Toyota denies it poached Brunner illegally

Toyota has defended claims it illegally snatched technical director Gustav Brunner from European Minardi

Toyota denies it poached Brunner illegally

The Japanese team, which makes its F1 debut next year, announced last week that Brunner has signed as technical director to head up its £230 million assault on Formula 1, which begins for real in 2002.

European Minardi boss Paul Stoddart says Brunner is contracted to the team for another 18 months. But Toyota spokesman Chris Hughes said: "Our lawyers offered to help Gustav and they checked all the relevant documentation.

"They haven't found any breach in his contract. There is no evidence of this accusation at all. If there had been we would not have got involved."

Stoddart has previously said he will take the case to the courts.

"We are surprised and saddened that a company of Toyota's standing would seek to employ Mr Brunner, who has an irrevocable contract with Minardi until January 1st, 2003," he said. "As such, Minardi will be pursuing all its options in law against both Mr Brunner and Toyota."

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