Weather Curtails Play MONZA, ITALY, July 18, 2001 - European Minardi F1 today launched into an important test at the high-speed Monza circuit, near Milan. The Faenza-based team has two chassis present for the three-day session, one fitted with...
Weather Curtails Play
MONZA, ITALY, July 18, 2001 - European Minardi F1 today launched into an important test at the high-speed Monza circuit, near Milan. The Faenza-based team has two chassis present for the three-day session, one fitted with new "slim-line" titanium gearbox, modified aerodynamic package and revised rear suspension geometry, and the other, a current-specification PS01 chassis. The team's young Spanish star, Fernando Alonso, will be driving the former during the test, with Malaysian Formula One hopeful, Alex Yoong, continuing the familiarisation programme he began at Mugello two weeks ago, at the wheel of the latter.
The opening day of the test was run in generally warm, humid, and overcast conditions, with heavy showers in the late afternoon bringing proceedings to a premature halt. Alonso managed only four laps in the morning before a gearbox bearing problem curtailed his first run. The unit was subsequently stripped, modified and rebuilt, but by that time the rain had become heavier and more persistent, and it was decided to postpone further testing until Thursday.
By comparison, Yoong racked up 49 laps in the course of the session, his best time being 1 min 30.90 secs. All running was carried out with race fuel loads. He experienced one harmless spin into a gravel trap while experimenting with the car's automatic downshift.
"The plan for this test is to carry on where we left off in Mugello," explained Yoong at the conclusion of the first day at Monza. "I have never been to this circuit before, so I have just been acclimatising to it. The most notable things about the place are that it's fast, with the car in low-downforce configuration, bumpy, and narrower that I had expected - it certainly looks wider on television. We were concentrating on doing lots of laps rather than on lap times, but they did come down steadily with each run. It's a sign we are making progress and I'm now looking forward to tomorrow."
European Minardi F1 Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, commented, "Today marks the first time this year we have tested with two chassis and, although the weather caused us to finish the session early, some useful work has been done. Obviously, the problem on Fernando's car means he didn't get through his technical programme for today, but that's part of what testing is all about - locating potential problems and solving them before you get to a race weekend. Alex continues to climb the Formula One learning curve and is doing everything we're asking of him."