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JANUARY 2, 2001

Minardi to keep place in 2001 - promises boss Giancarlo Minardi

GIANCARLO MINARDI, team founder of Minardi, has promised his team will be on the grid for the start of the 2001 Formula One season in March.

The Italian outfit are yet to announce a new sponsor and engine deal for next season and have still not confirmed their driver line-up for next season.

Spanish driver Marc Gene recently left the team to take up a testing role at BMW Williams while his former team-mate Argentine Gaston Mazzacane has been linked with seats at Prost and Arrows.

But Minardi has promised fans of the team that Minardi will take up their place on the grid for the 2001 season when it gets underway in Melbourne, Australia.

"I have no intention of commenting on reports until the negotiations we are involved in are definite," said Minardi.

"What we are sure of, however, is that Minardi will be at the start of the championship in 2001.

"We are doing everything in our power to come to a solution because time is money and grands prix dates don't move."