After a break of five days, Formula One teams were back in action today, preparing for Sunday's Grand Prix of Europe, at the Nurburgring. Last weekend's action-packed Monaco Grand Prix may not have yielded a notable race result for the Minardi F1...
After a break of five days, Formula One teams were back in action today, preparing for Sunday's Grand Prix of Europe, at the Nurburgring. Last weekend's action-packed Monaco Grand Prix may not have yielded a notable race result for the Minardi F1 Team and drivers Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher, but the Faenza squad nonetheless departed the famous Principality encouraged by both the improved performance and the reliability of the Minardi Cosworth PS05, introduced at last month's San Marino Grand Prix.
The 5.148-km Nurburgring circuit provides a very different set of technical challenges from the tight confines of the Monaco track, but after today's two practice sessions, the Minardi entries again showed themselves capable of running at a strong pace. Unfortunately, Friesacher lost much of the second session when a hydraulic system problem necessitated a complete change of the gearbox assembly.
When he did eventually get on track, however, a combination of traffic and yellow flags meant he lost the opportunity to set what should have been his best lap of the day. Albers, by comparison, enjoyed two trouble-free sessions, working through his intended programme and making steady progress.
"Primarily, we worked on the set-up today, but there's still quite a bit to do, as I'm not completely happy with the way the car is responding at the moment. We'll look at the data, make some changes overnight, and aim to improve some more tomorrow."
"I'm quite disappointed, because we lost nearly the whole of the second session today. I only managed to do five laps in the end with new tyres, so that was quite difficult. We'll just have to work on it for tomorrow and aim to get as much track time as possible in the morning."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"Despite Patrick losing most of the second session due to a damaged wiring loom and a clutch problem, overall, we're relatively pleased by today's performance at a track that we felt would not necessarily suit our car at an early stage in its development."
"That said, to end the day between the Jordans, and within a respectable distance of Sauber and Red Bull Racing, is highly encouraging indeed. Hopefully, tomorrow we can work on reliability and set-up for what we hope will be an exciting race on Sunday."
Best lap: 1 min 35.311 secs
Best lap: 1 min 35.791 secs