Minardi announce Arab driver initiative 14 Nov 2003
Minardi has entered into a contractual agreement with Algerian driver, Nassim Sidi Said, whereby both parties will evaluate the possibility of assisting the motor racing career of a suitable Arab competitor with a view to an eventual debut in Formula One racing. The move comes ahead of the first Grand Prix of Bahrain, due to take place in April 2004.
As part of the plan, Sidi Said will promote motor racing in his native Algeria, as well as in other Arab countries, through a young driver training scheme. Under the arrangement, he will take charge of devising a suitable training and evaluation programme to facilitate the selection of the most promising Arab drivers and to assist them to progress into careers in motor racing.
As a result of this new co-operative venture, Sidi Said may, in the future, be offered the opportunity to test a Minardi Formula One car. He will also work with senior Minardi Commercial Department representatives to generate initiatives with a number of potential new Arab sponsors and partners.
"I've been working on this project for a few years now, the aim being to encourage activities related to motor racing in the Arab countries," said Sidi Said. "Personally, I would love to be among the first of these potential F1 newcomers. I have the utmost confidence in the Minardi team, because it is guided by extremely professional people, and I am looking forward to our future co-operation."
Of the arrangement, Minardi boss Paul Stoddart said: "We are very conscious that the launch of the inaugural Grand Prix of Bahrain, in 2004, will generate a notably increased awareness of, and interest in, Formula One in the Arab world, thereby significantly enhancing the sport's position as a global promotional vehicle.
"With this announcement, it is clear Minardi aims to be at the forefront of such activities in the Middle East. In the same way that we have assisted the careers of other young drivers, we also look forward to providing Nassim with the chance to become the first Arab driver to gain first-hand experience of Formula One."
Sidi Said, 30, has raced in the French, Spanish and Italian Formula 3 championships. In 2004 he plans to compete in the French, German and Austrian F3 series.