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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 14:49 GMT
Minardi handed engine deadline
A day after agreeing a tyre deal for the forthcoming season, Formula One minnows Minardi have been hit with another problem.

The struggling team has been warned that it will not get its engines for next month's Australian Grand Prix unless it pays for them first.

Tony Purnell, the chief executive of Ford's Premier Performance Division, the engine suppliers, said Minardi had yet to pay for its supply of Cosworth engines for the 2003 season.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart will have to pay about 3m ($5m) for the engines, which were used by Jaguar last year.

Best engine

"Paul (Stoddart) is struggling a little bit, but he always seems to come up with the goods," Purnell told Autosport magazine.

"We are being supportive as well as rational. He will have the best engine in the back of his cars ever, and it is working out.

"Closing time is a few weeks away yet, but he (Stoddart) will have to pay before Australia."

Last week Stoddart appealed to other teams to stand by their commitment to establish a cash pool of around 19m ($30m) for the smaller teams.

Tyre deal

On Monday Minardi agreed a tyre deal with Bridgestone for the 2003 season.

Minardi's contract with Michelin expired at the end of last year but a hitch in negotiations meant they were forced to use Formula 3000 tyres in their first tests at Valencia last month.

"We're very pleased to have brought these negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion," team boss Paul Stoddart said in a statement released on Monday.

The struggling outfit also confirmed that 24-year-old Italian test driver Matteo Bobbi would be retained for the new campaign.

"He is a talented individual, who has worked with us now for the past two years," said Stoddart.

"In that time, he has built up an excellent rapport with the team, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with him."

Links to more Motorsport stories


Minardi lodge protest in tyre row
13 Feb 03 |  Formula One
Minardi seek tyre deal
29 Jan 03 |  Formula One
Minardi set for tyre change
23 Jan 03 |  Formula One
Minardi sign Verstappen
09 Jan 03 |  Formula One
Stoddart tips Wilson for big future
17 Dec 02 |  Formula One

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