Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has hinted that at least one of the team's drivers from 2004 will be retained next season.

The Italian backmarkers have already tested numerous drivers, including Will Power, Will Davison and Christijan Albers, as they attempt to find drivers, and the budget, for 2005, but Stoddart has now confirmed that he hopes to keep Zsolt Baumgartner on board next season.

The Hungarian, who competed in two races for Jordan in 2003, helped Minardi to score its first point since Australia 2002 when he finished eighth in the American Grand Prix at Indianapolis back in June.

With the future of the team now seemingly more secure with a supply of Cosworth engines confirmed following the sale of the company to Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe, Stoddart said he would like to retain Baumgartner, but admitted that, ultimately, it would be a commercial decision on whether or not he races for the team next season.

"I hope to have Zsolt back in the car in 2005, but it's all subject to commercial decisions," Stoddart told Reuters, "There's no point beating about the bush, it's going to come down to budget."

Stoddart also announced that the recent auction of F1 car and team memorabilia raised $1.5million which will go towards the 2005 Formula One machine, although only 30 per cent of what was on offer was sold, with many items failing to reach reserve prices. Of the 39 Formula One cars on offer, only 17 found a new buyer.



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