Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart has underlined his interest in re-hiring out-of-favour Jaguar driver Justin Wilson by claiming that the Briton did enough in his maiden Formula One season to stay in the sport.

Despite scoring just one point in a year split between Minardi and Jaguar, Stoddart believes that Wilson's performances were good enough to earn him a second crack at the category - and repeated that he would welcome the chance to run the former F3000 champion alongside whoever he hires to pedal the second PS04.

Jaguar is currently trying to find a way to keep Wilson involved in its 2004 programme - including challenging the rule that prohibits drivers with recent F1 experience from taking part in Friday morning testing at grands prix - but could be willing to farm the Briton out if it means he gains greater experience. It is thought that the team would like to run Wilson in 2005 should, as is rumoured, Mark Webber replace Juan Montoya at Williams-BMW, and Stoddart would be happy to play a part in that arrangement - especially if it means that the financial burden on his team is eased.

"There have to be commercial considerations in any driver deal for Minardi, and it is a team owners' market at the moment," he told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, "However, I believe that Justin has done enough to stay in Formula One.

"I would be proud to have him back. Cosworth is our engine supplier and we have a fantastic arrangement with them - I think Jaguar would do anything to see that Justin is alright because they rate him. I'm not saying anything will happen, but don't write off Justin Wilson returning to Minardi..."

Wilson lost his seat alongside Webber for 2004 after Austrian Christian Klien impressed in his debut F1 test last week. The F3 Euroseries frontrunner is thought to be bringing substantial Red Bull backing with him.

 

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