INTERLAGOS, BRAZIL, March 30, 2001 -- European Minardi F1 put in a solid performance on the first day of practise for this Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix. Drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques notched up considerable mileage, and reduced their...
INTERLAGOS, BRAZIL, March 30, 2001 -- European Minardi F1 put in a solid performance on the first day of practise for this Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix. Drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques notched up considerable mileage, and reduced their lap times steadily, as they acclimatised to the bumpy, 4.309-km Circuit Jose Carlos Pace, near Sao Paulo. They ended Friday's two one-hour sessions in 18th and 21st places respectively. Marques was unhappy with the balance of his car in the afternoon session, and his efforts were therefore blunted as a result, while Alonso's performance was particularly creditable for the fact he has no previous experience of the Brazilian circuit.
"This morning's session was useful to pile up as many laps as possible in order to learn the track, which is new to me. In the afternoon, we started to test some new solutions to find a good set-up, and in fact we believe the car's behaviour has improved a lot. I am satisfied with today's programme because it proved to be really effective and we worked hard at trying to make the most of every moment available to us in the free practice sessions."
"This morning, my car was well balanced, and in fact I was able to set the 16th best time at the end of the first session. Afterwards, we changed a number of things, but without improving the set-up, as we had expected. In fact, the car's behaviour actually deteriorated and, as a result, I couldn't make any real improvement on my lap time this afternoon. We'll now reset the car for the morning and aim to improve it so we have the chance of a good qualifying session."
"There's every reason to feel pleased with today's performance and it was good to see both Tarso and Fernando mixing it with the Arrows, Prosts and Benettons. Considering that one second is all that separated Fernando from a top-10 position today, it shows just how close the performance of the whole field is here in Brazil. Both cars ran reliably, with only routine set-up changes being made, so we're looking forward to a good qualifying session tomorrow and a competitive Brazilian Grand Prix."