Wilux Minardi Cosworth drivers, Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner, had an eventful start to the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix, the cars of both drivers experiencing electronics difficulties on the way to the grid. Baumgartner was able to...
Wilux Minardi Cosworth drivers, Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner, had an eventful start to the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix, the cars of both drivers experiencing electronics difficulties on the way to the grid. Baumgartner was able to rectify the problem by resetting the cockpit controls, but Bruni was less fortunate, his car having to be pushed from the grid and started in the pits. He joined the race two laps down, and despite pressing on in determined fashion, his best efforts were hampered by a lack of straight-line speed.
A revised pit-stop strategy that took into account the pit-lane start saw Bruni stop twice for fuel and tyres on the way to a 17th-place finish. By comparison, Baumgartner's race settled down after the initial problem with his car was solved, and he was able to run at a competitive and consistent pace. All three of his scheduled stops for fuel and tyres went to plan, but unfortunately, his afternoon's efforts came to a premature end on lap 46, when his car stopped on the circuit with a suspected engine problem. Both Wilux Minardi Cosworth drivers, however, could take a degree of satisfaction from their doggedly persistent performances in today's race.
"The mechanics did a fantastic job today, and despite the fact my car wouldn't leave the grid, they got me going in the pits. During the race, I struggled with the car, which was good in the corners but felt like it was down on power on the straights. That prevented me from being able to race as well as I know I could have. Anyway, we'll work on our problems, and aim to have a better race at Imola."
"Straightaway, I was struggling with an electronic problem, like Gimmi, but I was able to reset the software from the cockpit and fix the problem. I think my pace was good during the race -- my fastest lap was the same as Gimmi's qualifying time and I was able to set times not too far off the Jordans -- which made up for the problems I had in qualifying yesterday. I'm upset not to have finished the last 10 laps, but sometimes races are like that. I'd like to thank everyone on the team, who gave maximum effort today, and I hope, both for them and for me, that I can get a better result at the next race."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Wilux Minardi Cosworth:
"After a grid incident that saw Gimmi unable to leave on the formation lap, both drivers did all they could during what was a very difficult race. Sadly, Zsolt wasn't able to take the chequered flag, but both he and Gimmi produced encouraging lap times given their individual circumstances in the race. We now look forward to one of our 'home' races, at Imola, in three weeks time."
Best lap: 1 min 35.130 secs
Best lap: 1 min 34.555 secs