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FEBRUARY 15, 2005

Ferrari's role in the Minardi kerfuffle

There has been a lot in print in recent days about Minardi's involvement in the Australian Grand Prix and whether or not the small Italian-based team should be allowed to run 2004 cars for the first three races. Most of the teams agree that this is perfectly acceptable because Minardi is not really a threat to anyone in those three events. When Minardi boss Paul Stoddart tried to get all the team bosses to sign to allow him to do this (in Japan last year) there were eight teams in favour and only two opposed to the idea: one was Sauber, the other Ferrari. Since then Sauber has changed his mind and supports Stoddart's case and Ferrari has not been asked since - if only because none of the team bosses have actually seen Jean Todt because of his political isolation. Thus the whole thing can be solved very simply with Ferrari signing a piece of paper and letting Minardi run with old cars.

"They have not been asked to do it," says Stoddart. "But maybe Jean has had a change of heart since the autumn. I hope so for the good of the sport. Nobody wants all this drama to happen in Melbourne."

Stoddart says that the recent spats over the 2005 rule changes are also fairly easy to solve.

"All it would take is a Formula 1 Commission meeting and I am sure if one was called that there would be a spirit of cooperation that would see the rules formally ratified."

A Formula 1 Commission is long overdue. There are supposed to be three or four such meetings a year (the details are not clear as they are in the confidential Concorde Agreement) and there has not been a meeting since June 28 last year, (seven and a half months ago).