FAENZA, ITALY, January 11, 2002 - The Minardi Formula One team will commence its pre-season testing programme on Tuesday, January 15, in Valencia. The Faenza-based squad had originally intended to begin work at the Circuit de Catalunya, near ...
FAENZA, ITALY, January 11, 2002 - The Minardi Formula One team will commence its pre-season testing programme on Tuesday, January 15, in Valencia. The Faenza-based squad had originally intended to begin work at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona, this week, but a highly successful rig-test programme, conducted over the last two months and designed to corroborate the reliability of Minardi's latest titanium gearbox, yielded excellent results and rendered the opening test in January unnecessary.
The four-day Valencia programme will involve three PS01B chassis (final 2001 specification) which, at various times, will be fitted with components destined for the team's latest challenger, the Asiatech-powered Minardi PS02. The new car is likely to make its first public appearance in early February.
Alex Yoong, who competed for the team in the final three races of the 2001 Formula One season and has already been confirmed at Minardi this year, will be joined by several other drivers during the course of the test, including Mark Webber, Christijan Albers, Matteo Bobbi and Antonio Garcia.
"The excellent performance and reliability we enjoyed at the Japanese Grand Prix, plus the opportunity to do ample static durability testing during the closed season, means we have already accomplished what we were aiming to do during the first test, in Barcelona," explains Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. "We are now putting maximum effort into preparing the new car, which should be ready to run in early February."
Stoddart does sound a word of caution, though, concerning Minardi's driver line-up for pre-season testing: "We have a very full technical programme planned for the next six weeks and, in addition to Alex Yoong, we will use a number of drivers to assist us with this work," he says. "During the process, we will obviously look at how each of them gets on, but this should not be construed as a 'shoot-out' for the second Minardi seat, as has been suggested in some quarters. Nor should any conclusions be drawn from the presence, or absence, of any particular individual, in terms of providing an indication of the team's final choice of driver for 2002."