Minardi's increased links to Holland could see the team offered a financial lifeline from a consortium of Dutch businesses, according to the Formula One grapevine.

National newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reports that representatives of banking giant Amro led the group in talks with both Minardi boss Paul Stoddart and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, which could see an offer made for a share of the team. Ecclestone also apparently met with the group in Amsterdam last week.

"We asked Mr Ecclestone about the future prospects for Formula One, amongst other things," Standard Dutch Amro's Jean Luc Zeguers revealed, "Nobody knows precisely what will happen in motorsport, and we thought it would be interesting to see what the man in charge makes of the current state of affairs."

The consortium is also understood to include investment groups Greenfield Capital and WP Stewart and Assistant Ltd, as well as private investor Michel Mol, who is already involved with Minardi via his Lost Boys and Media Republic companies. Mol, who is a personal backer of current Minardi driver Christijan Albers, was also present in the meetings with Ecclestone.

Amro is understood to also have assisted Albers in joining the Faenza team this season, although the driver's presence is not necessarily linked to the latest enquiries.

"Christijan's future and any possible buy-out of Minardi do not go hand-in-hand," the driver's manager Lodewijk Varossieau, "Christijan obviously wants to race for a team further up the grid, and thus Minardi is not necessarily his first option.''

Similarly, the Amro-led consortium is not necessarily the only option for Minardi, as Eddie Irvine and Roustam Tariko were again spotted in the Formula One paddock at Istanbul Park over the weekend. Team boss Paul Stoddart has admitted that he is always interested in talking to possible investors or buyers for Minardi, but would only do a deal if he felt it was in the best interests of his employees. The Australian has dismissed Irvine's interest once but was spotted playing host to the Irishman in Turkey.



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