In pleasantly sunny, warm conditions, the KL Minardi Asiatech team today commenced its preparations for Sunday's Grand Prix of France. A generally tight, twisty circuit, Magny Cours poses a challenge for drivers and engineers alike. Mark Webber,...
In pleasantly sunny, warm conditions, the KL Minardi Asiatech team today commenced its preparations for Sunday's Grand Prix of France. A generally tight, twisty circuit, Magny Cours poses a challenge for drivers and engineers alike. Mark Webber, who won the F3000 race at this track last year, predictably attacked the French circuit with his usual mixture of confidence and aggression.
Making solid progress fine-tuning the handling of his car, he completed Friday's two one-hour sessions in 16th place, his best lap less than 2.5 secs slower than fastest lap of the day. Alex Yoong, who like his team mate, is racing a Formula One car at Magny-Cours for the first time, spent the sessions learning the track and working on chassis set-up. His efforts were hampered by apparent fuel delivery difficulties and a gearbox problem, although both issues will be dealt with overnight.
"Magny-Cours has proved to be a somewhat difficult track to get our car behaving as we want it to through a complete lap, although I think this proved to be the case for many people today. There is no doubt that the requirement to optimise the car for the mixture of very slow turns as well as the high-speed Estoril corner is a challenge. All of that said, however, I did enjoy my first run in a Formula One car around here, my most recent previous experience being in F3000. Both our boys and the Asiatech guys did a lot of work between the two sessions, improving the car usefully as a result, and we also completed our normal tyre comparison runs with the Michelins that are available this weekend."
"We worked through the usual programme today. My car had a lot of oversteer to begin with, which we managed to minimise as the day went on. Then I lost the last third of the second session because of a gearbox problem. Of course, I'm not happy, and we'll be working to improve things tomorrow."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Mark's experience here in Formula 3000 meant he settled in very quickly and completed his full programme today, recording the 18th fastest lap time in the process. Alex struggled at first, while he was learning the circuit, but then his times improved significantly in the second session. We feel confident that Saturday will see the team making further solid progress."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
Today the Asiatech engines showed faultless reliability enabling both KL Minardi Asiatech drivers to cover a significant number of laps.
Chassis: PS02/04 (No. 23)
Fastest lap: 1 min 16.496secs
Chassis: PS02/03 (No 22)
Fastest lap: 1 min 19.015secs