AUGUST 16, 2002

Gazprom joins Minardi

A visit to the Minardi motorhome in Budapest revealed a large number of Russian guests and the car featured a discreet badge from the giant Russian energy company Gazprom. Gazprom is the world's biggest gas company, it controls 94% of all Russian gas production (which is 23% of the world's output and is responsible for around 8% of Russia's gross domestic product. This means that the company pays about 25% of the tax received by the Russian government! The company is listed on the stock exchange and has investors both at home and abroad.

The company is developing its international markets and it is expected that the F1 involvement will be to help the company become better known around the world, particularly in Asia.

It is believed that Gazprom is probably behind a bid to buy a share of Minardi although this is not related to the much talked-about Saudi Arabian consortium. If the Russians do buy into the team it is anticipated that Paul Stoddart will remain in charge with Gazprom owning a minority shareholding.