Despite high hopes and maximum effort from all concerned, European Minardi F1 did not achieve the desired results this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrow's British Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso, who had run as high as 11th in the morning's ...
Despite high hopes and maximum effort from all concerned, European Minardi F1 did not achieve the desired results this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrow's British Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso, who had run as high as 11th in the morning's treacherously wet practice sessions, slipped back in the dry qualifying session, his fastest lap sufficient only for 21st place on the grid. Unfortunately, team mate, Tarso Marques, missed the 107 per cent qualifying threshold by 0.4 second after struggling with an engine throttle problem during his last two runs. Despite the difficulties, the team is hoping the weekend's unpredictable weather will play into its hands and help Alonso to put in his usual strong performance in tomorrow's race.
"We made some good progress on the car's set-up during this morning's free practice session. This was despite wet weather conditions that were a bit difficult for us because we haven't done many tests in the wet so far this season. In qualifying, we waited until the track was almost dry in order to have the same dry conditions as yesterday. The car set-up was right and, when I went for my third run, I drove what I feel was a very good lap. Of all the qualifying sessions so far, I think this has been one of my best because the whole package was good - the car, the set-up, and my fastest lap. The grid position may be the same as usual, but I still feel happy because I know we did a very good job today."
"Today has been extremely disappointing, but at least I can take comfort from the fact that I know I drove as hard as I could. Unfortunately, a throttle problem with the engine after the second run prevented me from improving my time in the way I normally would have expected. Making matters worse, there was insufficient time remaining to change the settings of the spare car from Fernando's to mine. I therefore went back out in my normal race car for the final run, but was unable to improve my lap time."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal
"On a day of cold wind, rain and sunshine, European Minardi F1 personnel had hoped the changeable weather conditions might allow its drivers to qualify higher than their normal positions. Unfortunately, it was not to be, although it was definitely not for want of trying on the part of the drivers. Unfortunately, Tarso fell victim to an engine problem that affected what should have been his fastest run, while Fernando, who has driven exceptionally well all weekend, gained scant reward for his efforts with 21st place on the grid. In any event, that is what we have to work with, and as ever, the team will do its best to get a good result in the race tomorrow for its many supporters around the world."