Minardi and Christjian Albers

The recent announcement that Jos Verstappen will not be driving with Minardi next year has loosened tongues down at Faenza, the team miffed at some of the comments made in recent days by Verstappen's new management. It seems that in addition to talking to Verstappen the team has been in negotiation with his big Dutch rival Christjian Albers about a deal. Albers is understood to have the backing of a major Dutch company and we hear stories suggesting that the money involved could be as high as $10m. It seems that Zsolt Baumgartner is promising around the same kind of money and there are also suggestions that there is a deal in the offing with Mexico's Rodolfo Lavin, who has been racing for Walker Racing in CART this year with backing from the Corona beer company.

The team has several other drivers who have sponsorship worth as much as $5m apiece but team boss Paul Stoddart is currently not willing to discuss who will get the drive.

"If I had the opportunity," he says, "I would like to have Justin Wilson back."

Verstappen's only hope now is to take his Trust sponsorship, rumored to be worth $10m, to Jordan but it remains to be seen whether or not the team can meet the demands of Trust, which appears to want title sponsorship. This is not going to happen at Jordan.

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