Stoddart bids Minardi farewell 10 Sep 2005
Paul Stoddart purchased Minardi in 2001 and has since become one of the best-known team bosses in Formula One racing. Following the announcement of Red Bulls takeover at Spa on Saturday, the outspoken Australian explained his decision to sell the team and paid tribute to those behind it:
"From a purely personal standpoint, I am going to be very sad to leave this Paddock and the sport I love. I have always said, however, that I would consider selling the team if a serious potential buyer could meet certain key conditions.
"Specifically, I wanted to be convinced of the following: (1) there was sufficient personal commitment and commercial backing in place to move the team to a level of competitiveness that I could not; (2) the team would continue to be based in Italy; and (3) the majority of team personnel would have a stable future. After detailed discussions with (Red Bull owner) Dr Mateschitz's representatives, I am satisfied that Red Bull meets all of these criteria, and on that basis, I have agreed to sell the team.
"Finally, I want to thank everyone at Minardi for their unflagging support over the five years of my ownership. It may be the smallest team currently on the Formula One grid, but it definitely possesses the largest heart. It would be entirely fitting, and not beyond the realms of possibility, to see Fernando Alonso, who started his career with Minardi in 2001, crowned as the youngest-ever Formula One World Drivers' Champion here tomorrow."
Minardi will continue to operate in their existing guise, with the same driver, sponsor and personnel arrangements, for the remainder of the 2005 season.