In the final race of an illustrious 21-year history of competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Minardi F1 Team did what it has always done, and raced as hard as it could in today's Grand Prix of China. When the chequered flag fell...
In the final race of an illustrious 21-year history of competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Minardi F1 Team did what it has always done, and raced as hard as it could in today's Grand Prix of China. When the chequered flag fell on the concluding race of the 2005 Formula One season, drivers Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers had claimed 14th and 16th places respectively.
The afternoon was not without incident for the Faenza squad, however, and particularly Albers, who had to start the race from the pit lane in the team's spare car after a collision with Michael Schumacher's Ferrari while proceeding to the grid. He then had to make an unscheduled pit stop four laps from the finish when a wheel nut came loose.
Doornbos had a less eventful race, climbing as high as 13th just before the second of his two scheduled pit stops, but like Albers, lost track position as a result of making his first stop immediately prior to the first deployment of the Safety Car. Doornbos did derive some satisfaction, however from finishing the race just two seconds behind the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.
"I said over the radio at the end of the race, 'Thank you, Minardi, for giving me the chance to make my debut as a Formula One driver'. The race itself started spectacularly for us, and I think I did my best on cold tyres after the Safety Car incidents to pass both a Williams and Villeneuve's Sauber a couple of times. I think I drove well and really enjoyed myself this afternoon. Let's hope I can be back in Shanghai again next year and get a better result."
"I think everyone saw what happened on the formation lap, and I think it was a shame for both of us. To be honest, we had bad luck all day. I had to start the race in the spare car, which is not to the latest specification -- it lacks power steering, for example -- and on different tyres."
"Unfortunately, I lost one lap almost immediately, when I came out from my first pit stop behind the leaders, who were behind the Safety Car by that time for Montoya's incident. Still, that's life, but it's also F1. It's hard, and you have to get used to it. It will just make me determined to push even harder next year."
Gian Carlo Minardi, Team Founder:
"I want to thank our Technical Director, Gabriele Tredozi, for everything he has done to make the Minardi name synonymous around the world with competing with dignity and to the maximum level possible, given the available technical resources. Over the years, we have experienced a number of problems, but we've been able to deal with them thanks to the passion that has always existed within this team."
"I want to thank all the guys, at the races and at the factory, for the effort they have put in over these last 21 years. I also want to thank all the drivers, who have helped to make this team great, and all the sponsors and fans, who have supported us unstintingly."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal:
"The tally is 340 Grands Prix, 21 seasons, 37 drivers and one World Champion, with perhaps more to come. That's a pretty impressive record by any standards, and I'm proud of each and every member of the Minardi team."
"Together with all of our colleagues back at the factory in Faenza, this team has a heart and soul second to none. The words, "Never has so much been achieved by so few with so little," can never have been as justified as they are with Minardi."
"Given that the team has survived against all odds over the years, competing with both dignity and passion while contributing so much to the FIA Formula One World Championship, today is a sad day. To our current drivers, Christijan and Robert, and to all the Minardi drivers and team members over the years, thank you very much for a job well done."
Best lap: 1 min 36.894 secs
Best lap: 1 min 37.215 secs