Sooner or later, it was inevitable that the strong finishing record posted by European Minardi F1 in the opening rounds of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship would suffer a setback, and so it was at today's San Marino Grand Prix. ...
Sooner or later, it was inevitable that the strong finishing record posted by European Minardi F1 in the opening rounds of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship would suffer a setback, and so it was at today's San Marino Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso got away well and was settling into the race when a leaking brake caliper caused him to go off the track on lap six. His car hit a tyre barrier, the impact causing heavy suspension damage and bringing the young Spaniard's race to a premature end. Team mate, Tarso Marques, soldiered on until lap 54, struggling with tyre difficulties for much of the time, although his car finally succumbed with a fuel line problem. Nonetheless, the team takes heart from that fact that, in a race of high mechanical attrition, none of its immediate World Constructors' Championship rivals made ground on the Faenza squad in Imola.
"I started having problems very soon after the start because my car did not brake as it should, even when I pushed the pedal to the maximum. I tried to reach the pits to see if anything could be done to fix the problem, but I went too fast into a corner, spun off the track, and finished against the barriers. It's a shame because I made a good start and the opening laps went pretty well. Now I must concentrate on the next event, which takes place in Spain. Hopefully, I will enjoy a fine race there."
"I made a good start, even though I could pass only one car. Unfortunately, I soon realised there was a problem with the brake balance -- from the opening lap, my car was braking much more at the rear than the front, and locking the wheels a lot. In addition, the right front tyre was very low on pressure, the reason for which is still under investigation. Later in the race, though, I started having a problem with the engine, and it eventually worsened to the point where I decided to stop because it was just too dangerous to continue."
"Today's San Marino Grand Prix was not the best of races for European Minardi F1. Fernando suffered a problem on only the sixth lap and was knocked out of the event before he had a chance to show what he could do. Tarso struggled with braking and tyre problems for much of the race, but retired with an engine problem 10 laps from the chequered flag. The team has its first test of the year at Mugello this week to evaluate, among other things, its traction control system in preparation for Barcelona. We look forward to a better weekend at Fernando's 'home' Grand Prix."