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Stoddart: Irvine Not a Serious Bidder

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has quashed speculation that former Grand Prix driver Eddie Irvine is lining up a bid for his hard-up Formula One team

"I spoke to Eddie in Monaco and I've had a few telephone calls since but if you are asking me whether Eddie Irvine is a serious buyer of Minardi, then no," the Australian told Reuters at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday.

"Have there been any serious discussions? No. Have there been any discussions? Yes, but there always are. There's nothing untoward in that.

"There are always potential buyers around, I'm up to number 37 now," he added.

"I know it sounds very dismissive, and I don't mean to be that way, but not all the people that come to you have the ability (to buy).

"This isn't the case with Irvine but you have some strange characters that want to buy a Formula One team and...I don't have the time to waste."

Former Ferrari driver Irvine, who retired in 2002, has been seen at several Grands Prix this season and has been linked to both Jordan and Minardi.

According to media reports, the Northern Irishman is acting as a go-between for Russian banking and vodka entrepreneur Roustam Tariko.

Stoddart said he had never met Tariko.

"That's not to say I wouldn't, I just haven't," he said.

"The team's always been for sale since 2001 if someone comes along who can do better with the team, and I can see security for the guys and they can do better than me," added the aviation entrepreneur.

"I would not think twice about a manufacturer because it's what Minardi needs long term. But am I desperate to sell it? Categorically not.

"Am I interested in selling it? Not really. So unless the right offer from the right people comes along, you'll have to put up with me for a few more years yet."

That comment will be of interest to Max Mosley, head of the sport's governing body, after Stoddart told reporters recently that he would turn his back on Formula One unless the FIA president stood down.

"We'll see what happens with Max," said Stoddart. "We're in a peace in our time process at the moment and let's hope it lasts for the sake of Formula One, never mind Max Mosley or Paul Stoddart."

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