JUNE 17, 2002

Minardi problem solved?

WE are expecting to hear in the next few hours whether or not Minardi will be saved. FIA President Max Mosley called a team managers' meeting at the Heathrow Airport Hilton recently to discuss the issue and although no agreement was reached during the actual meeting it is understood that Mosley gave the teams a deadline to come up with reasons why Minardi could not have the TV money which would have gone to Prost Grand Prix.

This neat little trick turned the tables on the teams which were pushing Minardi to explain why it should be given the money. Paul Stoddart is absolutely convinced that he has a right to the money but was being pushed to go to the International Chamber of Commerce in Lausanne if he wanted the validity confirmed. The problem for Stoddart is that this would take a minimum of two months and the team could not survive without money coming in.

The Reuters newsagency reported this morning that Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone were in agreement that Minardi should be kept alive and Mosley was had said that if there were no valid arguments from the other teams he would instruct Formula One Management (FOM) to release the funds immediately to Minardi.

Such a move could be challenged in the International Chamber of Commerce in Lausanne but, as the teams well know, this will take two months and by the time the case could be heard the money would have been spent.

Mosley and Ecclestone must be applauded however for keeping one of F1's most popular teams in action. Stoddart says that with the TV money he will be able to complete the season - if all of those who have promised money pay up...