Minardi is expected to wheel out its definitive 2005 Formula One challenger at the end of next week, when Christijan Albers will shakedown the first PS05 chassis at Mugello.

The team was unwilling to field the new car at the Australian Grand Prix, or either of the 'flyaway' races in the intervening period, as it felt that it had not had sufficient time to fully complete and develop the design following much-publicised delays in formulating the latest set of F1 rules. As a result, the Italian minnow has run a modified PS04B in the opening rounds, and been off the pace at all three races.

Team boss Paul Stoddart always maintained that the new car, which is understood to feature the marque's most radical design in many years, would debut at Imola, the scene of round four of the world championship in a fortnight's time. The Australian is confident that the PS05, which will be powered by the same spec of Cosworth engine as the Red Bull team's RB1, would be able to close the gap to fellow strugglers Jordan.

Albers, one of two rookies in the Minardi line-up this season, will test the new car for a single day at Mugello, having visited the team's base in Faenza for a seat fitting on Wednesday. Team-mate Patrick Friesacher may not get a chance to sample the car before the San Marino GP, as Minardi is not expected to be back in testing action until after the race, when it returns to Mugello over 27-28 April.

"I am glad that the Minardi team has made a good step forward this season, and that there are more days of testing than in the previous seasons, which is obviously great for the development of the PS05," Albers said, "I am looking forward to going back to the factory in Faenza and seeing the final results of the car's development. Friday will be an important day for the Minardi team, as the first outing of the PS05 will be a special moment for the entire team."