European Minardi F1 put this morning's single, fog-shortened session to good use, drivers Tarso Marques and Fernando Alonso sampling the wet and intermediate tyres provided by Michelin for the Belgian Grand Prix weekend and fine-tuning suspension...
European Minardi F1 put this morning's single, fog-shortened session to good use, drivers Tarso Marques and Fernando Alonso sampling the wet and intermediate tyres provided by Michelin for the Belgian Grand Prix weekend and fine-tuning suspension setting options for the unpredictable weather conditions. As qualifying played out, Marques and Alonso, in common with other drivers, tried to save their final runs for the dying moments of the session, when the track was improving markedly with each lap.
Unfortunately, the strategy didn't go quite according to plan, both men being caught outside the 107 per cent qualifying threshold -- in common with both Arrows drivers -- at the end of the session after several of the front-running teams fitted dry-weather tyres for their last runs. Following a review of the situation, however, race officials decided to admit all four competitors, with the result that Alonso will start tomorrow's race from 20th position on the grid and Marques from 22nd.
"It has been a bad day for us, first of all because we did not have the time to do a proper practice in the morning due to the cancellation of one session. Later, in qualifying, we were on wet tyres in the closing stages of the session when the track was almost dry, which caused us to be slower than some other drivers who went out on grooved tyres."
"Unfortunately, while I was on the third attempt to set my fastest lap, I found Ralph Schumacher's car in front of me, which slowed me down. Then, on my fourth attempt, there was a problem with the rear suspension. We have just been informed that both our cars and the Arrows will be allowed to race, although we were outside the 107% threshold at the end of qualifying. We look forward to a better race day tomorrow."
"Despite a tough qualifying session today, both European Minardi drivers will line up for tomorrow's race. In what was an action-packed last half hour, both Fernando and Tarso failed on wet tyres to achieve a time within 107 per cent of the top runners, who were on grooved tyres. We now look forward to what is certain to be an exciting Belgian Grand Prix."