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JANUARY 10, 2001

Mazzacane joins Prost

GASTON MAZZACANE has plunged the Minardi team into further crisis after confirming a move to the Prost Grand Prix team for the 2001 season.

Argentine Mazzacane has followed former Minardi team-mate Marc Gene out of the struggling Italian team and will join Alain Prost's French outfit to drive alongside Jean Alesi this season.

Spaniard Gene has joined BMW-Williams as a test driver and Minardi are now left with no drivers, no engine and no major sponsor for the 2001 season.

Mazzacane, 25, made his debut in Formula One with Minardi last season and despite scoring no championship points Prost was impressed with the qualities the Argentine driver illustrated.

"Gaston has shown a lot of determination and motivation," said Prost. "We are happy that he joins the team at a time we consider is a new start for Prost Grand Prix.

"He is in top physical condition and eager to prove himself. He will be a good match for Jean from whom he can learn a lot. I am confident that, with the good technical package we have put in place, next season Gaston Mazzacane will be able to show his true potential."

Prost needed to find a new driver to team-up with Alesi after young German driver Nick Heidfeld left the team at the end of last season to join Sauber.

Mazzacane became the favorite to take the vacant seat after his backers Pan American Sports Network (PSN) negotiated a major sponsorship deal with Prost in December.