BARCELONA, SPAIN, April 28, 2002 - KL Minardi Asiatech today made the difficult decision to withdraw both its entries from the Grand Prix of Spain following the failure of a rear wing element on the car of Mark Webber during this morning's warm-up...
BARCELONA, SPAIN, April 28, 2002 - KL Minardi Asiatech today made the difficult decision to withdraw both its entries from the Grand Prix of Spain following the failure of a rear wing element on the car of Mark Webber during this morning's warm-up session.
An initial examination of the part in question suggests the problem stemmed from a manufacturing flaw unique to that component, but as neither sufficient time nor appropriate facilities were available at the circuit for the team to check all remaining wing elements, it was decided by Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, that drivers Alex Yoong and Mark Webber should not participate in this afternoon's race.
Today's development follows problems with the front wing assembly of Webber's car on Saturday. The reason for this breakage was unrelated to today's rear wing failure. All the front wing assemblies at Barcelona were flown back to the team's Faenza factory on Saturday evening to be checked and for new pylons to be manufactured. This work was carried out overnight and the parts returned in time for use in Sunday's 30-minute morning warm-up session.
The team's technical staff will test all relevant components extensively tomorrow to ensure that the events at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend are fully understood and any resulting issues addressed, well in time for the Austrian Grand Prix, in two weeks' time.
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"One of the toughest decisions a team owner can be called upon to make is to withdraw his team from a race. Following the problem with the rear wing on Mark Webber's car in this morning's warm-up session, regrettably, I have taken the decision to withdraw both KL Minardi Asiatech entries from today's Spanish Grand Prix."
"We have examined the component that failed on Mark's car, which was a newly fabricated part but to the same design and specification as we have used all season, and the initial conclusion is that a manufacturing fault specific to that piece was responsible for the problem. If this had happened yesterday, then we would have had time to get the parts back to the factory to have them stress-tested and could have raced today. Unfortunately, there is simply not the time available to us on race day to do that, so we have taken the only decision possible under the circumstances, which is to withdraw from the event."
"It's worth noting that we are not the only team to have suffered such problems this weekend, as we saw during today's race. It is clear that the Circuit de Catalunya, while a great track, is also extremely hard on wings and associated components."
"For KL Minardi Asiatech, this was a difficult call, but where safety is concerned, there can be no argument. I really feel for Mark, Alex and the whole team, both here at the circuit and back at the factory, as well as for our partners, Asiatech, Go KL and Magnum, plus our other sponsors. Everyone has worked so hard, and to have to miss a Grand Prix is just hugely disappointing. As ever, though, we will now put this event behind us, learn any lessons that need to be learned, and concentrate our energies on preparing for the next race, in Austria."