JANUARY 5, 2002
Mark Webber and Minardi
Rumors are currently circulating suggesting that Mark Webber is getting ever closer to a deal to lead the Minardi team in 2003.
Webber and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart are both Australians but they had a bit of a fallout in 2000 when Webber decided to leave the Minardi Formula 3000 team to take up an offer to drive for Super Nova Racing. Having said that both men know the value of promoting an Australian team, even if the economy in Australia is not doing that well. The country does have several global companies which could step in to help Webber and while there has been a lot of speculation that Webber's backer may be Fosters, it is more likely to be a company which is not known in F1.
Stoddart is in no hurry to make a decision as he is waiting to see what will happen with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jos Verstappen. Both men are hoping to drive for Arrows but it is unlikely that Tom Walkinshaw will be able to pull off that deal as it seems he must also find a drive for Enrique Bernoldi.
Frentzen and Verstappen are both seasoned F1 campaigners and that would be valuable to Minardi. Webber is quick and has some F1 experience as a test driver but this may not be enough to get him the drive if one of the others is available.