Minardi aims for Middle Eastern dollars

European Minardi has announced a long-term arrangement with Algerian Nassim Sidi Said to help to bring on young Arab drivers with a long-term plan to have one in Formula 1. Said has raced in recent times in Formula 3 in Europe, but he has struggled for money although his backers Khalifa Airways did talk about Formula 1 a couple of years ago. At 30 Said is realistic enough to know that he is now probably too old for an F1 career himself and has committed himself to find new talents in Algeria.

Under the arrangement with Minardi, Said will run a training and evaluation programme to select the most promising Arab drivers and assist them to progress into careers in motor racing. If all goes well he and others may test for Minardi.

He will also be a useful contact for Minardi as it looks for new sponsorship money in the Middle East.

"I've been working on this project for a few years now," he said. "The aim being to encourage activities related to motor racing in the Arab countries, while taking into particular consideration emerging young talent who could make their driving debut in F1 one day. Personally, I would love to be among the first of these potential F1 newcomers."

According to team founder Giancarlo Minardi this is good for both Minardi and the Arab world.

"This collaboration paves the way to the frontiers of the Arab world, a relatively new geographical area for Formula 1," he said. "It is clearly a market in search of new commercial and sporting challenges, something that Formula 1, as the pinnacle of motor racing endeavour, is able to provide."

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