It was particularly busy today in the European Minardi Cosworth camp as the team welcomed two new drivers to its ranks, and for only the second time this season, ran three cars in the two-hour morning test session. After a one-day, 300-km ...
It was particularly busy today in the European Minardi Cosworth camp as the team welcomed two new drivers to its ranks, and for only the second time this season, ran three cars in the two-hour morning test session. After a one-day, 300-km acclimatisation run late last week, new Danish signing, Nicolas Kiesa, took over the seat of the No 18 European Minardi Cosworth PS03 and began preparations for Sunday's German Grand Prix -- his first-ever Formula One race.
Kiesa settled in to his new surroundings quickly, rattling off a total of 54 trouble-free laps in the course of Friday morning's test and practice sessions and working through the day's designated technical programme. Unfortunately, he was unable to record a time in the opening qualifying session after encountering a problem with the anti-stall device on his car as he exited the garage.
Team mate, Jos Verstappen, did his usual solid job as he experienced the new layout of the Hockenheimring for the fist time. The Dutch driver also put in a strong performance throughout the Friday sessions, the only unscheduled moment coming when he had a rather spectacular spin close to the end of the morning as he was pressing on in his usual hard-charging style.
Also making his debut today was Gianmaria "Jimmy" Bruni, the young Roman assuming his role as Minardi test driver with aplomb and providing the team's engineers with useful feedback on several new components.
"If you compare us with Ferrari, I think we did a good job, as we were only down two seconds today! One could interpret that to mean we have made up ground on them since the start of the season. As far as qualifying was concerned, the chassis was well balanced and I think I drove a clean lap. The time was good, considering the team's circumstances, so I think we are starting the weekend in a positive way. I am also pleased by Justin's performance this afternoon. It shows how competitive the Minardi drivers are."
"It was bad luck that the car stalled as I pulled out of the garage into the pit lane to do my run, and I'm obviously disappointed. I was really looking forward to qualifying this afternoon and trying to get as close to Jos's time as possible. The car ran faultlessly in every test, and then when it counted, we had a problem. Despite this, we did some useful work today, so we'll put this behind us and aim to sort things tomorrow."
"This was a good session today, especially as it was my first time at Hockenheim. After the 20-km shakedown run at Fiorano last week, I drove another 160 km this morning, for a total of 180 km. I'm very happy with the work I did with the engineers this morning, including trying two new floors and new front and rear wings. I'm also pleased with my lap times, particularly as I used only two sets of tyres during the morning. I'm now really looking forward to starting afresh on the Friday at the Hungaroring -- another circuit that is new to me. This first experience of Formula One, however, has been just great."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"Today began well, as our two debutants, Nicolas and Jimmy, together with Jos, completed a trouble-free practice this morning. Following on, Jos and Nicolas again completed their technical programmes, and Jos's lap in qualifying was as good as could have been achieved today. Sadly for Nicolas, he failed to set a time in qualifying due to an anti-stall problem, but overall, he has done a fantastic job on his first day. I'm sure there's a lot more to come from him tomorrow."
"Never having really driven an F1 car, Jimmy put in a very solid performance today and his times were very impressive. I must also say how pleased everyone is at European Minardi to have seen Justin Wilson's fine seventh-place qualifying performance for Jaguar Racing this afternoon. It just goes to show that all the faith we had in his talent was totally justified."
Time: 1 min 17.702 secs
GIANMARIA BRUNI (test driver)
Best lap 1 min 19.865 secs