Despite the all-pervasive heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur, lap times tumbled in the first qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix, today's provisional pole position time marking a significant improvement on last year's pole-winning time...
Despite the all-pervasive heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur, lap times tumbled in the first qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix, today's provisional pole position time marking a significant improvement on last year's pole-winning time of 1 min 33.074 secs.
As they had promised yesterday, Minardi F1 Team drivers, Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher, continued to fine-tune their cars to the demands of the Sepang International Circuit, making demonstrable progress in the course of Saturday morning's two practice sessions.
The improvement in lap times for the Minardi drivers was attributable to a number of factors, including greater knowledge of the Malaysian Grand Prix track -- both Albers and Friesacher are racing here for the first time -- chassis set-up changes to the cars, and the availability of useful new aerodynamic data, which was provided overnight by technical personnel at the Minardi factory in Faenza.
"I'm generally happy with the car today, although the balance in the quick corners wasn't quite as good as it might have been, as I had more oversteer than in free practice this morning. I think we have to work a little bit on that, but overall, my qualifying lap was not bad. We certainly improved from yesterday, and I want to say thanks again to the guys for doing another great job."
"Quite simply, my out lap this afternoon was just too slow, and the tyres were not at their optimum for the qualifying run, the result being that I just wasn't able to put the lap together. This may be good for conserving tyres, but it's not good for qualifying. The positive news, however, is that we made some progress overnight, and I think we've now got a good race set-up. We'll see what we can do in final qualifying tomorrow morning."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"On a positive note, today's qualifying performance saw Minardi less than a second off its last year's best qualifying time here at SIC. My thanks go to the entire team, including those at the factory in Faenza, for the splendid way in which they have worked to improve this car, and to both drivers, for a job well done."
"I just hope that the unexpected additional workload involved in improving the old car does not delay the introduction of the Minardi Cosworth PS05, planned for Imola. It was also very gratifying, at the end of today's qualifying session, to see four former Minardi drivers occupying the top six positions."
Best lap: 1 min 39.268 secs
Best lap: 1 min 40.432 secs