Irvine and Minardi

Eddie Irvine, we can reveal, will attend a third grand prix on the trot at Monaco next weekend. It, perhaps, gives credence to an odd rumor in the Barcelona paddock — that the Ulsterman and former Ferrari driver has a keen eye on Minardi.

Although current Faenza owner Paul Stoddart sat out Spain with a nasty 'flu, speculation whispered that 39-year-old Irvine – with a personal fortune outpacing even countryman Eddie Jordan – may buy the back-of-the-grid squad.

Irvine, 39, has – until now – seldom showed a face in the Paddock since retiring in 2002. He said in January: ''The idea of owning a (grand prix) team is interesting, but the way it is at the minute, the sport is not owner-friendly.''

Years ago Irvine said on a number of occasions that he would like to start a Champ Car team, but that was before Tony George created the IRL and brought the entire sport of Indy Car Racing to its knees and near death.

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