Cosworth Minardi personnel had high hopes for a strong showing from drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni in today's Belgian Grand Prix. After making an impressively quick start, Bruni's chances unfortunately expired in a "chain-reaction"...
Cosworth Minardi personnel had high hopes for a strong showing from drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni in today's Belgian Grand Prix. After making an impressively quick start, Bruni's chances unfortunately expired in a "chain-reaction" accident on the first lap. While trying to avoid Sato's spinning BAR at Raidillon, his car was hit from behind by Baumgartner, and the ensuing contact with the barriers eliminated him from any further competition.
Baumgartner survived the incident, but was forced to stop at the pits at the end of the opening lap to have the damaged nose of his car replaced. He then settled into a creditably consistent pace and climbed as high as 13th position before his second pit stop. His excellent run continued until the 30th lap of the race, when he was taken out of the Grand Prix in dramatic fashion after a rear tyre on Jenson Button's BAR exploded and launched the Briton's car at high speed into the side of the Minardi.
Happily, the young Hungarian was uninjured in the accident, but his strong drive thus ended in retirement rather than the very likely ninth place he would have claimed at the chequered flag if he been able to finish the race.
"We had a very good race and were consistently quicker than the Jordans. As a result, I was extremely happy with our race performance while we were running. I was really unlucky with the situation that developed with Button when he was right next to me and his tyre exploded, but it happened. I could not have done more today, but I would like to congratulate Michael for taking his seventh World Championship and Kimi for winning today's Belgian Grand Prix.."
"I made a very good start, was able to pass lots of cars, and was 14th going through Eau Rouge. Then Sato spun, and as he was coming back on the circuit, I lifted off a little and my team mate hit me from behind. That knocked me into the barrier and ended my race. It was a very unfortunate incident."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"This was another case of the team deserving a better result than it actually achieved, especially as this was clearly Minardi's best-performing weekend of the year. To be involved in someone else's accident on the first lap, which eliminated Gimmi, and then for Zsolt to be the victim of what looks like a tyre blow-out on Jenson's car and taken out of the race, it's just really a sad way to finish the day. Both race drivers, our Friday test driver, Bas, and the whole team, have performed excellently this weekend. It's a shame the results don't reflect just how good a performance it was."