Ferrari says no, Minardi to miss Oz GP

UPDATE Minardi has been told its cars will pass scrutineering and Australian owner Paul Stoddart is "99 per cent sure" the team will race in Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix despite Ferrari's refusal to approve its participation.

However Stoddart was then told the cars would pass Thursday's scrutineering – a mixed message that left the Australian more hopeful than certain about the team's status at Albert Park.

"We won't know until five minutes before practice I suppose," he said. "Our cars will be scrutineered tomorrow and they will pass at this point. They do meet all the safety regulations, they will be issued with the scrutineering tickets. We'll have to see whether that position of Ferrari is maintained. Once we are scrutineered we can take part in the event and until someone lodges a protest we will be okay … so let's hope it doesn't come to that. Being the optimist, I would say I'm 99 per cent sure (Minardi will take part). It's a blind optimism, because I still believe in this sport. Minardi deserve better than this – its my hometown and the tenth anniversary of the Melbourne race."

03/02/05 Ferrari are refusing to back down in a row with Minardi over allowing the lowly team to use last year's cars in the Australian Grand Prix. Minardi say they have not been able to afford to comply with new rules aimed at slowing Formula One cars down. They can race if all the other teams give their approval, and only Ferrari have refused their consent.

"I spoke to (Ferrari boss Jean) Todt during the night, but he wasn't supportive at all," Stoddart said. "I tried to explain that to him rationally.

"I asked him to delegate the powers to some other member of Ferrari who was actually in Melbourne so we could at least have the discussion. He refused, and the phone call came to an end without a conclusion."

"As a last resort, and I mean last resort, there is always the option of the High Court to challenge the legality of the regulations," he said. "But on this, the 10th anniversary of the Melbourne Grand Prix, I would not want to be the one to spoil the party." BBC

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