This weekend's Formula One season opener in Melbourne, Australia just got a whole lot more interesting. Minardi, F1's perennial backmarkers, have gained special dispensation from eight of the nine other F1 teams to run their 2004 challenger for the first few races of 2005. This dispensation was given as late rule changes were made for the 2005 season, and Minardi has F1's lowest budget, making them unable to begin the production of their 2005 car until rules had been set. Makes perfect sense, especially since F1 can ill-afford to lose another team, and Minardi is not a threat to win a grand prix any time soon. Yet, Ferrari, who have won six consecutive Constructor's Titles, are the only team refusing to agree to let Minardi run their old cars. Without Ferrari's signature, Minardi's cars are unlikely to pass scrutineering, thus being deemed illegal to race. This is where things could get very, very interesting, as Paul Stoddart (Minardi's owner) recently had this to say…

"Put it this in way, if Minardi's wheels do not turn this weekend they will not be the only ones, the Group of Nine (made up of all F1 teams but Ferrari) is pretty strong and there is an agreement between everyone except Ferrari."

Interesting statement indeed. Stay tuned for more, as the Australian Grand Prix will surely provide more interest this weekend.

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