Like all other Formula One teams, Wilux Minardi Cosworth personnel today found themselves having to deal with highly changeable weather conditions during the first two official practice sessions for Sunday's French Grand Prix. In similar ...
Like all other Formula One teams, Wilux Minardi Cosworth personnel today found themselves having to deal with highly changeable weather conditions during the first two official practice sessions for Sunday's French Grand Prix.
In similar conditions last year, with heavy rain showers rolling in quickly across the nearby French countryside and soaking the track, Minardi achieved one of its most notable results of the season by posting the fastest time in the Friday qualifying session.
Demonstrating that the Minardi chassis continues to be effective on this sinewy French circuit in such changeable weather conditions, drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Bas Leinders posted the seventh and eighth fastest times in today's opening session, although the team's advantage fell away in the afternoon session, as the circuit dried out.
Even so, the times recorded by Bruni, Zsolt Baumgartner and Leinders were pleasingly close to their nearest rivals, and make the team cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a positive result this weekend.
"It was a very changeable day from a weather standpoint. We started with dry tyres, then went to shallow wets, then full wets, and then back to shallow wets and dries again! At the end of the day, it was okay, although we weren't able to show our real pace. I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day, and I'm looking forward to making further progress."
"I was happy with the wet conditions and didn't find the track too bad at all. The mechanics had to work really hard changing tyres and resetting the car as the track surface either became wet or dried out. They did a great job. I was a little bit upset that I wasn't able to achieve the lap time that we felt should have been possible today, but I was happy with my performance in the wet conditions. We'll be hoping for some rain in the race."
"Obviously, the rain interrupted our normal Friday programme, and we also lost some time with electrical problems in the first session and then an engine misfire in the second. Even so, we managed to find a set-up that produced good chassis stability in the corners, and as a result, the lap times were quite good, all things considered."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Wilux Minardi Cosworth:
"Two of the Minardi drivers found themselves in seventh and eighth positions at the end of the first official practice session this morning, and indeed, all three drivers were holding their own in the rain-affected second session before the track dried out. It's clear both our drivers and our cars react well in these conditions, helped enormously by our Bridgestone tyres. Let's hope these conditions prevail, as they will allow Minardi to fight for a higher-than-normal grid position."
Chassis: PS04B/02 (No.20)
Best lap: 1 min 19.349 secs
Chassis: PS04B/01 (No.21)
Best lap: 1 min 19.636 secs
BAS LEINDERS, Test Driver
Chassis: PS04B/03 (Spare)
Best lap: 1 min 19.914 secs