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Red Bull to Move Minardi to UK by 2008

Red Bull's Helmut Marko has confirmed that plans are in place to shut down the Minardi Faenza factory and bring the company's two teams together in England by 2008

"We will stay for at least another two years, I would say, in Faenza," Marko told Autosport-Atlas. "After that it's open. But in 2008 you have the regulations where you can supply various teams. I think the real cost effect will come in 2008.

"We won't have in 2008 one team in Italy, one team in England. I would say it's sure they will be at one location, and the most logical one. We can't move our wind tunnel. Have you ever seen it? You should see it at Bedford, it's unbelievable. It's one of our main assets. So England is the obvious choice."

Red Bull's relocation plans do not necessarily mean that all the employees will lose their jobs, and some could move to the UK. However, the majority of the workers at Faenza today were born and bred in the region, and family commitments make relocation impossible.

In addition, there will clearly be no need for many of the factory-based staff involved on the production side if a Red Bull Racing chassis is used.

The news will come as shock to Minardi's Italy-based employees, since Paul Stoddart has always insisted that he would only sell his team to a buyer who would protect his staff, and Red Bull has clearly only made a short-term commitment.

In contrast, Eddie Irvine, whose firm bid was trounced by Red Bull at the last minute, has always said that he would prefer to base his Russian-financed team in Italy, even if he has to start from scratch.

Speaking to Autosport Atlas, Stoddart said: "There's two to three years guaranteed for the staff and the presence in Italy, and that's from [Dietrich] Mateschitz himself. I'm pretty happy with that. After that they have to prove themselves. I only ever gave them two years. I said, 'Look, I'll give you two years, and I'll make a decision in two years.' They're pretty much in the same boat. I think they'll remain there. Red Bull are clearly interested in building their market share in Italy, and that's a good way to do it."

However, Stoddart appeared genuinely surprised when told of Marko's comments.

"I've not heard that, so I can't comment. Don't assume that [regulation permitting] shared technology is a given. Even without me around there are a lot of other people who don't agree with that, so we'll see."

Stoddart is to run his two-seater programme from Ledbury and says jobs will be available there: "Whereas before I've been able to share people with the F1 team, that will now need a bigger staff dedicated to it. The chances are that opportunities for employment will arise at Ledbury."


For a further analysis of the Red Bull/Minardi deal, read the Weekly Journal this Wednesday.

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