It started well and the signs initially looked promising for European Minardi Cosworth drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson in today's 61st running of the Monaco Grand Prix. They may have started from 18th and 19th positions on the grid, but...
It started well and the signs initially looked promising for European Minardi Cosworth drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson in today's 61st running of the Monaco Grand Prix. They may have started from 18th and 19th positions on the grid, but with both cars carrying sufficient fuel for just a "one-stop" strategy, the aim was to profit from the problems of other competitors as well as those carrying lighter fuel loads and therefore having to make a greater number of pit stops.
Both European Minardi drivers got away well as the most-anticipated Grand Prix of the season got under way, and climbed steadily up the order, Verstappen running 12th and Wilson, 14th, at close to the halfway point of the race. Unfortunately, however, both cars suffered a fuel vaporisation problem, Verstappen's on lap 29 and Wilson's on the following lap, coasting into retirement just after the exit from the Monaco circuit's famous tunnel.
Disappointed team members will now make their way back to the Faenza factory, where the problem will be investigated and a solution found prior to the Canadian Grand Prix, in Montreal, in two weeks' time.
"I had a reasonably good start and passed Frentzen, and then got Panis under braking for Turn 1. After that, it was pretty difficult. Frentzen came by me on the outside at Casino, but then crashed later that lap. As the race settled down, the car got better and better, and the pit-stop strategy we had today was definitely the right way to go."
"Suddenly, though, as I came out of the tunnel and started braking for the following corner, the car just stopped. It's a great shame we couldn't finish the race, because the team did a great job all weekend, and particularly the mechanics, as Monaco is a very difficult place to work. Now we are off to Canada, which I think is one of the better circuits for us."
"I had a good start, very similar to Jos, but then Frentzen squeezed me at the first corner and I had to back off. I then managed to get around Panis at the hairpin and found myself behind Jos again. I was running consistently in that position. Unfortunately, I locked up under braking after the tunnel, slid wide, hit the curb hard and the engine went briefly into anti-stall mode. That allowed the gap to open up a bit to the cars in front, which, in turn, allowed the 'two-stop' drivers who were exiting the pits after the first of their stops to get in front of me."
"I think a one-stop strategy was definitely the right one for this race, and it's a great shame for the whole team to have lost both its cars in such a short period of time today."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"A promising weekend turned out rather flat today with both Minardis suffering a fuel vaporisation problem that ended their race prematurely. As it turned out, with the reliability of the top four teams today, the points were not there to be had. It's still thoroughly depressing, however, to have two otherwise healthy cars parked when they could have been racing for a top-10 finish. We'll just have to put this one behind us and focus now on the next race, in Canada."
Chassis: PS03/03 (No 19)
Best lap: 1 min 19.146 secs
Chassis: PS03/04 (No 18)
Best lap 1 min 19.169 secs