Christijan Albers' chances of racing in Formula 1 in 2003 now look extremely unlikely, after the Dutchman revealed that his 'sponsors' have had unsuccessful talks with Minardi boss, Paul Stoddart.

A statement on Albers' personal website, notes: "We expect that Christijan Albers will not drive for Minardi F1 in the 2003 season.

"Although we have found the essential budgets for the drive and we are still talking to two companies who are interested in becoming title sponsor of Minardi F1, the sponsors and Paul Stoddart could not agree on the payments due on the very short term and the contracts.

"We regret this, but we understand it as well. On 31st December, the conditional contract ended. It is highly likely that Christijan will drive DTM in 2003 and if possible he will try to get some more experience as F1 driver through a position as test/reserve driver with Minardi or another team that has shown serious interest.

"We hope to finalise negotiations soon. And we are still looking for companies who are interested in building F1 successes together with Christijan."

Albers himself added: "Formula 1 remains the ultimate goal for me so I do not give up my hopes. I know I can make it. My sponsors made a fantastic offer to Paul, which he unfortunately could not accept.

"Fortunately there is still a lot to win for me with Mercedes in DTM and since I am only 23 there is enough time to become F1 driver. I still hope that I can start my career with Paul Stoddart and Minardi F1.

"I really like the team and hope that they get stronger soon. I look forward to the next season and hope it will be as successful as the year in which I became F3 champion. I want to win again and I am at top fitness."

Albers' mangement though has not given up on Minardi and racing in F1 in 2003. They concluded, slightly contradicting their earlier comments, by saying: "We promise that Christijan will test a F1 car sooner than anyone may believe. And we want to say that there is still a chance that Christijan will drive F1 in the season to come..."