Australian GP: Minardi race notes

THE ACTION SWITCHES TO THE TRACK MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, March 6, 2005 -- It was a mixture of pleasure and disappointment in the Minardi F1 Team garage at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit this afternoon. The pleasure derived from Patrick ...

THE ACTION SWITCHES TO THE TRACK

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, March 6, 2005 -- It was a mixture of pleasure and disappointment in the Minardi F1 Team garage at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit this afternoon. The pleasure derived from Patrick Friesacher's 17th-place finish in the 2005 Foster's Australian Grand Prix, the young Austrian driver completing his first Formula One race in determined style.

The disappointment resulted from Christijan Albers' retirement on lap 17, when he was unable to pull away from the Minardi garage after the first of his scheduled pit stops. In fact, Albers had been struggling with a gearbox problem from the formation lap of the race, and although he was able to carry on without second gear during his opening stint, when he then lost first gear shortly before the pit stop, it was clear to the team's technical staff that the hard-charging Dutch driver was not going to be able to finish the race.

Patrick Friesacher, 17th
Best lap: 1 min 32.852 secs

"It was a difficult race, but I'm happy to have finished my first Grand Prix, particularly since we never tested the car in this specification before. I found I was getting more confident with the car each lap, though, even though the handling was not quite to my liking. I particularly want to thank the guys, who did a great job changing the car to 2005 specification, and helped me to finish my first Formula One race."

Christijan Albers, DNF
Best lap: 1 min 33.144 secs

"I lost second gear on the formation lap, and that caused me a bit of a problem at the start, as I had to shift from first to third. As a result, the race was difficult, since there are several corners here that require second gear. I was losing time in each of these. I was happy I could stay with Patrick, though, even with the problem, but then I also lost first gear. I knew when I came in for my pit stop that there was little likelihood I would be leaving again. Anyway, we will just hope for better luck in Malaysia."

Paul Stoddart , Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth

"It was good to leave the politics at the starting line today and get on with the racing, especially as this marks the 10th Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The event remains undoubtedly the most popular race on the Formula One schedule."

"Driving cars they had never driven in the dry, and which had been modified in a way that was never intended, one should not underestimate the performances of either Christijan or Patrick, who on their debut in Formula One, clearly proved they have a future in this great sport."

"Today, we saw former Minardi drivers finish in first, third and fifth places in the race, again demonstrating one of the contributions the small, independent teams make to F1. Sadly, Christijan's race was curtailed by a gearbox problem; however, Patrick soldiered on for a well-deserved race finish in a car that, without question, was the most difficult in the field to drive."

"Finally, my sincere thanks to all members of the team, for the total professionalism they have demonstrated throughout a difficult week, and to the Australian people, for their overwhelming support of Minardi during this Grand Prix."

-minardi-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Christijan Albers , Paul Stoddart , Patrick Friesacher
Teams Minardi