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Toyota and Minardi

NEWS STORY
15/04/2004

In recent weeks there have been suggestions that Toyota might be considering supplying engines to Jordan, with the Irish outfit's owner Eddie Jordan extremely keen on the idea.

However, there have also been stories linking the Japanese manufacturer with Minardi.

A report in Auto Motor und Sport suggests that not only could Toyota provide the tiny Italian outfit with power-plants, they could even be provided free, or at least in exchange for development work and the opportunity to run young drivers. The German publication also suggests that an alliance between Minardi and Toyota would effectively give the Japanese outfit two votes on all issues covered by the Concorde Agreement, a highly useful tool for the 'newcomer'.

The down side is that if the deal does happen it probably wouldn't be before 2006, and there are doubts as to whether Minardi boss Paul Stoddart can 'tread water' in the meantime. Meanwhile, Toyota chairman and team principal, Tsutomu Tomita, is quotes as saying: "The supply of a second team only makes sense if our own problems have been solved."

This year's engine has been ranked as one of the best in the business, with technical director Mike Gascoyne describing it as a potential championship winner.

Before dismissing the idea out of hand, the following should be considered.

Paul Stoddart and Ove Andersson have a healthy respect for one another and get on well. It is also a matter of record that Andersson too has said that Toyota is willing to supply engines to another team.

Paul Stoddart and Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne remain firm friends from the 'Tyrrell days', whilst there are a number of well regarded former Minardi people now working with Toyota.

Also, the German report suggests that Eddie Jordan has lost credibility with Toyota as a result of "business manners".

So the idea of a Minardi-Toyota shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, far from it.

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