Stoddart to Champ Car?

Former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, who sold his team to Red Bull last year, has said that he believes the ‘day of independents’ in F1 is over. Along with colleagues such as Eddie Jordan and Peter Sauber, he ran a small F1 outfit until the advent of the ‘multi-billionaires’.

Currently, seven out of the eleven teams are owned or part-owned by car manufacturers. The ‘privateers’ – Williams and Super Aguri – are both closely aligned with big car firms. Red Bull own the remaining two privateer outfits. Stoddart explains “I think the day of the independents in F1 is over unless they are multi-billionaires.” Stoddart, who made his millions selling aviation spare parts to Europe, said that with his final budgets, he could no longer compete in Formula 1.

Instead, Stoddart is now close to fielding a Champ Car team. Of Formula 1 he said “You do get depressed when you operate on a tenth and sometimes a twentieth of the budgets of those further up the grid”. At the recent Surfer’s Paradise race, he continued negotiations with the series organisers and said he was hoping to get a team together for 2007. He explained “The devil is in the detail and there are a lot of detailed discussions to be had.” Kevin Kalkhoven, the series boss, said the Champ Car series would welcome Stoddart. “I don’t know what Paul’s final decision will be but we certainly want to have him around.”