The best lap times registered by European Minardi F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques on the first day of practice for Sunday's British Grand Prix were less than two seconds off the pole position time for last year's race. Such has been...
The best lap times registered by European Minardi F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques on the first day of practice for Sunday's British Grand Prix were less than two seconds off the pole position time for last year's race. Such has been the pace of development in Formula One during the intervening period, however, that their performances saw them in only 20th and 22nd positions respectively at the conclusion of today's two one-hour sessions. Both drivers had non-damaging spins when one of the heavy showers, for which Silverstone is notorious, soaked the circuit. Despite that, Alonso and Marques both made solid progress honing the handling of their cars and assessing the tyre compounds provided by Michelin this weekend.
"We tried a number of different car settings, which brought some good results. One of today's objectives was to try and put in as many laps as possible here at Silverstone, and in the end I believe we succeeded, thanks to a car that is feeling more and more reliable. Tomorrow's efforts will be focused on achieving a better performance compared with today's, which was still not as good as it could be. That said, I think we are close to the maximum result for our car's present potential."
"We tried a completely different set-up configuration today and it worked well, improving the car quite a lot. When I went for what should have been my fastest lap, the gearbox selected sixth gear at the wrong time and I lost the lap. A problem with the rear suspension in the morning session caused me to lose some valuable time -- otherwise, the performance could have been even better. I believe there is still room for improvement tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal
"Silverstone lived up to its reputation insofar as the rain we had been expecting during the morning finally materialised in the last 10 minutes of the afternoon session. Despite that, European Minardi F1 had a productive, if generally uneventful Friday. Both drivers completed the technical programmes that had been set for them, and Fernando provided a boost for the team when he ran as high as 16th. We intend to carry on with the good work tomorrow and are looking forward to the qualifying session.