A Right Royal Welcome Melbourne, Australia, February 1, 2002 - A thunderous roar from the partisan Albert Park crowd greeted Mark Webber and Alex Yoong as the KL Minardi Asiatech drivers took to the track today for the opening round of the 2002...
A Right Royal Welcome
Melbourne, Australia, February 1, 2002 - A thunderous roar from the partisan Albert Park crowd greeted Mark Webber and Alex Yoong as the KL Minardi Asiatech drivers took to the track today for the opening round of the 2002 Formula One World Championship season. Australia's newest Grand Prix star, Webber, clocked the 20th fastest time during Friday's two one-hour practice sessions and Malaysian, Yoong, the 22nd quickest lap. Both men spent the day working with the team's race engineers, adjusting their KL Minardi Asiatech PS02 chassis to cope with the specific demands of the twisting Australian Grand Prix circuit. Yoong lost time during the second session while a sensor problem on his car was rectified, and Webber's chassis suffered a control system problem that will be resolved by tomorrow.
Fastest lap 1min 32.696 sec
"It was a baptism of fire for us, where we had a few issues with the car in the first session. The mechanics are doing a great job, but one hour goes incredibly quickly. We will be working hard tonight to sort things out. We could do with more track time - something we don't have a lot of at the moment - but it was a great experience to drive here for the first time."
Fastest lap 1min 44.011 sec
"After an engine change on my car, I managed to get out for what should have been the last 15 minutes of the second session. Unfortunately, I was caught out by a curb that was still wet, and went off. Of course, I 'm disappointed, but I'm now just going to concentrate on doing my best tomorrow."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Despite not profiting from what we feel is a significantly improved car compared with last year's, the KL Minardi Asiatech team is still pleased with today's performance and has yet to demonstrate its true potential. Mark performed well despite some technical glitches that denied him the lap time of which both he and the car are undoubtedly capable. Alex would probably rather forget his first day on the fabulous Albert Park circuit. He suffered a suspected sensor problem at the end of the first session and was then exceptionally unlucky to spin into the gravel after touching a wet curb on his first flying lap out of the pits in the second session. I'm nonetheless proud of the way the whole team performed and look forward to a fantastic weekend in front of an enthusiastic Australian audience. Now it's onwards and upwards to Saturday."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
Overall, this has been a generally positive start to the season for Asiatech. The time spent on the track confirmed the validity of the solutions integrated into the new AT02 engine. We look forward to tomorrow with confidence.