Minardi announced on March 3rd that Bas Leinders will join the team as official test and third driver and Tiago Monteiro also as test driver. 28 year-old Leinders, from Belgium, will take part in the Friday test sessions at race weekends as well...
Minardi announced on March 3rd that Bas Leinders will join the team as official test and third driver and Tiago Monteiro also as test driver. 28 year-old Leinders, from Belgium, will take part in the Friday test sessions at race weekends as well as scheduled test sessions through the season.
Leinders previously competed in Formula Ford, being champion in Britain and Europe, and also in Formula Opel and German F3. In 2002 and 2003 he raced in the Nissan World Series, where he finished third over all both years. He also tested for Jordan earlier this year.
"Hopefully, what we learn in testing on Friday will then benefit the team's performance in the race on Sunday. It is the sort of work I really enjoy, and I'm certainly looking forward to my first run in the Minardi Cosworth."
Team principal Paul Stoddart added: "Minardi is very pleased to have concluded a contract with Bas that will see him become our regular Friday test driver, running in a third chassis alongside Gimmi (Bruni) and Zsolt (Baumgartner) at all Grand Prix weekends. He has a lot of useful, and relevant, racing experience under his belt, as well as the added advantage of knowing many of the F1 circuits from his time in the International F3000 Championship."
"I'm sure he will prove to be a real asset to the team and help us to develop the Minardi Cosworth PS04B quickly, so that we can start to maximise its potential as early in the season as possible. With what I believe is a strong driver line-up now in place, we can start to focus on the serious business of improving our performance."
27 year-old Monteiro, from Portugal, will assist Minardi with development this season and will also compete in the Nissan World Series with Carlin Motosport. Monteiro previously raced in sports cars as well as French F3 and International F3000. Last season he raced in ChampCar with Fittipaldi Dingman Racing.
"We're very pleased to have signed Tiago as a test driver," said Stoddart. "It is precisely because of his extensive motor racing experience, and his obvious adaptability to widely differing types of machinery, that we felt he could be of real assistance to us in developing the Minardi Cosworth PS04B this year."
"The new car has shown distinct promise in pre-season testing, but we are very aware that nothing in F1 stands still -- we need to have a solid test programme in place in order to work on steadily improving the new chassis. We believe that Tiago, and fellow tester, Bas Leinders, will be able to help us achieve our goals in this area."