Tyre woes overshadow first test The second day of the Minardi team's opening test of the 2003 season, at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo, should have been a particularly satisfying occasion, as it marked the return of popular Dutch driver, Jos...
Tyre woes overshadow first test
The second day of the Minardi team's opening test of the 2003 season, at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo, should have been a particularly satisfying occasion, as it marked the return of popular Dutch driver, Jos Verstappen, to the F1 arena. Sadly, the event was once again overshadowed by the inexplicable decision on the part of the team's chosen supplier, Bridgestone, not to supply tyres to the hard-trying Faenza squad.
Despite the predictable controversy surrounding the issue, Verstappen settled in quickly, and was soon setting impressive times, given the age of the European V10 engine, the Minardi PS01 chassis, and the fact that the Avon tyres, with which the car was fitted once again, were never designed for Formula One levels of performance. As with British driver, Justin Wilson, on his Minardi debut yesterday, Verstappen spent the day settling in with his new team and assisting technical staff with their preparations for the 2003 season.
"It takes a little time to return to a Formula One car after 15 months away and to get back in the rhythm again, but after about 20 laps, I was feeling really comfortable and enjoying myself. That was the reason for today's test - to get used to F1 again - and that's what we did. I'm very pleased with the lap times, especially considering the car is two years old and we were running on Avon F3000-specification tyres. I have also confirmed that my fitness level is fine, so all in all, I am very pleased with the whole day. Now Justin and I will just wait impatiently to get in the new car."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi
"It is with great regret that, yet again, Minardi is forced to deal with the fact Bridgestone has chosen not to supply the team with tyres at Valencia today. Sadly, we are now left with no choice but to make an official complaint to the FIA, as we believe Bridgestone is in clear breach of its obligations under the FIA F1 2003 Sporting Regulations. After three-and-a-half months of trying to negotiate an agreement, I think the situation can best be summed up by the fact that, not once during this time, despite repeated attempts, have I been able either to arrange a meeting, or even to speak with the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa. I simply cannot believe that a company of Bridgestone's standing could treat any customer in this way."
"Unfortunately, because of Bridgestone's total lack of communication and cooperation over this matter, we have wasted two valuable days of pre-season testing here in Valencia -- something that, in the current climate, Minardi could ill afford to do."
Driver: Jos Verstappen (NL)
Chassis allocated: Minardi PS01-04
Laps completed: 48 (192km)
Fastest lap: 1 min 15.210 secs