In cool, sunny conditions, near Italy's picturesque Adriatic coast, European Minardi Cosworth today gave its 2004 Formula One challenger its first run. The Minardi PS04B, as it is designated, is an evolution of last season's PS03, and if ...
In cool, sunny conditions, near Italy's picturesque Adriatic coast, European Minardi Cosworth today gave its 2004 Formula One challenger its first run. The Minardi PS04B, as it is designated, is an evolution of last season's PS03, and if the reliability and pace of the new car at Misano's Autodromo Santamonica in the hands of Zsolt Baumgartner is anything to go by, the Faenza team has every reason to be pleased with the work that has been accomplished over the winter.
The young Hungarian driver covered a total of 64 laps of the sinewy 4.060-km circuit in the course of Tuesday, and his best lap, of 1 min 11.080 secs, marked a 2.5-second improvement on the fastest time recorded by the team on the last occasion it visited the track, in early 2002. Gianmaria Bruni takes over the driving duties tomorrow, on the final day of this two-day test.
"It has been a good day of testing. I thought I might improve on my best morning time during the afternoon session, but it was not to be the case. I'm happy with the behaviour of the new car - it is more 'progressive' in its driving characteristics than the PS03 I drove in Valencia last month - and I'm also pleased to be feeling increasingly comfortable with both the driving and the team personnel."
Massimo Rivola, Team manager:
"We feel satisfied with the outcome of today's testing, as we completed the entire planned technical programme, which included both aerodynamic and tyre evaluation work. We also gathered a significant amount of data, which will undoubtedly prove useful as we continue our development work on the new car. Zsolt did a very good job, and Minardi technical staff continue to be impressed by this young driver, who is proving to be both quick and consistent."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal:
"This may have been only a shakedown test of the new car, but Zsolt's best lap today, of 1 min 11.080 secs, was two-and-a-half seconds faster than the quickest time the team recorded when it was last at Misano, with Mark Webber, in 2002. We take a lot of heart from today's performance and from that lap time. Zsolt did an excellent job, completing 64 trouble-free laps."
"It is also noteworthy that today's times were set on an engine that had run for nearly 700kms, giving us great faith that Cosworth has provided the team with a reliable, powerful engine that will be more than capable of coping with the new, 'long-distance' requirements specified by this year's F1 rules. We were also very pleased with the performance of the Bridgestone tyres today, which undoubtedly contributed to Zsolt's excellent lap times."
Chassis allocation: PS04B/01
Laps completed: 64/259.8 kms
Fastest lap: 1 min 11.080 secs