MONZA, ITALY, July 19, 2001 -- European Minardi F1 today enjoyed its second full day of testing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, near Milan. The team's regular driver, Fernando Alonso, concentrated on running the latest version of the PS01 chassis, fitted with new gearbox, rear suspension and extensively revised aerodynamic package, while Alex Yoong continued to amass laps in a current-specification chassis as part of his Formula One familiarisation programme.
After an early morning shower that briefly delayed proceedings, the 24-year-old Malaysian rattled off 19 circuits of the 5.770-km Monza track before the lunch break and registered a competitive time of 1 min 28.568 secs with the car in race trim - the 12th-fastest lap of the session. There followed a further 22 laps in the afternoon, his efforts unfortunately brought to a premature conclusion by an engine problem just before he was due to be sent out with a fresh set of tyres and reduced fuel load.
Alonso managed a total of only 24 laps during the day, the result of recurring teething problems with the new technical package. These forced him to the garage for repairs on several occasions, although his fastest lap was a respectable 1 min 28.490 secs.
"It has been a good day," commented Yoong. "I understand the car better, which gives me the confidence to push harder. We tried some different suspension settings today and made good progress with the overall balance. The biggest area where I am still losing time is under braking, but after the last set-up change this afternoon, the car felt really good, and I was quite confident of getting down to a 1 min 27.5 sec lap on my next run. Unfortunately, a problem with the engine prevented me from doing any more running. This has been a useful test and we have come a considerable distance from where we started, at Mugello, two weeks ago."
European Minardi F1 Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, also expressed satisfaction at the progress his team had made in the course of the Monza test. "The important thing is that we've learned a lot over the past two days," he said. "Fernando didn't get as much running time as we had planned because of some glitches with the new gearbox and associated mechanical package, but now we understand the problems and can effect the necessary solutions quickly.
"Alex had another productive day, building up his bank of Formula One experience and continuing to go progressively quicker without making mistakes. He worked with his engineer on chassis set-up changes and also did some practice starts for the first time today. He has covered 515 kms over the two days here and I'm genuinely pleased with his performance."