Minardi look set to sign Gianmaria Bruni for 2004, according to reports in the media today.

Minardi team boss, Paul Stoddart, told BBC Sport Online: "We expect to announce one driver in November, and we are closest to doing a deal with Bruni."

Bruni joined Minardi last year in July, when the team announced that he would become their test driver.

Speaking then, Stoddart commented: "Gimmy, as he likes to be called, has been a winner in Italian and European-level motor racing championships... and is clearly a very talented driver who is ready to make the final step to Formula One. I'm sure he is going to be a great addition to the team."

Bruni ran in the Minardi PS03 on three occasions this season, running in the Heathrow session at the German GP, the US GP and in Japan.

The Italian, speaking after his session at Indianapolis, noted: "I'm very pleased with today's outcome and I feel I did a good job for the team - the PS03 chassis had a good balance throughout the session, and I'm happy with the lap time I achieved, especially since it was my first time at Indianapolis. I'm now looking forward to the future, and perhaps being able to race for Minardi."

Minardi had three full time racers this year, Jos Verstappen, Justin Wilson - who left for Jaguar prior to the German GP - and Nicolas Kiesa.

None of the team's drivers finished in the points, and any drivers next year, like this, will be required to bring significant funding.



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