Stoddart wants Dutch duo
|By David Malsher||Monday, December 18th 2006, 17:26 GMT|
Paul Stoddart has admitted that there could be major Dutch interest in Minardi Team USA in 2007, and that it may involve Jos Verstappen becoming one of their drivers.
Stoddart, together with Keith Wiggins and Champ Car President Steve Johnson, held a press conference today following the announcement that the Australian has bought a controlling interest in CTE Racing-HVM.
Stoddart confirmed that Dutch businessman Harry Muermans, who backed Jan Heylen at Dale Coyne Racing this season and Stoddart's Minardi team in Formula One, will also have an association with the team.
Stoddart declared: "Harry Muermans is not just a business partner but also a friend of mine, and he will have some involvement in the team. The exact nature of this has not yet been finalised.
"Regarding drivers, Jos [Verstappen] and I go back a long way, and I think he'd be an asset to the team and to the series. We're also talking to Robert Doornbos, who I think is a very talented driver."
To a Dutch journalist, Stoddart remarked: "Expect an exciting announcement in the New Year."
Where this leaves the team's 2006 drivers Nelson Philippe and Dan Clarke is unclear. Stoddart stated today that "Running four cars is probably a bit too much for 2007; three is the aim.
"We are currently seriously talking to four drivers including Nelson and Dan. There are also others beyond that, with whom we're at an earlier stage of negotiations."
Stoddart added that Katherine Legge could be part of the team's new line-up, and that nothing will be confirmed before the new year.
Both he and Wiggins stated their desire to have the drivers finalised by the time of the first test with the new Panoz DP01 on January 23rd.