Friesacher out, Doornbos in

UPDATE #6 Minardi will replace Patrick Friesacher with Jordan 'Friday' driver Robert Doornbos at the German grand prix, the Faenza based team announced. 24-year-old Doornbos' gong creates the first ever all-Dutch race line-up, even if he and Christijan Albers reportedly do not get along.

As earlier reported, Austria's Friesacher – also a Formula One rookie – got the boot because some of his backers failed to honor verbal sponsorship assurances to Paul Stoddart. ''This decision,'' said the Australian team owner, ''should in no way be taken as a reflection on his ability. ''We continue to rate Patrick very highly.''

Rotterdam-born Doornbos, who won at Spa in F3000 last year, will round out the year for Faenza based Minardi. Stoddart smiled: ''I'm sure (we) can expect even more enthusiastic support from the Netherlands, if that's possible.''

07/18/05 Minardi will reveal Patrick Friesacher's German grand prix race replacement on Monday afternoon, we have learned. Although an official announcement is yet to be made, the rear of the grid Formula One team has dissolved the Austrian rookie's contract after verbal sponsorship promises were not upheld. Team boss Paul Stoddart, reportedly with Jordan 'Friday' driver Robert Doornbos in the wings, has already admitted that the Friesacher axe is a 'possibility'. 2004 Minardi racer Zsolt Baumgartner is also touted.

It is speculated that 24-year-old Friesacher's problems are connected to the 'Kaernten' logos on the Minardi's rear wing, and the suggestion that tax payer funds were improperly applied. Israeli test driver Chanoch Nissany, meanwhile, tested the PS05 and practiced pit stops at a hot Vallelunga circuit – near Rome – last Friday.

07/17/05 sources tell us that Doornbos to Minardi is a done deal and that Frank Montagny will take his race seat at Jordan. We await the announcement. 07/16/05 With Robert Doornbos almost certain to be named as the replacement for Patrick Friesacher alongside Christijan Albers Dutch F1 fans will get to see who is the faster of their two young drivers now that Jos Verstappen has faded from the scene. Unfortunately they will be fighting over the last two places on the grid, many seconds slower than the top drivers. 07/15/05 Austrian Patrick Friesacher is likely to lose his Minardi Formula One drive next week because his sponsorship money has dried up. "Patrick being replaced at the next race is a strong possibility because of sponsorship money not being paid," Minardi boss Paul Stoddart told Reuters on Friday. The Australian entrepreneur said three drivers were in the frame to replace the 24-year-old and a decision would be taken early next week before the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. He gave no names but the two most likely candidates are Jordan's Dutch reserve driver Robert Doornbos and Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner. Were Doornbos to get the drive, Minardi would have a double Dutch line-up with compatriot Christijan Albers in the other car. Reuters 07/13/05 Patrick Friesacher's brief Minardi career may already have ended. The Austrian rookie, whose sponsors are six weeks late in due payments to Paul Stoddart's rear of the grid team, will – without a rapid cash injection – reportedly not race at Hockenheim this month. In pole position to potentially replace the 24-year-old is Robert Doornbos, the Dutchman and current 'Friday' man at Minardi rival Jordan. His backer, Harry Muermans, may already have met with Stoddart, according to media gossip. 07/09/05 Patrick Friesacher's Minardi seat is in jeopardy, paddock gossip claims. It is suggested that the Austrian rookie has fallen behind in due sponsor payments to Paul Stoddart's rear of the grid F1 operation. The 24-year-old's manager, Thomas Frank – who also manages former Minardi man Zsolt Baumgartner – reportedly admitted at Silverstone to some rumblings within the Faenza located camp. Also according to reports, Stoddart has imposed July's Hungarian grand prix as a deadline for the Friesacher cash.

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