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  Friday, 16 August, 2002, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Wilson in line for Minardi drive
Justin Wilson
Wilson's dream of an F1 debut was shattered

British racing driver Justin Wilson could drive for Minardi next season.

The reigning Formula 3000 champion missed out on a Formula One debut for Minardi in Hungary this weekend because at 6 ft 3 in he was too tall to fit in the car.

But Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has said that Wilson is one of the drivers he is considering for a seat in 2003.


Our car next year will fit a driver of Justin's physique
Paul Stoddart
Minardi boss

"Justin's most definitely in the frame for next year," said Stoddart.

"It's pretty clear that we've got a track record now of bringing on one star a year and I intend to try and keep that up."

The job as stand-in for struggling Malaysian driver Alex Yoong has gone to Briton Anthony Davidson. The 23-year-old will also race in Belgium.

"It's well known that Justin Wilson was the first choice and had he fitted in the car, Anthony wouldn't have got his break," said Stoddart.

He said Minardi would make sure Wilson could fit into the 2003 chassis.

"There's no doubt that what we've learned in the last week will guarantee that our car next year will fit a driver of Justin's physique," said Stoddart.

Anthony Davidson in the Minardi pit at the Hungarian Grand Prix
Davidson got his big chance after Wilson's problems
"To have been put in this predicament, where less than an inch is the difference between a guy having something he's deserved and dreamed of all his life come true and not, is very harsh.

"The regulations are there to enable a car to be built to accommodate Justin's size. We just didn't choose to build one (this year) because we didn't need to."

Davidson could also press his claims with a strong showing this weekend and Stoddart did not rule out the possibility of an all-British line-up in future.

Australian Mark Webber, who has starred for the team this season, is expected to join Jaguar in place of Eddie Irvine.

"It'll probably be decided this weekend actually," Stoddart said of Webber's future.

"I think there's a fair chance that we will (lose him) and I'm not afraid of losing Mark.

Possible takeover

"I need Mark to go on and do bigger and better things, he's very much a driver that I feel personally involved with and secondly we have got a good track record of bringing on one a year and I rather like that."

Stoddart said Minardi were talking to three groups of investors, one of them involving Irish businessman Brendan McGuinness.

McGuinness represents a Saudi consortium interested in a total takeover of the team.

But Stoddart's preferred option is to stay in F1 and not sell a majority of the team.

He said there was another group of investors "as English as the day is long and a nice bunch of people as well".

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

Race statistics

Budapest build-up

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
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