Minardi doubles Dutchmen

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The Independent Online

The Austrian has lost his race seat with the back-of-the-grid team as sponsorship money has dried up, opening the door for Doornbos, the Jordan test driver. Minardi now boast an all-Dutch line-up as Doornbos will partner Christijan Albers for the remaining eight races of the season.

"We welcome Robert to Minardi," said the team boss Paul Stoddart. "He has demonstrated over the last year he has the pace necessary to compete in Formula One. "We are pleased to give him the opportunity to make his world championship debut at this weekend's German Grand Prix.

"I believe he is going to do an excellent job over the coming races, and I'm sure the Minardi team can expect even more enthusiastic support from the Netherlands - if that's possible - as we now have the first, all-Dutch driver line-up."

Stoddart, though, was sorry to lose Friesacher, but the cash-strapped team need every penny they can get and the 24-year-old was no longer able to play his part in bringing in necessary funds.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick sincerely for his efforts on behalf of the team," Stoddart said.

"Although commercial considerations mean we have had to bring our relationship with him to an end, this decision should in no way be taken as a reflection on his skill or ability as a driver.

"We continue to rate him very highly, and wish him all the best for the future."

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