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MAY 7, 2001

Minardi lose technical director Brunner to Toyota

THE European Minardi team were left reeling on Monday as their technical director Gustav Brunner announced that he has joined the Toyota Formula One project.

Brunner will be chief designer at Toyota and will help develop their first race car for its introduction in the 2002 championship.

"I feel a lot of pain leaving my existing team, but this is an opportunity not to be missed," said Brunner. "To join Toyota from almost the start of the project is fantastic.

"From what I have seen so far, there is a good team of people and all the facilities to really push forward the positive development. I'm looking forward to what will be a busy, but very exciting time ahead."

Toyota, who have embarked this year on a season of testing in preparation for the introduction to the sport in 2002, are delighted to have signed Brunner just one week after parting company with technical director Andre de Cortanze.

Team president Ove Andersson said: "We are extremely pleased that Gustav has agreed to head up our design team. He brings to us extensive Formula One experience, working in the past for over 20 years with various teams.

"Having covered just about every technical aspect of Formula One and he is a guy who can contribute significantly to our project."

Brunner, 50, started in Formula One with ATS in 1978 and has since worked for Arrows, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Ram and March.