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Rediff.com  » Sports » Lady driver to test for Minardi

Lady driver to test for Minardi

October 19, 2005 16:05 IST

Britain's Katherine Legge will test for Minardi in Italy at the end of next month after winning races in the U.S. Toyota Atlantic series, the Formula One team said on Wednesday.

Legge, 25, will be the first woman to try out a Formula One car since American Sarah Fisher drove a handful of demonstration laps with McLaren at Indianapolis in 2002.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to drive the Minardi," said Guildford-born Legge, who has raced single seater cars since 2000 and won three races in the U.S. junior open-wheel series this year, finishing third overall.

"It has been a dream and an ambition of mine to drive a Formula One car since I was a little girl." Minardi change ownership on Nov. 1, with Austrian energy drink company Red Bull renaming the team Squadra Toro Rosso after buying out Australian Paul Stoddart.

A team spokesman said the end of November test was a pre-existing arrangement made between Stoddart and ChampCar and Cosworth co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven during last month's Belgian Grand Prix. Minardi are powered by Cosworth.

"We have been watching Katherine's progress for some while now and, with her outstanding performances in the Toyota Atlantic championship this season, we felt she was clearly deserving of a chance to experience a Formula One car," said Stoddart.

"We have always said that if a sufficiently talented woman racing driver arrived on the scene, who appeared capable of handling the performance of an F1 car, we would have no hestitation in giving her an opportunity to show what she could do."

The last woman to attempt to compete in Formula One was Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992. She failed to qualify for Brabham and was relaced by Briton Damon Hill.

Minardi will have three PS05 cars running at the Vallelunga circuit north of Rome in the fourth week of November. Israeli driver Chanoch Nissany is also due to test.

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