Jos Verstappen may have decided to turn his back on Paul Stoddart and Minardi, but an unexpected turn of events could see one of his sponsors helping keep the Dutch connection alive at the Italian team.

According to Dutch news website nieuws.nl, bathroom giant Wilux is prepared to switch its backing from veteran Verstappen to rising star Christijan Albers in order to hand the youngster his Formula One break. Wilux spent 2003 as part of a group of Dutch companies backing Minardi, after it gave Verstappen a route back into Formula One.

The report claims that Albers could be handed sponsorship worth EUR7million to help ease his way into the team, which Verstappen walked away from after what sponsor Trust claimed was a lack of technological development for 2004. Wilux had been expected to follow the other Dutch backers to wherever they managed to locate Verstappen next season, but now appears to have taken matters into its own hands in order, not only to help Albers, but also increase its exposure via F1.

Albers spent 2003 making a name for himself in the DTM, running eventual champion Bernd Schneider close for the title and winning more races than anyone else in the series, having been promoted to a front-line Mercedes seat on the eve of the season. He is no stranger to Paul Stoddart, however, having raced for the ex-pat Australian's European Airlines-backed FIA F3000 team alongside Mark Webber.

At present, however, no vacancy exists at Minardi, with the team having signed Gianmaria Bruni and offered Zsolt Baumgartner a conditional contract. The Hungarian, however, is understood to have had a time limit placed on his sponsorship-hunting efforts, and it could be this that allows Albers to sneak into the line-up.

Ironically, Verstappen and Albers were rumoured to be teaming up at Minardi just under twelve months ago, before Briton's Justin Wilson eventually signed alongside the much-travelled elder Dutchman.

 

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