MONTREAL, CANADA, June 8, 2001 -- European Minardi F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques are both competing at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time this weekend. Unfortunately, Friday's two opening practice sessions for...
MONTREAL, CANADA, June 8, 2001 -- European Minardi F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques are both competing at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time this weekend. Unfortunately, Friday's two opening practice sessions for this Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix saw both drivers' cars beset by a number of problems, with the result that neither man was able to complete the technical programme that had been laid down for the day. Alonso had the better of the available luck, completing 21 laps of the 4.421-km circuit during the two one-hour sessions. He was generally happy with the balance of his chassis, but complained of low overall grip levels. Marques did virtually no running, and therefore drove well to set a best lap of 1 min 25.415 secs in a car that his engineers had not had a chance even to start fine-tuning.
"There is not much to say. I didn't do many laps today after experiencing an engine problem that caused me to lose almost the entire first session. We changed the engine for the second session, but then lost more time in the garage with a starting problem. In the end, I managed to complete 10 laps, but there was only time to learn the braking points and the lines. It was not the time today to take further risks in search of a faster lap."
"Unfortunately, we lost a lot of valuable time in both sessions. I should have exploited today to test many things on the car and to learn the track, which I don't know, but there were problems right from the beginning. I tried to improve my time in the second session, but found a lot of traffic. The technical staff are still analysing the cause of the problem in the second session, while we know this morning's difficulties were caused by an engine oil leak."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal, European Minardi F1
"It has been a disappointing start to the weekend for the European Minardi team. Neither driver has been here before and the programme we had planned would have allowed them to gain valuable time and experience running on this unusual circuit. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as both cars were beset with mechanical gremlins today. Tarso was not able to complete a full timed run, due to an oil leak in the first session and a fuel pressure problem in the second, so sadly, has it all to do tomorrow. Fernando did complete a timed run on fresh tyres, but lost track time in the afternoon session with a fuel-delivery problem. Hopefully, our problems are now behind us and we'll make good progress tomorrow."