The KL Minardi Asiatech team today arrived in style at its final destination of the 2002 Formula One World Championship season. Fifty members of the Faenza-based team were aboard a European Aviation Boeing 747 that touched down at Osaka's ...
The KL Minardi Asiatech team today arrived in style at its final destination of the 2002 Formula One World Championship season. Fifty members of the Faenza-based team were aboard a European Aviation Boeing 747 that touched down at Osaka's Kansai International Airport, along with personnel from the McLaren, Jordan, Sauber and Jaguar teams.
The distinctively liveried EAL aircraft had arrived from Honolulu at the conclusion of the third sector of a marathon, three-week, four-leg tour that has taken the team from Bournemouth to Indianapolis, and then on to Hawaii and Japan, before it returns to the UK on October 15.
With this year's gruelling, 17-race World Championship schedule drawing to a close, European Aviation boss, Paul Stoddart, decided that members of his Formula One team could do with a little rest and relaxation, and thus drew up a flight plan that included a stop-over in Hawaii between the US and Japanese rounds of the Championship. Needless to say, the move proved a hit with KL Minardi staff, as well as with personnel from the other teams who elected to take the flight rather than return to Europe between the final races.
"It's been a tough season, and I think the idea of arranging the flights in such a way as to give everyone a chance to 'recharge their batteries' in the warm and pleasant surroundings of Hawaii before travelling on to Japan has been more than well received, judging by the many positive comments we have heard over the last week," commented Stoddart after the EAL flight landed in Osaka. "I'm sure once word gets around the Formula One paddock in Suzuka this weekend, we'll have a few more teams wanting to join us next year!"
Two notable members of the KL Minardi team not on the flight were drivers Mark Webber and Alex Yoong. They elected to return home to Australia and Malaysia respectively following the United States Grand Prix, in order to visit family and friends, and will be flying to Japan later this week. Both men will be aiming for a repeat of their competitive performances at Indianapolis when they take to the challenging Suzuka circuit for the opening practice session on Friday morning.