MARCH 4, 1996

Minardi to get Fisichella?

MINARDI is expected to arrive in Melbourne this week with a new driver line-up: Pedro Lamy and Italian youngster Giancarlo Fisichella.

The team announced recently that its second driver would be Japanese pay-driver Taki Inoue, but we understand that late last week it became clear that Inoue's sponsorship money from Unimat and Clearly Canadian had not arrived, and the team had decided to put in Fisichella, who is likely to be considerably faster than the Japanese driver.

Fisichella is only 23, and was a topline kart racer before he began car racing in Formula Alfa Boxer in Italy in 1991. He continued to race karts while competing in Italian F3. He won the Italian F3 Championship and the Monaco F3 Grand Prix in 1994. He was named a Minardi test driver for 1995 and was hired by Alfa Romeo to compete in the German Touring Car Championship. This year he is expected to continue with Alfa, while testing for Ferrari and Minardi, although if Inoue's money does not appear he will probably get a full-time job with Minardi.