Stoddart subdued 07 Mar 2003
The expected 'war of words' between beleaguered Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart and Ron Dennis did not materialise today, leading to accusations that Stoddart had been muzzled after a private meeting with the McLaren chief.
Looking tired, Stoddart said, "I have got to look at the interests of the team and a lot has been said over the last few weeks. I'm just going to get on and run my team as best I can."
He admitted that the so-called Fighting Fund, first mooted by Dennis, is "fundamental" to Minardi's survival, and that it is still under discussion.
Dennis, criticised for denigrating Minardi's depth of history in the sport, said: "I met with Paul yesterday afternoon, we spoke about it. The only thing that I said about Paul's team was in one particular interview in which I came to the support of Eddie who had been continuously positioned as being exactly the same as Minardi in its form and its history.
"I can say that neither Williams or McLaren have pulled away from the idea of a fighting fund as a concept. Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the amount of money that Paul received last year, we do not expect him to pay it back. Other things that Paul and I discussed yesterday perhaps gave him a different perspective on what the roles of some of the senior teams are."