Minardi Confirm Albers for 2005

Dutch driver Christijan Albers will race for Minardi in Formula One next season, the Anglo-Italian team announced on Thursday.

Minardi Confirm Albers for 2005

Dutch driver Christijan Albers will race for Minardi in Formula One next season, the Anglo-Italian team announced on Thursday.

The 25-year-old, a former German Formula 3 champion who has competed in the DTM touring car championship for the last four years, will be the first Dutchman to race in Formula One since Jos Verstappen left Minardi at the end of the 2003 season.

The deal was made possible due to a group of Dutch investors, who the team said will be revealed at a special, pre-season F1 launch party on January 27th. The investors are lead by Lost Boys and Media Republic founder Michiel Mol, who said today: "This is my Christmas present to all Dutch F1 fans."

Albers, who has tested with both Minardi and Jordan in the last month, was test and reserve driver for Minardi in the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

"We are very pleased to be able to announce Christijan as one of our two race drivers for 2005," comments Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. "He has always been a naturally quick driver, but it is clear there is now an added maturity and focus with that speed. In short, we believe he is absolutely ready for Formula One, and we fully expect him to surprise a few people this coming season, particularly since Minardi also has ambitious plans.

"From a personal point of view, it is very gratifying to see a number of Dutch companies getting behind a talented young driver in order to help him take that final, and most difficult, step to the highest level of motor racing. Knowing Christijan as I do, I'm certain he will reward the faith placed in him."

Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner and Italian Gianmaria Bruni drove for Minardi this year with Baumgartner scoring the cash-strapped team's sole point at Indianapolis. Albers's teammate has yet to be decided.

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