JANUARY 30, 1995

Minardi takes legal action against Mugen Honda

GIANCARLO Minardi says he is taking legal action against Mugen Honda for alleged breach of contract. The Italian had expected to run Mugen-Honda V10 engines in F1 this season, but discovered at the last-minute that Benetton boss Flavio Briatore had somehow convinced the Japanese to supply Ligier instead. The decision left Minardi in a disastrous state, with a car designed for the Honda V10 and parts already being made. The Minardi team has been working flat out ever since to build a car with for a Ford ED engine - although the deal had not been sorted out in time for the official FIA entry list which left Minardi's engine unknown - but the M195 is not expected to appear before the third week of February, just in time to be freighted out to Argentina for the first Grand Prix of the year.

Minardi has confirmed that his drivers for 1995 will be Pierluigi Martini and new signing Luca Badoer, who drove for Minardi's partner Beppe Lucchini when the Italian steel baron was running his own Scuderia Italia team. Badoer brings important financial support to the team from Marlboro Italy, which is also supporting Minardi's new test driver Giancarlo Fisichella.