Australian GP: Minardi Friday practice notes

The Formula One World Championship class of 2004 today convened in Melbourne for the first of 18 engagements that will take place around the world. Making their debuts for the newly launched Wilux Minardi Cosworth team were race drivers,...

The Formula One World Championship class of 2004 today convened in Melbourne for the first of 18 engagements that will take place around the world. Making their debuts for the newly launched Wilux Minardi Cosworth team were race drivers, Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner. Unfortunately, a problem with fulfilling the specific requirements for his Superlicence meant the Faenza squad's Test and Reserve driver, Bas Leinders, was unable to take part in today's two official practice sessions. The Belgian is now returning to Europe in order to deal with the matter.

Friday's activities followed the normal format for a Grand Prix weekend, Minardi drivers and engineers working through a programme that included chassis set-up, tyre comparison and software assessment related to the demands of the challenging Albert Park circuit. The drivers adapted quickly to a track they had not seen before Monday of this week, and promisingly, both Wilux Minardi Cosworth PS04B chassis ran with complete reliability. As a result, the team made good technical progress, which it aims to build on tomorrow.

Gianmaria Bruni:

"It was a good day for me. We did both short and long runs, which helped me to learn the circuit and to find a reasonable balance for the chassis. I was pleased with my time on new tyres, but also happy with the longer run we did on worn tyres. I feel sure we'll go better on Saturday as a result of the information we have picked up today."

Zsolt Baumgartner:

"It was generally okay today, but we still have to find a better balance in the chassis. I wasn't so happy with my last time because I couldn't really use the new tyres to best advantage. Even so, I think we made good progress. We ran hard all day, and I am now getting used to the car and the circuit. Tomorrow, I hope we can improve and get closer to the others."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal:

"What a fantastic feeling to be at one of our team's 'home' races and, yet again, to be bringing new drivers into the sport. Gimmi Bruni, our test driver from 2003, today had his first taste of Formula One action at the magnificent Albert Park facility, while Zsolt Baumgartner, whom people will recall had those two memorable races with Jordan last year, commenced his first full F1 season. Minardi will this year be striving for reliability, and it's gratifying that both drivers today completed their full technical programmes in preparation for Saturday's qualifying sessions. Our Test and Reserve driver, Bas Leinders, is now on his way back to Europe in order to complete a full Grand Prix distance next week and enable his Superlicence to be processed. While we feel sorry he wasn't able to take part today, Bas will open his 2004 season with Wilux Minardi Cosworth in two weeks at Sepang."

Gianmaria Bruni Chassis: No 20 PS04B/02

Zsolt Baumgartner Chassis: No 21 PS04B/01

-minardi-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Paul Stoddart , Zsolt Baumgartner , Bas Leinders
Teams Minardi , Jordan