The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course poses an interesting problem for Formula One teams in terms of balancing the opposing demands of low drag and high speed for the long, full-throttle segment on the famous banked oval, and higher...
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course poses an interesting problem for Formula One teams in terms of balancing the opposing demands of low drag and high speed for the long, full-throttle segment on the famous banked oval, and higher downforce with the best possible grip and traction on the tight infield section. European Minardi F1 spent the opening day of practice for Sunday's United States Grand Prix working on this technical conundrum.
By the conclusion of two busy, one-hour sessions, drivers Fernando Alonso and Alex Yoong had worked through the full technical programme specified for the day by the team's engineers and made good progress in all areas. Weather permitting, times are likely to improve even further tomorrow as the track surface cleans up and offers even better grip for the Formula One cars.
"As usual, the team's Friday efforts were focused on looking for the best possible aerodynamic configuration for the car, while also comparing the two types of tyres at our disposal for this weekend. Both sessions were trouble-free and we were able to complete our scheduled programme. I think we can feel satisfied with the outcome of this first day."
"We did some useful running today. I set my best time on old rubber and, overall, I think the times were not too bad. With new rubber, the times would be quite good. We still need to do some more fine-tuning on the car to improve its performance. It is important to drive here with even greater sensitivity than normal in order to get the most out of new tyres."
"On a cool and quiet Indianapolis day, the European Minardi team worked steadily through its technical programme for the day. Both cars ran faultlessly and the times set by the drivers were very respectable. Fernando's effort today was particularly pleasing, while Alex deserves praise for a solid performance in only his second Grand Prix weekend and at a circuit he has never seen before. The team now looks forward to tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions which, we trust, will be without the dramas encountered at Monza!"