MONACO, MONTE CARLO, May 27, 2001 -- The race statistics for the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix will simply show that the European Minardi F1 entries of Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques retired at approximately three-quarters' distance, the former with...
MONACO, MONTE CARLO, May 27, 2001 -- The race statistics for the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix will simply show that the European Minardi F1 entries of Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques retired at approximately three-quarters' distance, the former with gearbox maladies and the latter with a driveshaft problem. What they will not reveal was a wonderfully assured drive by the Spanish teenager on his debut at one of the most demanding circuits on the Grand Prix calendar. His pace was such that he climbed as high as ninth, while Marques' efforts took him to eleventh place immediately prior to his retirement. The team will test at Monza this week in a bid to solve the mechanical problems that have affected its performances in the last two races.
"The car felt pretty good, but after the first 20 laps I could not select first gear any more, so I was forced to use second gear instead. Clearly, from that moment on, my race became increasingly difficult. Under such conditions, all I could do was keep going and hope for the best, but in the end, the gearbox failed. Clearly, we must work on our reliability in order to improve our finishing record."
"I think I made a good start, as I gained two positions on the first lap, but after awhile, some intermittent problems began to arise. At first, they seemed to be electronics-related, but then gear selection began to be affected, and then the traction control. Finally, in the closing stages of the race, a driveshaft may have broken, because I lost drive almost completely."
"The bottom line is that it has been a very disappointing day for European Minardi F1 with both cars failing to finish. Fernando drove a strong race, rising as high as ninth, but sadly, a gearbox problem put paid to his chances of a top-10 finish. Tarso also went well, but failed to reach the finish when a drivetrain problem forced him to retire." - Ends -