On paper everything looked fine, Telefonica had upped the game and became a title sponsor of the team, with the car being fully emblazoned by its corporate colours. Additional money had been found by attracting Gaston Mazzacane, an Argentinean driver who brought cash from the PSN TV network. Brunner's M02 was a neat car, though the engine was once again the ageing Cosworth, now relabelled as the Fondmetal V10. A small technical miracle was hidden inside the M01, the first cast titanium gear box, a testament to the ingenuity of the Minardi team.
Marc Gene, already with the team in 1999, kicked off the season with an eighth spot at Melbourne a performance he equalled at the A1 Ring. Mazzacane also came in eighth at the Nurburgring, and though this did not result in championship points, it cemented Minardi's 10th spot in the constructors ranking ahead of Prost. Mazzacane had a moment in the limelight when he raced in fourth position in the chaotic opening laps of the United States Grand Prix, fending off Mika Hakkinen in the McLaren until his pitstop. What overshadowed an otherwise solid season were rumours about the team's future.
Gabriele Rumi, struggling with his health, was keen to sell Minardi on. While at first there was talk of Telefonica making a bid and taking the team to Spain, Rumi eventually announced he had sold Minardi to Mazzacane's sponsor PSN. The Miami-based TV broadcaster, which covered sports events for the Spanish-speaking market in the Americas, later cancelled the deal, however, further casting the team's future into doubt. Another issue for the team was the lack of an engine parter. Minardi believed it could use Supertec (Renault design) engines but they contained beryllium, a material which the FIA had banned for the 2001 season. The team needed a miracle to happen to remain on the grid.