Minardi splits with title sponsor

28 July 2004

Bruni shows Wilux CEO Ruud Wildschut the rear wing of his Minardi
Minardi have split with title sponsor Wilux, the Italian team announced today. A row broke out between Wilux CEO Ruud Wildschut and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart mainly as a result of Minardi's decision to run without sponsorship in order to mourn the death of its sporting director at the British Grand Prix.

As a result of Stoddart's unilateral decision to remove all sponsorship, Wilux are reported to have witheld sponsorship payment in compensation.

"Due to irreconcilable differences concerning, among other things, the decision by Minardi to run without sponsorship livery in the 2004 British Grand Prix and the decision by Wilux not to adhere to contractual payments, sadly, the sponsorship agreement between Wilux and Minardi has been terminated today," read a statement from Minardi.

In an exclusive interview with F1Racing.net earlier this week Wilux CEO Ruud Wildschut said of the Silverstone incident, "If someone in your team dies, you need to let the world know how you feel about that, you are obliged to do that. At the gala event at Silverstone, John was very ill but still alive, Eddie Jordan put a sticker on his car, to show that he cared. When the gala took place, John died. We wanted to show how we felt about it, by putting a black sticker on our advertisement on the car. But Paul Stoddart decided to take off all sponsor stickers without asking me - I was not too happy about that. I have paid for that place on the car and Paul took the right from me to show my own feelings. Paul could have been man enough to redraw both his cars, but he did not do that. Maybe he wanted to show the world who he is, sort of narcissistic. "Hello, I am Paul Stoddart and I can just do things like this." At Ferrari a tragedy like John Walton took place recently. They painted the nose of the car black, but still the car was sponsored. - that would have been another way of doing"

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