IndyCar »

Q&A: Paul Stoddart - EXCLUSIVE.

by Russell Atkins

After getting his fingers burned in the furnace that is Formula 1, Minardi owner Paul Stoddart has taken his squad over to the Champ Car World Series in a tie-up with the former CTE-HVM outfit in 2007 – with a considerable degree of success.

Having registered two rostrum finishes from the opening three meetings, Minardi Team USA ace and series rookie Robert Doornbos currently sits an impressive third in the overall drivers' standings, to the evident delight of his team boss. Here straight-talking Aussie Stoddart took some time out of his appearance at the inaugural GPlive nostalgic celebration at Donington Park last weekend to talk us through his season so far, and why he believes the best is yet to come…

Q:
Paul, first of all how did you enjoy GPlive?

Paul Stoddart:
The rain held off, which was the main thing. It was certainly a bit windy but not wet. It was good fun.

Q:
The event reunited some old drivers with their former cars. What was the atmosphere like?

PS:
It was pretty good. There were people like Mario Andretti and Stirling Moss wandering around, and there were some pretty interesting cars out on the track. It was great to give people the chance to come along and have a look.

Q:
Being called GPlive, the main focus was obviously on Formula 1, but you're more interested and involved in Champ Cars these days. How are things going for you so far in 2007?

PS:
Pretty good; it's the first time we've seen a Minardi on the podium in two out of three races. You couldn't ask for a better start, and of course even more dear to my own heart is the fact we have the Formula 1 two-seater running at the US events, which the American crowds have been really pleased by. It's a win-win situation.

Q:
How much of a draw is it do you think, having the two-seater there?

PS:
When we start those engines up and they hear the Formula 1 noise it certainly gets people's attention. The crowds seem to love it, and the feedback we've had has been fantastic. Obviously for the passengers who get to ride around the streets of Vegas or Long Beach or wherever, it doesn't get much better than that. It's really working and I'm very happy with it at the moment.

Q:
Those tracks you mention are both American circuits, but you have also just been on a European tour to promote the forthcoming European events. How did that go?

PS:
It was absolutely standing room only in Holland! I think we are going to have two really good events. With the way it is at the moment, people who want to buy tickets had better buy them soon, because the Dutch do love their motor racing and having two races in Europe one week after the other means we are going to see some pretty serious crowds. Obviously from my own personal point-of-view we've had a third and a second now, so the next thing we are aiming for is a win, and wouldn't it be great if Robert Doornbos could win in Holland?

Q:
How much more popular do you think Robert has made Champ Car racing in Holland now?

PS:
The Dutch obviously love their motorsport, but you have to go back to 1994 and Jos Verstappen in the Benetton to find a Dutch driver at world championship level actually getting podiums. I think looking at the crowd cheering Robert on and the people coming onto the website, Robert's success has raised the profile quite a bit. The Dutch love a hero – especially a Dutch hero – and now they have one in Robert, who is actually a contender for race wins.

Q:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Minardi`s Paul Stoddart lights up at Interlagos
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart
2007 ChampCar World Series. 12-14 April 2007. Long Beach Grand Prix. Long Beach, Ca. Robert Doornbos.
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.