Honda F1 website

OCTOBER 21, 2003

Gianmaria Bruni close to an F1 deal with Minardi

The latest word from Italy is that Roman driver Gianmaria "Jimmy" Bruni is close to signing a deal to drive for Minardi in 2004. The 22-year-old impressed this year in several outings as the team's third driver in test on Fridays, coming close to the times of the regular drivers despite not always having the best available tires.

Bruni has been racing since he was 10 and after competing in the Italian Formula Renault Campus series in 1998 moved on to win the European Formula Renault title in 1999 with Roberto Cavallari's JD Motorsport, beating Antonio Pizzonia to the title in the final round. In 2000 he moved to Britain and raced for the Fortec team in British Formula 3 and was fifth in the championship and he stayed on for a disappointing second year in 2001. Unable to afford the jump to Formula 3000 he had been racing in the European series for Coloni Motorsport but this year managed to scrape together the backing to test for Minardi.

If Bruni does sign for Minardi, Jos Verstappen is going to have to be careful as unless he is able to land a drive with Jordan or Jaguar he could find himself out of work as Minardi is believed to have several other young drivers with money keen to take the second seat.