Wilson linked with Minardi

Justin Wilson has been linked with a return to the Minardi Formula 1 team after his chances of retaining his seat with Jaguar Racing were ended when Christian Klien signed up for its second seat today (Tuesday)

Wilson linked with Minardi

Wilson joined Minardi at the start of the 2003 season after putting himself on the stock market to raise funds, and impressed sufficiently that he was given the Jaguar Racing drive when Antonio Pizzonia was sacked in July. But the news that Klien will bag the second Jag seat for 2004 leaves Wilson back at square one - albeit with Jaguar keen to ensure he stays in F1.

A Minardi spokesman said: "We will welcome Justin back with open arms, but without a major sponsor it's a commercial decision."

Wilson's manager Jonathan Palmer said: "Justin was very happy at the [Minardi] team and would be quite prepared to go back and gather more experience to use to prepare himself even better for a further, more competitive opportunity, whilst helping the team get the best results possible. I hope that Jaguar's desire to help can materialise in perhaps assisting with the supply of Cosworth engines to Minardi."

Wilson himself said: "Obviously I'm disappointed with today's announcement but I've been aware of Jaguar Racing's situation and I appreciate they have had to make a commercial decision. In the meantime I will explore other options and look to build on my first season in F1."

Jaguar has maintained all along that it is interested in furthering Wilson's career in F1, but that a major stumbling block is the new ruling that experienced drivers cannot take part as a third driver in Friday sessions during grand prix weekends.

"Our ideal scenario would be to run a third car on Fridays, and Justin would, ideally, be that guy," said Jaguar Racing boss David Pitchforth "But the rules do not allow that to happen at the moment and we have to work within that framework. We'd like to keep Justin as part of the family and we have lots of irons in the fire to try to do that."

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