After nearly a week spent acclimatising to the heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur, Minardi F1 Team drivers Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher today had their first chance to sample the challenging Sepang International Circuit, scene of...
After nearly a week spent acclimatising to the heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur, Minardi F1 Team drivers Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher today had their first chance to sample the challenging Sepang International Circuit, scene of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Driving interim Minardi Cosworth PS04B chassis, the men spent Friday's two one-hour practice sessions familiarising themselves with the 5.543-km track and adjusting the handling of their cars to suit.
Albers and Friesacher both reported that circuit grip levels improved during the morning, and subsequently made progress with chassis set-up in the afternoon session.
"I'm happy with the job we did today because we improved the car quite a lot and discovered some interesting information about the diffuser. I'm also feeling more comfortable in the car than I did in Australia, but we still have some work to do on overall car balance."
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow and making a further step forward. As usual, the mechanics did a really good job and the car ran reliably throughout both sessions."
"It was a good day overall, and I think we made some progress. Patrick and I were both trying different aerodynamic parts and chassis set-ups. It's a shame that the level of traffic meant I wasn't able to get as much as I would have liked out of the new tyres, but the most important thing to focus on now is qualifying tomorrow, and we'll see what we can do then."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"It's clear to everyone that the 2005 regulations are a resounding success -- so much so that they've succeeded in adding more than three seconds to Minardi lap times compared with last year. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that, in the first practice session today, in near-identical climatic conditions to 2004, the top 10 cars were, without exception, faster than last year."
Best lap: 1 min 40.940 secs
Best lap: 1 min 41.156 secs