approach is made and Hill's visit to Faenza could be seen as a reconnaissance to establish what Minardi has on offer. The team's British facilities have been largely closed down in the last few months, leaving operations to be run from the Italian base.
Hill and Gurney (or more importantly those behind them) have an agreement in principle for an engine supply from Cosworth Racing although the chance of cheap engines from other manufacturers might prove to be more interesting in the longer term.
The intention still appears to be to have a design and production facility in the United States with a race headquarters in Europe.
The whole project however depends, as ever, on money.
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