Minardi will have an all Dutch line-up for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim this weekend after confirming that Robert Doornbos is joining the Italian team as a replacement for Patrick Friesacher.

Friesacher, who joined the team at the start of the season and scored three championship points at the farcical United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, has been forced to step aside due to sponsorship problems, with the rival Jordan team allowing its third driver Doornbos to step into the seat for the remainder of the 2005 season.

"We are pleased to welcome Robert to Minardi," team principal Paul Stoddart said. "He has demonstrated clearly over the last year that he has the pace necessary to compete in Formula One, and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to make his World Championship debut at this weekend's German Grand Prix. I believe he is going to do an excellent job over the coming races, and I'm sure the Minardi team can expect even more enthusiastic support from the Netherlands, if that's possible, as we now have the first, all-Dutch driver line-up.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Patrick sincerely for his efforts on behalf of the team, and although commercial considerations mean we have had to bring our relationship with him to an end, this decision should in no way be taken as a reflection on his skill or ability as a driver. We continue to rate him very highly, and wish him all the best for the future."

Doornbos himself was understandably delighted to be given the chance to race in F1, having missed out to Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro in the battle to drive for Jordan at the start of the season.

"I can hardly wait to get started on Friday," the 23-year-old said. "This is the chance I've hoped for and that both my management and I have worked very hard for. I feel very fit and ready to make this next step in my career.

"By racing I can gain more experience, which will make me of larger value when I grid up in 2006. This year Jordan/Midland could not yet hand me the opportunity to race for them and now Minardi can. I'm very eager to translate my ambitions into action!"



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