European Minardi Cosworth today made a solid start in its preparations for this Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix. With both the team's cars displaying commendable reliability throughout the day, drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson were able to...
European Minardi Cosworth today made a solid start in its preparations for this Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix. With both the team's cars displaying commendable reliability throughout the day, drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson were able to work through a busy technical programme in the two-hour, Friday morning test session, comparing and evaluating aerodynamic components, chassis settings and tyres.
The one-hour free practice session that followed was then used to develop the best possible qualifying specification for the cars. The air temperature climbed from 2 deg C at the start of the morning test session to 14 deg C as qualifying commenced, which naturally enough, had a significant effect on the characteristics of the track surface at the picturesque A1-Ring.
Both Verstappen and Wilson reported that their cars developed slight oversteer in the course of the single-lap qualifying runs, but they nonetheless recorded the 17th and 18th fastest laps of the afternoon, which gives them a good foundation on which to build for the weekend.
"I had a reasonable qualifying lap. The car had slightly too much oversteer, but it's quickest like that, and it also prevents too much wear on the front tyres. There was maybe a tenth of a second to be found in the lap time, but otherwise, that was pretty much it today. We did a lot of work in the two-hour session this morning, and the mechanics did a really fantastic job to get everything finished in the time available. We then concentrated on finding a reasonable chassis balance for qualifying in the one-hour session, and that certainly helped this afternoon."
"The car picked up a little bit of oversteer in the first qualifying run, and as a result, I just couldn't get the car settled in the middle sector. That cost me some time in the quick corners. We got through a lot of work in the test session this morning, though, and we'll see if that results in an improvement during the rest of the weekend."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"Today was an excellent start for the Minardi team at what is, sadly, possibly the last Austrian Grand Prix for the foreseeable future. After a disappointing Friday and Saturday in Barcelona, the changes implemented by the team seem to have paid dividends, with both drivers having an excellent Friday here in Austria and finishing 17th and 18th."
"More importantly, they set competitive lap times that were within a few seconds of the front-running teams. Hopefully, we can build on this start, and make the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix a memorable one for European Minardi Cosworth. Both Jos and Justin did excellent jobs today, swapping ever faster lap times throughout the sessions."
Chassis: PS03/03 (No 19)
Best lap 1 min 10.894 secs
Chassis: PS03/04 (No 18)
Best lap 1 min 11.056 secs