F1

Indy first timers ready to roll

Indy first timers ready to roll

There are a few of this year's drivers who have not raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before, both Formula One rookies and those with a little more experience. Jaguar's Christian Klien has had a few new circuits to learn this season and ...

There are a few of this year's drivers who have not raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before, both Formula One rookies and those with a little more experience. Jaguar's Christian Klien has had a few new circuits to learn this season and Indianapolis is next on the list for the young Austrian to get to grips with.

Christian Klien.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

"This will be another new track for me this weekend but as usual I just get out there on the circuit as fast as I can and start learning the layout," said Klien, who has been studying data from previous races at Indy to help him. "Although I have never been to Indianapolis before I have heard many good things about the place and I know that the track holds much history."

Felipe Massa is in his second season with Sauber but for him it will also be his first visit to Indy. In 2002, when he debuted with the Swiss squad, Massa had a grid demotion penalty for the American race and the team decided to replace him with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Last year the Brazilian was not in competition, test driving for Ferrari instead.

"I have talked the layout over with the team, of course, and I am familiar with it from television footage," said Massa. "The best way to learn a circuit, for me, is to go round it on a scooter, but in any case I learn them pretty quickly and it should only take me half a dozen laps to familiarise myself."

Jordan's Giorgio Pantano is expected to be back in action this weekend after missing the Canadian Grand Prix due to financial problems. It will be the Italian's first time racing at the Brickyard. "I have not driven at Indianapolis before but in 2002 I came to watch the race," said Pantano.

"It looks very nice and I am really looking forward to being in the car again. I'm looking to give my all and have a good race for the team, I'd really like to get a good result."

Minardi's Zsolt Baumgartner is another US rookie but although teammate Gianmaria Bruni hasn't competed at Indy before, he has driven the track as test driver for Minardi in 2003. Other than the racers, some of the teams' third drivers are not familiar with Indianapolis, but Jaguar's No.3, Bj?rn Wirdheim, has experience from last year's US Grand Prix.

"Although I have never raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway I have driven a Formula One car around the track," said Wirdheim. "Last year I did this with the Jordan team so this experience will definitely make my first lap on Friday a lot easier."

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