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  Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Minardi make job cuts
Minardi driver Alex Webber
Minardi are awaiting a cash windfall
Minardi have axed 22 jobs and could make more redundancies in an effort to slash costs, according to the Formula One team's boss Paul Stoddart.

The Australian-born businessman, speaking in Monaco ahead of the forthcoming Grand Prix, said the team's development programme in Ledbury, Herefordshire, had been stopped.

Stoddart said he was still owed television money earmarked for Minardi following the collapse of the Prost team.

And he warned that if the alleged 8.5m sum was not forthcoming he would consider his position in the sport.


If this situation is not resolved, I don't think I will want to be here next year
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart

"I don't want to say it would threaten Minardi because that would start all kinds of crazy rumours," said Stoddart, who saved the Italian team from bankruptcy last year.

"But you have to ask yourself the question - would I fund a $12m shortfall if I really thought that I had been shafted from one end of this pit lane to the other?

"The answer is probably not, but that's me today.

"I am certainly not a very happy bunny about the fact that I'm having to chase this money across the world.

"If this situation is not resolved, I don't think I will want to be here next year.

"I will hang in there but I am not enjoying it. I came into Formula One for the sport, not to play politics."

Stoddart said the cash had been frozen while Phoenix Finance Ltd - the company that claimed to have bought Prost's rights to compete - had legal action pending against the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

The High Court in London on Wednesday ruled against Phoenix and in favour of the FIA and others.

But Stoddart feared that Phoenix might seek arbitration in Switzerland, a process that could further delay any payout.

"I am sick to death of this whole Phoenix issue," he said.

"It's distracted me and taken my eye off the ball since the very first race. It's ruined this year for me.

"I said last year that I was not going to fund losses this year. I came into this year with a full budget and I've still got a full budget as long as I get paid."

Fellow Formula One outfits Jordan and British American Racing have also made redundancies this season despite far bigger sponsorship deals and budgets than Minardi.

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

Reaction and analysis

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
See also:

23 May 02 | Formula One
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