The opening practice sessions for the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix got under way today at the Shanghai International Circuit with Minardi F1 Team drivers Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers aiming to make the strongest possible showing in the final...
The opening practice sessions for the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix got under way today at the Shanghai International Circuit with Minardi F1 Team drivers Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers aiming to make the strongest possible showing in the final Grand Prix weekend of the Faenza squad's 21-year stint in the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Both drivers' cars were fitted with further development components, to help maximise their performance potential around the 5.451-km circuit. Specifically, the final evolution of the Minardi Cosworth PS05 for the 2005 season features a new diffuser and new rear brake ducts.
Combined once again with the excellent power and reliability of the Cosworth TJ2005 V10 engine, the "Shanghai-specification" chassis helped the Dutch duo make a positive start to the weekend, Doornbos completing the first day with the 21st fastest time, and Albers, the 22nd.
Both drivers reported the track to be particularly slippery in the braking areas in the early part of the day, although the situation improved as the day progressed.
"It's great to be back in Shanghai, having made my F1 debut here last year as a test driver. It's a great circuit and a wonderful facility, so well done to the Chinese for what they've accomplished. We struggled a little with set-up this morning and were therefore off the pace compared with the others."
"This afternoon, however, we made progress, and working with my engineer, Riccardo Adami, we were able to go in the right direction. There's definitely more time to come, and we're pushing hard."
"We had a reasonable opening day. The problem to start with was that I didn't really know the track, but now, with 30 laps completed, I feel much more confident with it. We still need to find a good set-up and improve the car further, but it's only Friday. We'll see what we can do tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"Today saw the opening day of Minardi's last Grand Prix, and no doubt after 340 World Championship races, emotions will be running high throughout the weekend."
"As usual, the drivers and team completed their full technical programme today, and when combined with the tremendous support from our technical partners, and in particular, Cosworth, we will continue to make progress throughout the weekend."
Best lap: 1 min 36.993 secs
Best lap: 1 min 37.173 secs