The 2005 French Grand Prix, which marks the mid-point of the current Formula One season, did not turn out to be an auspicious event for the Minardi F1 Team. Drivers Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers both retired close to the halfway point...
The 2005 French Grand Prix, which marks the mid-point of the current Formula One season, did not turn out to be an auspicious event for the Minardi F1 Team. Drivers Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers both retired close to the halfway point of the race, Friesacher after 34 laps, when his left rear tyre deflated at the Adelaide corner, and Albers four laps later, when his car's left rear tyre suffered the same fate, pitching him into a spin on the approach to the Estoril hairpin.
Fortunately, the Dutch driver suffered nothing more than a grazed hand in the ensuing impact with the barriers. Subsequent investigation revealed that both incidents were due to tyre valve caps not being refitted during the previous pit stops.
"The car was really nervous at the beginning of the race, and I couldn't keep up the same speed as Christijan and the Jordans, even though I was pushing as hard as I could. I just couldn't drive the car the way I normally would, but then the tyre deflated after my second pit stop, and that was it. We'll be looking for some better luck at Silverstone."
"I was pleased with my start, as I overtook Patrick and Tiago Monteiro, and after that, I was able to pull away from my team mate, despite being on a different fuel strategy, and to stay ahead of Monteiro, even though he was pushing all the time. Unfortunately, I was losing a lot of time with oversteer at Turn 3, and the lap before I came into the pits, Monteiro was able to overtake me."
"Up to that point, and before the tyre problem, I had been pleased with my race pace, as I believe Jordan was also on a three-stopper today, and my lap times were almost the same as Karthikeyan's. All we can do now is focus on Silverstone and aim for a better resultthere."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"It's disappointing that both cars retired today as the result of the valve caps not being refitted to the left rear tyres after the drivers' second pit stops. In co-operation with our tyre partner, Bridgestone, we will be investigating the issue further, to understand why it happened and to ensure there is no repeat of the problem. It's a pity for both drivers, and in particular, for Christijan, who was having a good race with the Jordans before his retirement."
Best lap: 1 min 20.959 secs
Best lap: 1 min 21.077 secs