After two trouble-free and extremely productive practice sessions on Thursday, the second day of preparations for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix went rapidly downhill for the Wilux Minardi Cosworth team. Gianmaria Bruni was the first casualty of...
After two trouble-free and extremely productive practice sessions on Thursday, the second day of preparations for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix went rapidly downhill for the Wilux Minardi Cosworth team. Gianmaria Bruni was the first casualty of the day, crashing into the unforgiving barriers at Mirabeau on his opening run of the morning. Team mate, Zsolt Baumgartner, followed four minutes later, at Rascasse.
The Minardi mechanics put in a magnificent effort to repair Baumgartner's car in time for him to participate in the last 15 minutes of the morning's final 45-minute practice session, but unfortunately, the damage to Bruni's car was sufficiently extensive that the young Roman was unable to take any further part in the sessions.
Sadly, on a track as demanding as Monaco, a lack of practice time is almost certain to impact negatively on qualifying performances, and so it is that Baumgartner and Bruni start tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix from 19th and 20th positions on the grid.
"It has not been a great day. I made a mistake this morning and lost quite a bit of running time. As a result, we were still struggling with car set-up this afternoon, and I lost time on my qualifying run when I locked the brakes up after the swimming pool. I could definitely have driven a better lap because I have set quicker times this weekend. The most important thing now, though, is to concentrate on getting the best we can out of the car in the race and to keep it on the track. There is the possibility of rain tomorrow, which could also affect things a lot."
"We had a problem this morning, and there was a lot of time lost in the garage while my car was repaired. As a result, we really just used the qualifying runs to check the car for tomorrow. I'm upset I couldn't have done better, but this is my first time in Monaco, I've done perhaps 50 laps in total here now, and it's difficult to find a good chassis balance. I have to thank the mechanics because they did a great job today and tried their hardest. We'll do our best tomorrow, and hopefully have a good race to make up for the disappointment of today."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Wilux Minardi Cosworth
"Sadly, the Minardi drivers didn't do themselves any favours today. Gimmi failed to complete his first flying lap of the day, hitting the barriers on cold brakes, and Zsolt followed a few laps later when he, too, came into contact with the all-inviting Monaco 'walls'. Although the team worked tirelessly, and succeeded in getting Zsolt out in the final minutes of the second session, the reality is the drivers had little or no track time before the all-important qualifying session. As such, their performances this afternoon simply reflect what has been an extremely bad day."
Chassis: PS04B/01 (No.21)
Best lap: 1 min 20.060 secs
Chassis: PS04B/02 (No.20)
Best lap: 1 min 20.115 secs