Minardi faces D-Day
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart will find out on Wednesday whether he will need to resort to legal action to race in his home Australian Grand Prix as he seeks out Ferrari's approval to use his 2004 cars for the start of the new Formula One season.

Stoddart has made no secret of the fact that he wants to use his 2004 cars, modified only to comply with the latest safety regulations, because he does not have the resources to get his 2005 challenger ready before the San Marino Grand Prix. He has also argued recently that he believes 2005's regulations are not actually legal - so is justified in running the old cars.

For him to be able to race the 2004 cars, Stoddart primarily needs the approval of all of his rival team bosses before the matter is put to the sport's governing body. Support has come from eight of those, with Ferrari having yet to signal officially whether it will back the plans.

Stoddart claims that on two occasions Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt indicated that he would not approve allowing Minardi to run its 2004 cars, but there appears to be growing suggestions that the world champion team will actually agree to the move in Melbourne.

With scrutineering for the Australian Grand Prix due to begin on Wednesday, Stoddart needs to get Todt's signature of support before he can even try and present his cars - because otherwise they will simply be rejected by the FIA at the first hurdle.

Stoddart is planning to see Todt in Melbourne on Wednesday to try and gain his support - and indicated on Tuesday that he was confident of a positive outcome.

"I'm not nervous, I would say uneasy is the right word,"said Stoddart. "Information from third parties in the paddock suggest that we are going to be okay.”

Should Ferrari's support not be forthcoming, then Stoddart will be unable to get approval from the FIA and may have to resort to legal action to try and compete in Australia. He does, admit, however that there is a very slim chance he could be barred from the event.

"There is a theoretical possibility but, in reality, we will race. The absolute last resort is the legal option," he said.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Minardi
Author Jonathan Noble
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