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Bruni wins Minardi race seat for 2004 13 Dec 2003

Gianmaria Bruni (ITA) Minardi Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring, Hungary, 22 August 2003

Minardi announced on Saturday the signing of Gianmaria Bruni as one of its 2004 race drivers. The 22-year-old Roman established himself as a test driver with the team in 2003, driving a third Minardi chassis in Friday test sessions during the second half of the season.

"We've obviously had the benefit of observing Gimmi at close quarters this past season because of his testing role with European Minardi, and we're extremely pleased to have been able to sign him as a race driver for the 2004 season," commented Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart.

"We've chosen him because we think he has fantastic natural ability behind the wheel of a race car and is a fitting successor to previous European Minardi drivers, such as Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Justin Wilson. It's clear Gimmi will be following in some illustrious footsteps, but we are absolutely confident he is a new Formula One star in the making."

Delighted at having made the all-important step from Formula One tester to full-time race driver in less than a year, Bruni said: "I'm just so happy. From when I was a small boy, I wanted only to be a Formula One driver. I'm one of the lucky ones, because that dream has now come true.

"My clear goal will be to improve with the team this coming season. This is only the first step, however, as I will just be one of 20 drivers on the grid at the beginning. My aim is to move forward and establish myself in F1, like other Minardi drivers have done in the past. I want to thank Paul Stoddart and the European Minardi team very much. They gave me a good chance this past summer, and it has all come together very quickly since then."

Minardi said that further information concerning their 2004 driver line-up would be announced in the very near future.