European Minardi Cosworth looked to be on course to score its first World Championship points of the season in this afternoon's Canadian Grand Prix in MontrÃ©al, drivers Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen running 10th and 11th respectively late in...
European Minardi Cosworth looked to be on course to score its first World Championship points of the season in this afternoon's Canadian Grand Prix in Montréal, drivers Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen running 10th and 11th respectively late in the race and after the second of their two scheduled pit stops. Unfortunately, Wilson was forced to retire his car on lap 63 of the 70-lap race when a gearbox problem developed. Verstappen, however, pressed on to finish an excellent ninth -- European Minardi's best result so far this year.
Both drivers made excellent starts, Wilson in particular attracting attention with yet another spectacular opening-lap charge, on this occasion climbing from his 18th-place starting position on the grid to 11th. With this weekend's news concerning significant commercial investment in the team, European Minardi now looks forward to producing some strong results in the second half of the 2003 Formula One World Championship season.
"I was happy to finish today's race in ninth place, as it's our best result so far this season. It's a shame we weren't able to get eighth place and the Championship point that goes with it. The car ran really reliably in the race, for which I must thank all the guys. I had to let the frontrunners through after my second pit stop, which inevitably slowed me down a bit, but you can't ignore the blue flags, even though you almost have to coast down the straights at times to let people pass you. It's a good result for the team, though, and I'm very pleased with it."
"The car was fantastic today -- I could do what I wanted with it and position it where I wanted it on the track. Everything was going to plan, the car hadn't missed a beat all afternoon, and then, just a few laps from the end of the race, I heard a bang as I was coming down the back straight and lost all drive. I was able to coast into the pits, but there was nothing that could be done. It's such a shame, because I think we could have had two strong finishes for Minardi here in Canada. It's good for the team, however, that Jos got a top-10 finish."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"In what has been a rollercoaster weekend for European Minardi here in Montréal, it was great to see both our drivers not only setting competitive times in today's race, but also fighting for top-10 positions. Justin's first stint, which saw him climb from 18th to 11th, was simply amazing, and yet again proves he must be one of the fastest starters in Formula One. As the race settled down, it was clear both drivers were challenging for top-10 positions, and were it not for a gearbox failure on Justin's car, we would have scored a World Championship point today. As Minardi moves back to Europe for the second half of the 2003 F1 season with our new partner, Bernie Ecclestone, we look forward to being able to show the true potential of our car."
Best lap 1 min 18.521 secs