At the Hockenheimring circuit, Robert Doornbos today made an astonishing Formula One debut as a race driver. Despite the fact that the first circuit acquaintance of Doornbos with the Minardi F1-team were the two free practice sessions at the 4.574...
At the Hockenheimring circuit, Robert Doornbos today made an astonishing Formula One debut as a race driver. Despite the fact that the first circuit acquaintance of Doornbos with the Minardi F1-team were the two free practice sessions at the 4.574 kilometer track for this weekend's Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Germany, Doornbos managed to complete 45 laps faultlessly. With a fastest time of 1:17.978 the Rotterdam racer gave an impressive display on his debut.
After Patrick Friesacher failed to meet his financial obligations towards the team, things got steamrolled for Doornbos, which meant that the former test driver of Jordan Grand Prix stepped up to a full race seat at the Anglo/Italian outfit from this weekend onwards.
Although Doornbos enjoyed his very first track time ever in the Minardi Cosworth today, the resident from Viareggio, Italy, displayed himself like an experienced professional. Not only did the rookie make himself familiar with the car and its technology, Doornbos also continually managed improve his speed at the cloudy track (Air Temp 22ºC and Track Temp 30ºC) that hosts already the twelfth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Like all the other drivers, Doornbos initially used the first free practice session between 11:00 and 12:00 hours to familiarise himself with the track. After an installation lap, Doornbos drove three runs of approximately six laps. During the course of the session laptimes improved continually. At the end of the first hour Doornbos had completed a total of 17 laps, with a fastest time of 1:20.108 (P22).
With a busy program to work through, the driver with startnumber 20 started the second session at 14:00 hours with three runs of six laps each in order to gain useful information regarding the PS05 for the engineers. Doornbos, who will start his first Grand Prix (67 laps) this Sunday, practised several pitstops and several practice starts during his in-laps and out-laps, and already put plenty of rubber on the tarmac.
To finish off the session the 2004 FIA International F3000 'Rookie of the Year" did a long stint and managed a fastest time of 1:17.978. Together with his Dutch team-mate Christijan Albers (1:17.830) they were faster then the Jordan Toyota's of Tiago Monteiro and Nicolas Kiesa.
After the two one hour sessions the 23 year old Dutchman was most satisfied with his first day at the office with the Minardi F1-team. Robert: "I focussed today especially on the set-up of the car. The main difference between the Jordan and the Minardi are the brakes, on top of which the Minardi has a much lighter feel. Thanks to the fact that I speak Italian I immediately developed a strong connection with my race engineer Riccardo Adami."
"During the sessions I played around a lot with the buttons on the steering wheel, which are especially important for the race. Everything felt good from the very beginning, which made it possible to give significant information about the car to the team, which was followed up by measurable progression in output and speed. The team is very satisfied about the results. Together with the team I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend and obviously to my first qualifying session on Saturday!"