SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA, May 11, 2001 -- The opening day of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend turned out to be a relatively quiet affair for most teams, including European Minardi F1. Little could be deduced from lap times in the first one-hour session,...
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA, May 11, 2001 -- The opening day of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend turned out to be a relatively quiet affair for most teams, including European Minardi F1. Little could be deduced from lap times in the first one-hour session, both Tarso Marques and Fernando Alonso reporting the track surface at the A1 Ring to be very dirty and lacking in grip after their initial runs. As rubber went down and the air temperature rose, however, the situation improved and both drivers were able to work through normal Friday programmes with their engineers, fine-tuning chassis set-up, assessing tyre compounds and honing the aerodynamic settings of their cars in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying session. Marques' car suffered a coolant leak close to the end of the morning session, but this was quickly remedied, and both cars otherwise ran reliably throughout the day.
TARSO MARQUES Position 19th Fastest lap 1 min 14.314 sec "It was a reasonably good day, although it was a shame we lost some time at the end of the first session as the result of a radiator problem. We worked on the car and improved it during the day, and I hope we can do more of the same tomorrow."
FERNANDO ALONSO Position 20th Fastest lap 1:min 14.523 sec "We tested several new developments today, but in the end, decided to go back to our baseline settings since we didn't achieve the sort of gains we had been looking for. The track was very dirty in the first session and I was running with quite a lot fuel throughout the day, so the lap times are not particularly interesting from my point of view."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal, European Minardi F1 "Today's two sessions were useful for European Minardi; however, like all the other teams, we didn't get a lot out of the first hour simply because the track was too 'green'. Both drivers put in lots of laps, though, and gained some useful data for qualifying. In a nutshell, it was a solid, if unspectacular, start to the weekend."