The opening day of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend didn't start in particularly auspicious fashion for European Minardi Cosworth. In common with other drivers who took to the Hungaroring in Friday's two-hour, morning test session, the Faenza ...
The opening day of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend didn't start in particularly auspicious fashion for European Minardi Cosworth. In common with other drivers who took to the Hungaroring in Friday's two-hour, morning test session, the Faenza squad's recent recruit, Nicholas Kiesa, struggled to find grip on the very dusty track surface. The situation improved as the session progressed, but not before the young Danish driver had a couple of non-damaging spins. Unfortunately, he then lost the following official practice session after his car suffered an engine failure.
By comparison, team mate, Jos Verstappen, was able to work through his designated Friday technical programme, although his car did suffer from a fuel delivery problem, which caused him to stop on track with just minutes of the practice session remaining. Kiesa switched to the spare car for the weekend's first official qualifying session, and after their runs, the two Minardi drivers had recorded the 18th and 19th fastest times of the afternoon respectively. Both will be looking to improve on those grid positions tomorrow.
"That wasn't the perfect qualifying lap, as I made a mistake in the first corner that cost perhaps 0.6 secs -- if not for that, I think a lap time of 1 min 25.3 secs or 1 min 25.4 secs was possible, which would have been good. As it worked out, that 0.6 secs wouldn't have gained us a position today, but it's just a shame for both the team and me that we didn't get the best lap possible. Anyway, we know there is more in the car, but with a heavier fuel load tomorrow, we'll just have to see what happens."
"All told, it has not been a great day. We had a major engine problem this morning, which meant I lost the whole of the practice session while the engine was changed. I then had to use the spare car for qualifying, and it felt quite different from the race car. That, plus the fact the circuit had changed a lot between this morning and this afternoon, meant we just didn't get the best out of the car today. Still, we'll aim for a better outcome tomorrow."
"For me, it went very well this morning. My times were good, especially considering I don't know this circuit and we had only the soft compound tyres available. The car had a good balance, though, and we spent some of the time in the session comparing a new design of floor with the existing one. I am happy with the job I did for Minardi today, and I am now looking forward to Monza, which is almost like a 'home' track for me. It will also be the first circuit I have driven the F1 car on that I actually know. There will then be a further chance to work with the team during the Monza test, on September 3 and 4, and we'll have a bit of fun at Rockingham next weekend, driving one of the Minardi F1 two-seater cars. It's all F1 seat time, which is great."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"The day started out on a positive note when Jos finished the morning test session as the fastest Bridgestone runner -- a very creditable performance, indeed. Mechanical gremlins put paid to Nicolas's session, however, with a spectacular smoke display down the pit straight. In the first official session, Jos also stopped in the same place with a fuel pump problem. P18 and P19 is not where we would have liked to be today, but given the conditions, it was not totally unexpected. We will just have to work harder tomorrow."
Time: 1 min 26.052 secs
Time: 1 min 27.023 secs
Best lap 1 min 27.036 secs (test session)