KL Minardi was the first Formula One team to touch down in Australia today ready for the Melbourne Grand Prix on March 3rd. Eight members of the team along with three cars arrived in Melbourne on one of boss Paul Stoddart's own European Aviation...
KL Minardi was the first Formula One team to touch down in Australia today ready for the Melbourne Grand Prix on March 3rd. Eight members of the team along with three cars arrived in Melbourne on one of boss Paul Stoddart's own European Aviation jumbos. New signing Mark Webber's debut on the grid sees the end to an eight year absence of an Australian F1 driver and the home crowd are ready to cheer him on. Webber formerly raced with Stoddart's European Racing Formula 3000 team as well as Benetton's junior outfit Super Nova and says it was a useful apprenticeship.
"It's been a brilliant apprenticeship and I'm looking forward to using it to my advantage now that the real work is just beginning." Said Webber, who knows this season will not be easy. "There's no question that it's going to be tough for me this season, having competed right at the sharp end in every championship I've raced in since coming to Europe. But I love a challenge and the work really begins now. I want to help Minardi get the best results possible and as a small team we're going to work hard together to try and ruffle a few feathers during the season."
Paul Stoddart said that the preparation for the 2002 season was very different from last year when the team had six weeks to scramble two cars together. Although finances are always an issue, Stoddart thinks this time the cars will be improved: "We're obviously struggling with budget like everybody else, we operate on one fifth of Ferrari's budget." He said. "But you watch our performances, I can assure you they'll be a lot more than 20 percent of Ferrari's."
Other arrivals were Jaguar's Eddie Irvine, Renualt's Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button and Toyota's Allan McNish.