MinardI F1 Team drivers, Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers experienced widely varying fortunes in today's Malaysian Grand Prix. Run in 35 deg C heat at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur, the race is generally regarded as...
MinardI F1 Team drivers, Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers experienced widely varying fortunes in today's Malaysian Grand Prix. Run in 35 deg C heat at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur, the race is generally regarded as the toughest on the Formula One schedule, and so it turned out to be for the Minardi pair.
Friesacher's car spun under braking for Turn One at the start of the second lap, losing grip on oil that had been dropped moments earlier, and the young Austrian was unable to continue. Albers, by comparison, settled into a nicely consistent race pace after the opening laps and ran a solid race that included two well-executed fuel stops.
He suffered a momentary scare 16 laps from the end of the event, when his car lost one of its bargeboards, but despite an adverse effect on the aerodynamics, he pressed on to take the chequered flag in 13th place and record the first finish of his Formula One career.
"First of all, I want to thank the team for all their effort. To be honest, I wasn't happy with my qualifying performances this weekend, but the start of the race was good, as I was able to overtake three cars on the outside of the first corner, but then I suffered a temporary lack of power and Karthikeyan was able to re-pass me. I was able to keep Monteiro behind me for another lap, but I couldn't hold him off any longer than that."
"I also lost a position to Patrick, but then after two or three laps, the power started to improve and I was able to follow Tiago. Toward the end of the race, while I was moving over to let some of the faster cars through, I went wide over a curb and lost one of the bargeboards. This meant the car lost downforce, and there was more understeer, and this was reflected in the lap times. Overall, though, I learned a lot and I'm happy to have finished this race, as it's the toughest of the season."
"To be honest, I am a little disappointed. My start was not that good, but then I was able to pass Christijan and was right behind the Jordans. On the second lap, I just touched the brakes going into the first corner and lost the rear of the car on what I guess was oil from the BAR cars. That was it, really, and all we can do is put this race behind us now and look ahead to the next one, in Bahrain."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"First of all, congratulations to Toyota for their first-ever podium position in Formula One. They have been there or thereabouts all weekend, and thoroughly deserved today's result. Turning to our own race, sadly, Patrick's afternoon was over early as the result of spinning on oil that had been dropped on the track. Christijan soldiered on to finish his first Formula One race, however, setting some impressive times by Minardi standards."
"Unfortunately, when his car lost one of its bargeboards, it spoiled the aero balance, but nevertheless, it was a gutsy drive in gruelling conditions to take the chequered flag. Special thanks go to the whole team for their efforts in improving the car since Melbourne, and their relentless drive throughout a tough weekend."
Time: 1 min 42.465 secs
Time: 1 min 43.558 secs