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   Friday, 17 January, 2003, 12:17 GMT
F1 to bail out strugglers
The Minardi team will benefit from a windfall from the eight leading team owners and Bernie Ecclestone
Minardi's short-term future looks to be secure
Formula One has thrown a 20m lifeline to its two smallest teams to save them from extinction.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and the eight leading team owners have made the unprecedented offer to Jordan and Minardi to ensure they are on the grid for the 2003 season.

The two teams, who are struggling for funds, will receive the much needed windfall after Ecclestone said he was not prepared to see just eight teams competing this season.

The step came at the end of an emergency meeting in which Max Mosely, president of the sport's governing body, banned some of the new technology that was raising the cost of competing beyond smaller teams.

The money will mainly come from the lucrative television revenues that the sport receives being redistributed to give Jordan and Minardi a greater share.

The report in the Times newspaper also says that money gained by the demise of the Arrows team will be used to help bridge the gap between the richest and poorest teams on the grid.

Eddie Jordan watches on from the pit lane
Eddie Jordan is relieved by Ecclestone's offer

The owner of Jordan, Irishman Eddie Jordan, said: "Without this, we would have needed Houdini at his greatest, pulling lots of rabbits out of hats.

"This means we can go to sponsors and tell them we are definitely in business.

"I can now say hand on heart that we are in a position to fight in the championships again."

Paul Stoddart, the Minardi owner, shared Jordan's relief.

"There was unanimous agreement that we could not go below ten teams.

"It takes a lot of the pressure off us and takes away any doubts whether we would be able to see out the season."

See also:

15 Jan 03 | Formula One
05 Jan 03 | Formula One
Links to more Formula One stories are at the foot of the page.


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