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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, March 2, 2001 - The European Minardi F1team won the first race of the new Formula One season, when it succeeded in completing its cars and getting them to Australia in time for the opening Grand Prix of 2001. This followed...

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, March 2, 2001 - The European Minardi F1team won the first race of the new Formula One season, when it succeeded in completing its cars and getting them to Australia in time for the opening Grand Prix of 2001. This followed the purchase, only six weeks ago, of the team by Paul Stoddart, head of the European Aviation Group of Companies.

Today, the team took its next significant step, when drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques took part in their first practise session at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit. The two distinctive black and white European Minardis were among the first out on the track, both drivers anxious to start putting some serious mileage on their new chassis. By the end of the two one-hour sessions, Alonso, who is new to Formula One this year, had recorded the 17th quickest time, while Marques' efforts were thwarted by an engine problem early in the second session, which meant he was unable to do any further running. He ended the session in 22nd place, but is confident of improving his position tomorrow.

FERNANDO ALONSO
Position 17th Time 1:32.587
"This morning the car had some understeer, but the engineers worked really well to sort it out. In the afternoon session I was definitely luckier than Tarso and had the opportunity to improve the car further. Now the car has completely changed and it looks more competitive. We will probably only make a few slight changes now to improve the car further. The potential is definitely there and I believe we will have a good car for the weekend and for the first race of the Championship, which is so important for us now."

TARSO MARQUES Position 22nd Time 1:36.463
19 "The car ran for the very first time today and clearly there was a lot of work to be done in order to find the right settings and to check its overall behaviour. I was unfortunate in the afternoon as, on lap one, an engine failure ended the second session for me. I feel disappointed at not being able to continue, especially because we really need to pile up as many miles as possible and today turned out to be a bit of a wasted day. I feel confident for tomorrow, however, and am looking forward to getting behind the wheel of my car again."

PAUL STODDART
Team Principal, European Minardi F1
"What can I say? The miracle continues. I'm just so proud of the performance of the whole team today - it was terrific. Right from the start of the first session, Fernando showed what we know he can do. I'm sorry that Tarso didn't have a proper chance to shine, but we intend to make amends for that tomorrow. Overall, though, I totally pleased with European Minardi F1's first test session!"

-Team Minardi-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Minardi