European Minardi Cosworth driver Justin Wilson had another strong run in today's Austrian Grand Prix, adding to his growing reputation as the most impressive Formula One "rookie" of 2003. The Englishman eventually finished 13th, but had climbed as...
European Minardi Cosworth driver Justin Wilson had another strong run in today's Austrian Grand Prix, adding to his growing reputation as the most impressive Formula One "rookie" of 2003. The Englishman eventually finished 13th, but had climbed as high as ninth just before the second of his three pit stops.
The Faenza squad's pleasure at Wilson's performance, however, was tempered by the disappointment of seeing his team mate, Jos Verstappen, retire from the race on the first lap after a problem with the launch control system of his car. Despite the "bittersweet" nature of today's race for European Minardi, though, the team departed the picturesque A-1 Ring feeling that it had made definite technical progress with the PS03 chassis this weekend.
It is to be hoped that this progress can shortly be turned into World Championship points as Formula One moves towards the halfway point of the 2003 season.
"I made a launch-control start, which worked well, and then pushed hard every lap. We were scheduled to make two stops for fuel and tyres today, but when the opportunity presented itself to make a very early pit stop, we took it, as that gave us the possibility to reduce the number of laps between the other two stops."
"It got a bit slippery when it started to rain, but it wasn't a problem to stay out on dry tyres. The car was reasonably well balanced today, and in fact seemed to get better as the race went on. It was definitely a good feeling to see the chequered flag for the second Grand Prix in a row."
"It has been a very disappointing weekend, what with the problem in final qualifying yesterday and then another at the start of the race today. The launch control worked fine in practice, but then not when it counted, in the race. It might be something to do with the two re-starts we had, but we don't know for certain yet what the problem was. Hopefully, we'll have more luck in the next race. On the positive side, we did a lot of testing this weekend, and we now think we understand the aerodynamic behaviour of the car better as a result."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"It was another solid run from Justin today, but a problem at the start sadly saw Jos out of the race before the first corner. It's not quite the performance we would have wanted in Austria, but full credit to Justin for a gutsy drive and a well-deserved finish. We will have to analyse the software to see exactly what happened with Jos's car in order to make certain the problem is sorted before Monaco."
Chassis: PS03/04 (No 18)
Spare: PS03/02 (used in race)
Best lap: 1 min 11.904 secs
Chassis: PS03/03 (No 19)
Best lap: no time