MARCH 7, 2001
Stoddart predicts big things for Alonso
FERNANDO ALONSO will be the revelation of the season according to his European Minardi boss Paul Stoddart.
The promising Spaniard finished 12th at his debut race in Australia, and Stoddart believes the 19-year-old will go on to become a big Grand Prix star in the future.
"I think Alonso is easily going to be the rookie of the year and is going to go on for bigger and better things in F1," said Stoddart. "I really do mean that.
"Anyone putting money on Fernando not scoring a point is a braver person than me. We have shown one of F1's latest revelations in Fernando."
Alonso is one of seven new drivers on the Formula One scene this season along with Montoya (Williams), Luciano Burti (Jaguar), Tarso Marques (Minardi), Kimi Raikkonen (Sauber), Olivier Panis (British American Racing) and Enrique Bernoldi (Arrows).
Bernoldi, Montoya, and Alonso's team-mate Marques all retired from the race in Australia, but Stoddart also predicted that Marques, who drove for Minardi in 1996 and 1997, will show his true form soon, especially when there is a wet race.
Stoddart added: "Tarso has matured a lot in the years since he was first at Minardi and the last few seasons in CART have helped. You wait for a wet race. Some rain and a bit of reliability and who knows!"