MUGELLO, ITALY, JULY 5, 2001 - Up-and-coming young Italian driver, Andrea Piccini, this afternoon successfully completed two days of intensive testing with the European Minardi F1 team at this picturesque Italian circuit, near Florence. The aims...
MUGELLO, ITALY, JULY 5, 2001 - Up-and-coming young Italian driver, Andrea Piccini, this afternoon successfully completed two days of intensive testing with the European Minardi F1 team at this picturesque Italian circuit, near Florence. The aims of the test were to check new software and aerodynamic developments on the team^Òs PS01 chassis, while providing Piccini with an opportunity to acclimatise to the demands of a current Grand Prix car.
The 22-year-old, from Sansepolcro, Italy, who this season drives for European Minardi in the FIA International F3000 Championship, acquitted himself well, covering a Grand Prix distance of 65 laps in the course of the two days and recording a fastest lap of 1 min 31.2 secs.
"It has been a wonderful experience," commented Piccini with obvious pleasure at the conclusion of his first Formula One test. "I started slowly yesterday and gradually played myself in. It has been quiet here, which has been good since I have been able to work at my own pace. I am pleased with my best lap of 1 min 31.2 secs, although I think a lap of 1 min 30.5 secs would have been possible. Where I was losing out a bit was on some of the quicker parts of the circuit, where the F1 car's downforce really came into play. It was also very hot this afternoon and track conditions were such that it was virtually impossible to improve lap times.
"The car was great, particularly the gearbox and brakes. It feels quite different from my F3000 chassis, which has much heavier steering at lower speeds. As speed and downforce builds in the F1 car, though, the steering becomes heavier than the F3000 and, as a result, fast corners require more physical effort. I had been warned to expect a few problems with my neck, but it's perfect. If anything, I need to develop a little more strength in my arms - the steering column in the Formula One car is mounted higher than in the F3000, and therefore puts demands on different muscles.
"In any event, I'm happy and feel pleased that I have been able to help the team. It has definitely been a good start."
European Minardi F1 General Director, Gian Carlo Minardi, commented, "Andrea's very first approach with the F1 car proved favourable. He carried out a test programme prepared by the engineers without making any mistakes and showed a good knowledge of the car. He completed a total of 65 laps over this two-day test and will definitely have a further opportunity to prove his capabilities at the wheel of the PS01 when we carry out further tests in the future."