Nicolas Minassian and Brand split

Nicolas Minassian has split with the Brand Motorsports Formula 3000 team after just one race

Nicolas Minassian and Brand split

Brand issued a press release saying that it had sacked the Frenchman after he threatened a team member during practice for the first race of the season at Imola last weekend. However, Minassian has said that he quit the team after it failed to live up to pre-season promises.

In the Brand statement, team boss Martin Kendrick said that the team had decided to sack Minassian before the race at Imola, but that the driver was not told until the team returned to England. Kendrick described Minassian's apparent actions as "clearly unacceptable behaviour from a professional driver."

But speaking to autosport.com Minassian described the Brand statement as a "pile of lies." The Frenchman said that he decided to quit the team before the first race, after promises and assurances over Brand's ambitious plans, including running in the upcoming German Champ Car race, failed to be realised.

"Everything that I was told the team was going to do didn't happen," said Minassian. "The team lost most of the staff it had in the beginning - they were good people, but they all left. But Martin begged me to come racing, because he said it was going to cost him money. So I agreed to race and decided to do as professional a job as I could. But when you don't test you can't be competitive and I go racing to be competitive.

"So after Imola I decided not to race for the team again. When you've finished second in the championship [in 2000] you only go racing if you can win. Martin wants to go racing. He thinks that he knows the job, but he doesn't. He's very good at what he does with his company outside motor racing, but he thinks he's an engineer and he's not."

In response, Kendrick has said that Minassian had known for three months that the team wasn't going to compete in the european CART races, and that only two staff changes had occurred.

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