BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, August 19, 2001 -- The strong performance of European Minardi F1 yesterday in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix unfortunately did not translate into the top-10 finish that had been hoped for. A scintillating lap...
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, August 19, 2001 -- The strong performance of European Minardi F1 yesterday in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix unfortunately did not translate into the top-10 finish that had been hoped for. A scintillating lap by Fernando Alonso had netted the young Spaniard 18th place on the starting grid, and, once the race was under way, initial signs looked promising as he moved up several places. Unknown to those on the outside, however, Alonso was experiencing braking difficulties, the problem finally catching him out on lap 37, when a wheel locked, sending him into a gravel trap and, sadly, bringing his race to a premature conclusion. Team mate, Tarso Marques, started 22nd and put in a solid drive, stopping twice for fuel and tyres, but unfortunately had to retire from the race on lap 64, after the team advised him to stop as the result of an engine oil pressure concern.
"Frentzen pushed me off in the second corner on the opening lap and I lost time as a result. Then we experienced some small problems with the gearbox, which to be fair, are to be expected with a brand-new unit. The throttle also gave inconsistent response at times. Finally, after the second stop, the team told me over the radio to switch the engine off, as there was a suspected oil pressure problem. It was a bit of a disappointing day, but we did the best we could."
"I made a good start and was able to match the pace of the other cars. Then I started having problems with the brakes, and this didn't help my concentration on driving. I just lost control of my car under braking, when the rear wheels locked. I'm a little disappointed because I think we could have had a good result here, but I am generally happy with our performance this weekend."
"In what turned out to be a tough race for European Minardi F1, the early stages of the event saw Fernando challenging for position with all the signs that we could be in for a good race. Unfortunately, it was not to be, Fernando retiring after a brake problem caused him to spin off the track, and Tarso stopping as precaution when the telemetry showed his engine oil pressure to be falling. His efforts today nevertheless helped the team gain valuable experience with the new gearbox, which will stand us in good stead for the future. Today may not have been successful for European Minardi, but we would like to offer our sincere congratulations to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari for winning the World Drivers' Championship here in Hungary. They have shown all the other teams how it should be done, and their performance gives us inspiration for the future."