Perhaps was 2000 the season that brought the biggest chance within the Minardi team. Where 1999 was a pretty good season, it seemed that the M02 would bring even more competitive results. The first signs came during the test in February at Silverstone where Marc Gené had the second fastest time. Acknowledging this was on new tyres and low fuel it still looked good for the season. However, the biggest rumour of the early season was the buyout of the team by their title sponsor Telefonica! The plan was to move the team to Spain eventually the buyout did not happen. The most interesting part were reports that Damon Hill was in the scope for a buyout of the team.
After Damon retired from the Formula One in 1999 he told that he would like to run a team. Therefore it was even more interesting that the reports appeared in magazines like F1 Racing Magazine in late March. The reports stated that Hill was involved with a buyout of the Italian team. It was said he was fronting a bid by British Telecom. The plan was to buyout Minardi’s title sponsor Telefonica for a couple of millions.
At that moment Telefonica was working to buy 51% of the shares from the team. In that case Minardi would move to Spain and become a Spanish Formula One Team. Marc Gené, who was already Minardi’s driver, would be one of the drivers for the years to come perhaps also Fernando Alonso would join the team as an all-Spanish team. While the talks were going in March it seemed the negotiations stalled.
Therefore it is interesting that British Telecom with Damon Hill were in the scope now to take over the team. British Telecom was looking into the Formula One to sponsor a team and expand their brand. However, the question stays why buyout a concurrent who is or was in negotiations to purchase the same team? Honestly I have no idea. It would be a better idea to sponsor one of the British teams on the grid instead. What about Damon? At that time it seemed he was looking for a way to go after his F1 career ended. Eventually, Hill would race with the Minardi 2-seater.
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