Gabriele Rumi has returned to the helm of the Minardi team and is desperately searching for a way to keep it in Formula 1 next year.
Rumi, who sold his majority share in the Faenza-based outfit to South American cable network PSN only for the deal to go sour, is struggling to find an engine supply and financial backing for 2001. His options seem to be changing by the day, as the hoped for supply of Supertec engines appears to have dried up.
Minardi's best bet for an engine deal seems to rest with Cosworth, which supplied its Zetec-R V10 powerplants this season. The Northamptonshire-based engine marque has previously said it won't supply any other teams beside Jaguar next season, but is coming under pressure to offer a lifeline to F1's minnows. Insiders suggest that Grand Prix supremo Bernie Ecclestone has asked Cosworth to reverse its decision and continue to supply Minardi with its old engines badged as Fondmetal.
"I am trying all possibilities to secure a safe place for the team," said Rumi. "I hope that in a week there can be some positive developments."
Stories that Minardi's young gun Fernando Alonso, who has a five-year contract with the team, has been lured away by Benetton's Flavio Briatore seem wide of the mark. Alonso is believed to have access to money from LeasePlan, which would bring much needed financial relief.
Minardi hopes to announce a full package of drivers, sponsors and an engine deal on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
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