FEBRUARY 2, 1998
Nakano joins Minardi...
MINARDI has announced that it has signed a deal with Japanese driver Shinji Nakano for the 1998 season.
Minardi has yet to announce its full sponsorship package and to date the car has only been seen running in a neutral grey color scheme, but it seems that there will be greatly increased support from Fondmetal - the wheel-making company owned by the Minardi team's chief shareholder Gabriele Rumi.
Fontana's support comes from Telecom Argentina, the Argentine TV station Telefe, from the Argentine GP organization itself and from the credit card company Visa. The backing from Visa highlights the current credit card war being fought in SouthÊAmerica between Visa and Jordan Grand Prix sponsor Mastercard.
"I believed that Shinji may do exceedingly well this year," said team boss Giancarlo Minardi, "after the difficulties he had in 1997. These are inevitable in any debut season. Now he is no longer a newcomer, I won't deny that we expect a great deal from him."