In common with all the Formula One teams preparing for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, European Minardi F1 today had to contend with the notoriously changeable weather conditions that often beset the Ardennes region in which the daunting Spa ...
In common with all the Formula One teams preparing for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, European Minardi F1 today had to contend with the notoriously changeable weather conditions that often beset the Ardennes region in which the daunting Spa circuit is situated. At the conclusion of the first day of practice, drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques had recorded the 18th and 19th fastest times respectively.
More importantly, the duo, in combination with their race engineers, had worked though a busy technical programme involving chassis, aerodynamic and software settings, plus tyre evaluation. In fact, the heavy showers that soaked the track briefly during the afternoon unusually allowed the team to sample the dry, wet and intermediate tyres being provided by Michelin this weekend.
"Today was just a routine Friday. On the basis of today, we certainly seem to be performing better in the dry than in the wet. There is still a lot of work to be done on tyres, but generally both sessions were productive. I was not able to finish the afternoon session due to an electronic problem developing with the clutch. Tomorrow, the weather will play a crucial role in the choice of tyres and chassis settings."
"I was very happy with the improvement we made in the car during the morning session. It was therefore a shame that it started to rain in the second session, when I had completed only one run. The car felt better and I'm sure we could have been much faster if it hadn't been for the rain. We then did some tyre comparisons, however, and I felt comfortable with the balance of the car in the wet."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal
"In typical Spa tradition, today's practise sessions had a little bit of everything. We started off in dry conditions, then the rain came, and finally, we ended up on a wet, but drying track. Both sessions were very useful for European Minardi F1 and were trouble-free, with the exception of a minor clutch problem with Fernando's car close to the end of the second session. The team made steady progress, particularly in terms of tyre evaluation, and now has a good baseline for what is certain to be an interesting weekend."