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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
Ecclestone gives Minardi lifeline
Minardi driver Justin Wilson and team boss Paul Stoddart
Wilson and Stoddart have battled for survival
Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has given Minardi a financial lifeline by ploughing 2.4m into the struggling outfit.

The 72-year-old's cash boost will be enough to ensure the sport's smallest team can race for the remainder of the season at least.

In return, Ecclestone will become a shareholder in Paul Stoddart's team.

"This speaks for itself and it means we will be here next season," said Stoddart.

"Bernie suggested the idea and the deal was worked out very quickly.

"This is great news for Minardi. Now I hope we can put everything that has happened behind us, because it need not have happened the way it did."

Minardi had already taken steps to improve their funding by arranging an increased sponsorship deal with Dutch computer technology company Trust International.

The team's young British driver Justin Wilson also came up with an innovative idea to secure his F1 drive by selling fans share options in his driving career.

Wilson and his team-mate Jos Verstappen will start from 18th and 15th place on the grid respectively in Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.




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