Visiting Melbourne to oversee his Minardi 2-seater cars in action at the upcoming Australian GP, former team owner Paul Stoddart has all but ruled out making a bid to return to the F1 grid for the 2011 season.
Melbourne-born Stoddart rescued the Minardi team during the 2000-1 off-season, and ran the team for five season until selling it to the Red Bull consortium, where is became Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Famed as one of Formula 1’s “shop stewards”, Stoddart frequently clashed with the F1 powers-that-be (particularly former FIA President Max Mosley), and claimed that he would consider a return to F1 when Mosley eventually left the FIA Presidency.
At the time entries opened, I didn’t put in a bid, but you never say never. I’ll watch and wait," he told The Herald Sun.
"Anyway, at the moment I wouldn’t have the time. I have a very successful business in the US, doing executive and VIP conversions on aircraft like Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s."
During his interview, Stoddart also waded into the debate regarding the lack of on-track action at the season-opening Bahrain GP, which he described as “drop-dead boring”.
"I think it would be very easy to fix it up. They just need to take the [carbon] brakes off and leave it up to the teams,” he said.
Stoddart also called for the ban on mid-race refuelling to be lifted, and suggested that less-durable tyres would also spice up the show.
Under the current guidelines, he felt, some circuits would provide limited on-track action – although he did add that Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit would not fall into that category.
“There will probably be some dramas to liven things up," he said. "There will probably be safety car stuff to mix things up.
At certain tracks, the racing will be very boring," he continued. "That’s not good for Formula One or the business of Formula One. There are some races, like Valencia, where it will be so boring that people will walk out. They will fall asleep and they will walk out.”
I’d probably argue that Valencia has been boring enough to begin with, and we’d certainly agree with Stodd’s prophecy of doom regarding that circuit!
[Images via The Cahier Archive]