TOP 10 TO END THE SEASON It began with unrestrained joy eight months ago in Melbourne, Australia, when KL Minardi Asiatech driver, Mark Webber, memorably scored two World Championship points for the Faenza team on his Formula One debut at his ...
TOP 10 TO END THE SEASON
It began with unrestrained joy eight months ago in Melbourne, Australia, when KL Minardi Asiatech driver, Mark Webber, memorably scored two World Championship points for the Faenza team on his Formula One debut at his "home" Grand Prix. It ended on another high note today, in Suzuka, Japan, when the young Australian backed up his undoubted claim to "rookie-of-the-year" status by scoring the team's fifth top-10 finish of the season.
Those two points, combined with the outcome of today's event, mean the Faenza squad finishes an excellent ninth in this year's World Constructors' Championship The team also had reason to feel pleased with the performance of Alex Yoong, who made a superb start to the race. Frustratingly, his car spun off the track on lap 15 and he was unable to continue, but his pace up to that point was impressive. In common with virtually every competitor in today's Japanese Grand Prix, Webber and Yoong were on two-stop strategies for fuel and tyres.
The team now returns to Europe for a well-deserved break, but is provisionally scheduled to test at Valencia, Spain, in the last week of November.
"We had quite low grip all afternoon and that, combined with the fact Alex had a lot less fuel at the start of the race, meant he was able to get by at the beginning. I knew, though, it was a matter of time and I could get the place back. I just did my best this afternoon, and tried really hard in the last few laps to get even more out of the car, which was when I set my fastest lap. It wasn't easy for us today, but I'm really happy for the guys. We got another 10th place finish, which is important for us, and the guys have done a fantastic job all year."
"I caught the lights just right and made a great start, but then de la Rosa squeezed me and I wasn't able to gain as many places as I should have. I also had a small touch with Mark on the opening lap when I passed him, fortunately without any damage to either car. The chassis balance wasn't bad, but the track was quite slippery compared with this morning and, as a result, there was some oversteer in the car. Unfortunately, my car was not fitted with power steering this afternoon, and when you're correcting for oversteer all the time, it wears you out a bit. I had a small slide at turn two, but without the power assistance, I just wasn't able to catch it in time. It's a shame not to have finished, but considering this is very much a power circuit, I was happy with my lap times in the race."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Well done to the drivers and to the whole KL Minardi Asiatech team. Finishing ninth in the World Championship is no mean feat when you consider our budget and the political turmoil that has ruined most of the season for us. We derive a lot of pleasure, however, from the fact the team scored quite possibly the most popular two points in modern Formula One history in Melbourne this year. Our on-track performances, in the main, have been far better than the financial resources available to the team should have permitted."
"Our thanks go our drivers this year, Alex, Mark and Anthony, as well as to all our commercial and technical partners. I would particularly like to single out our engine partner, Asiatech, for a special mention. We have enjoyed a truly amicable and productive relationship with them all year long, and we genuinely wish them well in whatever they choose to do in the future."
Chassis: PS02/04 (No.23)
Fastest lap: 1min 40.232secs
Chassis: PS02/03 (No. 22)
Position: DNF (lap 15)
Fastest lap: 1 min 40.937secs