Grapevine: Minardi Would Welcome Russian Investor

Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart has said he would welcome investment from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, with the oil tycoon already having pumped £150 million in English football club Chelsea.

Grapevine: Minardi Would Welcome Russian Investor

Minardi team owner Paul Stoddart has said he would welcome investment from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, with the oil tycoon already having pumped £150 million in English football club Chelsea.

Abramovich has turned English football on its head after splashing out to bring some of the world's leading players to Chelsea, and Stoddart would love a similar pot to move his Minardi team up the grid. Formula One is, as yet, an untapped market in Russia and Stoddart is urging Abramovich to get involved in motor racing - his second passion behind football.

"You can bail us out if you want to," was Stoddart's message to Abramovich in The Sun newspaper. "We need someone who can put proper funding into the team. Minardi may be at the back of the grid at the moment but the only thing which has ever stopped us progressing is the lack of cash."

Stoddart met Abramovich when the Russian visited the European Grand Prix and he was given a tour of the Minardi garage at the Nurburgring.

"I met Abramovich at the European Grand Prix and found him a charming person," Stoddart added. "He spent a lot of time in our garage. We arranged for his young son to sit in the cockpit of our car while mechanics did a practice pitstop. We spoke about Formula One and he appeared to have a real interest in the sport."

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