The Minardi F1 Team today commenced its first test of the new season at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, near Valencia. Regrettably, however, the day's activities were overshadowed by an unfortunate situation that has developed between the team and its...
The Minardi F1 Team today commenced its first test of the new season at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, near Valencia. Regrettably, however, the day's activities were overshadowed by an unfortunate situation that has developed between the team and its chosen tyre supplier, Bridgestone, which resulted in the Minardi, driven by Justin Wilson, running on Avon slicks.
The Faenza squad elected to use one of its older PS01 chassis for this opening test session, which is intended to give Wilson and team mate, Jos Verstappen, a chance to re-acclimatise to Formula One performance, while getting used to Minardi systems and procedures. The test will also be used to evaluate new hardware and software, potentially destined for the 2003 Minardi. This major pre-season test continues tomorrow with Verstappen making his much-anticipated return to Formula One.
"It's been a good day, which was really spent just getting used to everything. It's not the most comfortable I've ever been in a race car, but for the purposes of what we were aiming to accomplish today, which was to familiarise myself with the team and their way of working, it was fine. I'm also particularly pleased to have made my official debut as a Formula One driver today. It has taken time to get here, but now I've arrived, it's great! I'm particularly looking forward to driving the new car as soon as it's ready."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi:
"Given the circumstances of driving a Minardi PS01 chassis, in which he is not entirely comfortable, and running on tyres not intended for Formula One, we were all extremely impressed by Justin's performance today. His best lap, of 1 min 17 secs, set late this afternoon, was only three seconds off the pace of many of the new cars testing here today. It has given us something to smile about after a difficult start to this week's test. Regarding the tyre situation, I sincerely hope that Bridgestone will choose to honour its contractual obligations under the terms of the 2003 Formula One Sporting Regulations and supply the team with tyres for Jos's test tomorrow."
"I also want to take this opportunity to thank Avon for its support and for supplying us with some incredibly interesting tyres. Considering they were never intended for Formula One levels of performance, they have done an exceptional job today."
Driver: Justin Wilson (GB)
Chassis allocated: Minardi PS01-04
Laps completed: 50 (200km)
Fastest lap: 1 min 17.00 secs