It was another productive opening session for the European Minardi Cosworth team today as preparations got under way at Silverstone for this Sunday's British Grand Prix.. After the tighter confines of the last two circuits, the Nurburgring and...
It was another productive opening session for the European Minardi Cosworth team today as preparations got under way at Silverstone for this Sunday's British Grand Prix.. After the tighter confines of the last two circuits, the Nurburgring and Magny Cours, European Minardi drivers Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen this weekend have to deal with the very different challenges of Silverstone's high-speed straights and swooping corners.
The Faenza squad arrived at the Northamptonshire circuit with several new components to assess, and worked its way through a technical programme that included, among other things, the evaluation of aerodynamic changes, as well as software and tyre comparisons. When it came to the first qualifying session of the weekend, Verstappen's lap of 1 min 23. 418 secs was the 18th fastest, but was actually just over 0.2 seconds slower than his fastest of the day.
By comparison, Wilson was unable to post a qualifying time when a suspected ignition switch problem caused his car's engine to cut out as he was exiting the pit lane to commence his run. With the weather remaining unpredictable and the threat of rain ever-present, however, the team remains hopeful of springing another surprise at the end of tomorrow's final qualifying session.
"I think that was a pretty clean lap, and I was reasonably happy with it, even though the time was not as fast as my best of the morning. There was less grip available this afternoon, and as a result, the car was sliding around more. We have some ideas to improve the situation that we want to try tomorrow, so we'll see if we can find a little more time."
"By this afternoon, I was happier with the car's handling. As a result, my confidence has been building, but there are still a couple of areas where I need to improve. As for my qualifying run, I just went out the pit lane, and as I went over the bump at the end where it joins the track, the engine lost all power. The car fired up when we got it back to the garage, and the engineers now suspect a problem with the ignition switch. As ever, tomorrow's another day, and we'll be aiming to do better."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal - European Minardi Cosworth:
"Despite it looking for a brief moment as though we might have a repeat of the Magny Cours Friday qualifying result, the rain stopped, and it was not to be. Both drivers spent the day setting up their cars for the demands of the Silverstone circuit, and by the end of the practice session, they had split the Saubers and were within sight of the Jordans, the two teams we feel we are racing against. Sadly, qualifying didn't work out as planned, when Justin's car came to a stop with what appears to have been an ignition switch problem. Both drivers, however, put in a solid performance, and we look forward to a better day tomorrow."
Time: 1 min 23.418 secs