TV network buys stake in Minardi

The chief executive of Minardi, Gabriele Rumi, has sold his majority share-holding in the Italian team to a group of investors led by the Argentinian cable television network PSN

TV network buys stake in Minardi

The deal will give the Minardi team a considerable injection of capital and makes the Pan-American TV giant the major shareholder in the outfit. Rumi held a 69 per cent stake which has been bought outright by PSN. Team founder Giancarlo Minardi retains a 31 per cent stake in his eponymous team.

"For a long time I've been asserting that a powerful partner was necessary for the team to grant a more equitable comparison with the other teams, the majority of which are supported by car makers," said Rumi in a press statement.

Neither of the current Minardi drivers have been confirmed for next year, but with PSN's vested interest in the team, Argentinian Gaston Mazzacane looks set to stay on. Spaniard Marc Gene's future largely depends on whether current title sponsor Telefonica stays with the team. The Spanish telecommunications giant is tipped to take its money to the Prost team, with Gene following. Fernando Alonso, who impressed the team in a test last month, is in line to replace Gene.

The income generated from the sale of Rumi's shares will give the team a definite financial boost for the 2001 season. The Faenza-based team has secured a customer supply of Supertec engines for next year, but must pay in the region of £12 million for the privilege, according to sources.

The buyout signals the end of Rumi's involvement with Minardi. He said: "Communication will be a crucial issue in the next few years and a communication group has taken over from me. During my years with the team I believe I gave a contribution to help them grow, and I wish the future managers to pursue this way even further."

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Minardi Chairman Leaves F1; Sells Stake to PSN
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