Minardi signing heralds Telefonica buyout?

The signs for Minardi's buyout by the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica appear to be better than expected, with the news that a young Spaniard has been signed by the team

Minardi signing heralds Telefonica buyout?

Fernando Alonso has taken the same route into the team as lead driver Marc Gene, by winning the Open MoviStar/Nissan championship in Spain, and showing well in a test for the F1 team.

"On that occasion the 18-year-old Spaniard impressed the Minardi technical staff with his immediate adapdability to the Minardi 01 even though he was driving an F1 car for the first time," said a press release issued by the Faenza based team today.

The move is thought to be purely for testing, alongside Giorgio Vinella the team's current test driver. However, the poor performance of Gaston Mazzacane in the second race seat means that the chances of Alonso racing in F1 this year may be a possibility.

The Spaniard is currently racing in the FIA F3000 championship for the Astromega team, where he has shown well for a rookie. He raced from the back of the field to eighth before spinning out at Barcelona.

The deal with Telefonica, where the Spanish Company was tipped to take over Minardi outright, was thought to have foundered. However, Alonso's signing would appear to offer fresh hope.

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