Friesacher to complete Minardi lineup

UPDATE #6 This rumor is updated to 'fact' with today's announcement that Friesacher will complete Minardi's lineup. See story on Hot News page Our 2005 F1 Silly Season Page is now complete.. 02/15/05 Ex-Formula 3000 racer Patrick Friesacher is set to be announced as Minardi's second driver after Danish driver Nicolas Kiesa's proposed budget for the seat collapsed. Friesacher, who is managed by Thomas Frank, promoter of the Hungarian Grand Prix and consultant to the team behind this year's new race in Turkey, has been in discussions with team boss Paul Stoddart since September, although the role under consideration was as third driver. With the collapse of Kiesa's support it is believed that Friesacher will obtain the seat on a budget which is a third of that proposed by the Dane. 02/12/05 Austrian Patrick Friesacher could drive for Minardi this season after the Formula One team said they would make an announcement in the country next week. While no names were given ahead of the news conference near Klagenfurt, 24-year-old Friesacher has been in the frame to fill the third driver test role on Fridays before grand prix weekends. However, sources suggested he could still be handed the race drive alongside Dutchman Christijan Albers if Denmark's Nicolas Kiesa, being lined up for the second seat, proved unable to raise the required sponsorship. Reuters 02/11/05 With three weeks to go before the start of the 2005 season the Minardi team is likely to announce Patrick Friesacher on the 15th of February. The Austrian could sign as Minardi's third driver. Friesacher would then join Dutchman Christijan Albers at Minardi probably on the Friday of each Grand Prix weekend only. Who will become Albers' race teammate is not announced yet. 02/10/05 (GMMF1.NET) A long delay has cast into doubt the speculated Formula One return of Danish driver Nicolas Kiesa. As a result, 2004 Minardi pilot, Zsolt Baumgartner – albeit linked with a switch to Champ Car – might be back in contention for the Faenza drive. Minardi's second-driver confirmation had been expected early in the week. The new speculation brings into focus a 'hint' about the identity of Christijan Albers' new teammate, uttered recently by team chief Paul Stoddart. Paul said: ''He's European … he's raced in F1 before and he's driven for Minardi before.'' 02/10/05 Nicolas Kiesa was due to be confirmed as a Minardi driver this week but nothing has been heard about the Danish driver and thus it is safe to assume that he is still trying to get the necessary money together to fund the drive. The team is unlikely to sit around waiting for Kiesa and is now understood to be talking once again with Hungary's Zsolt Baumgartner, who appears to be second in line to the Minardi "throne" alongside Christijan Albers. The team is also believed to be in discussion with another Dutchman, Robert Doornbos about a deal as he is believed to have some money available having lost out on a drive at Jordan. 02/07/05 According to our F1 sources, Nicolas Kiesa will get the 2nd seat and Friesacher the third seat (Friday test driver) for Minardi this year. With Albers already announced, that will complete the Minardi lineup for 2005 as well as the grid. The only questions left standing are who will start for Red Bull (Klien or Liuzzi) and Jordan (Monteiro or Karthikeyan).

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