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OCTOBER 11, 2003

No Ecclestone investment in Minardi

Bernie Ecclestone has not made any investment in Minardi, despite the announcement in Canada that Formula 1's commercial boss that he would step in to help the team. Ecclestone moved in at the Canadian GP when it looked like the team was going out of business and helped to get some money from the other teams to keep Minardi afloat.

"I think I can make it very clear that although he hasn't invested any actual money that is largely because the team has actually improved its positions since Canada," said team boss Paul Stoddart. "Certainly having Bernie in the background has done no harm at all."

Minardi has not been having it easy, however, and in Japan Stoddart made life rather uncomfortable for one of his sponsors which has not paid this year. In practice on the Friday at Suzuka the two Minardis ran with the Stayer company logos as usual but over the name was printed "Not paid" in red. The T-car was even less subtle, featuring the words "Cheque bounced".

The company owes Minardi $270,000.