European Minardi F1 driver, Fernando Alonso, was definitely meant to finish this year's British Grand Prix. The Spanish teenager shrugged off the dramatic loss of a front wheel just before his second scheduled stop for fuel and tyres, calmly drove...
European Minardi F1 driver, Fernando Alonso, was definitely meant to finish this year's British Grand Prix. The Spanish teenager shrugged off the dramatic loss of a front wheel just before his second scheduled stop for fuel and tyres, calmly drove to the pits on three wheels for a fresh set of tyres to be fitted, and once back on track, carried on lapping at the same impressive pace as before the incident. In fact, such was his progress in the race that he climbed from 21st position on the starting grid to 14th by lap 38, and was involved in a tight, four-way battle involving his European Minardi, both Benettons and Enrique Bernoldi's Arrows. The confidence-building result comes at an excellent time for the Faenza team, as it prepares to introduce a revised version of its current PS01 chassis. This features a smaller, lighter gearbox, new aerodynamic package and modified suspension geometry.
"I think I drove a pretty good race today. From the very beginning, I managed to maintain close contact with the group of cars ahead of me and matched their pace. The choice of Michelin's hard-compound tyre turned out to be right for our race. It was quite a big shock, however, when on the lap I was due to make my second pit stop, I lost the left front wheel. Fortunately, I was close to the pit-lane entrance and was able to get to the team's box for fuel and a new set of tyres. My feeling is that the team has made good progress over recent races and is working better and better. It's a positive development and bodes well for the upcoming races."
"The result is just reward for what has otherwise been a tough weekend for European Minardi. Fernando drove a storming race, from beginning to end, to record a well-deserved finish, even the loss of a front wheel on the last lap of his second stint only slowing him until he reached the pits for fuel and a new set of tyres. His pace was such that, at various stages in the race, he was able to close up impressively on Irvine's Jaguar, Bernoldi's Arrows, plus the two Benettons, and was fully competitive against all of them. If not for the problem with the wheel, which cost him virtually a lap, he would have finished three places higher."