Wilux Minardi Cosworth today launched into its preparations for Formula One's most glamorous event of the season -- the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix -- in very positive fashion. By the end of the second of the two official practice sessions, race...
Wilux Minardi Cosworth today launched into its preparations for Formula One's most glamorous event of the season -- the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix -- in very positive fashion. By the end of the second of the two official practice sessions, race drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner had set the 21st and 22nd fastest laps, with test and reserve driver, Bas Leinders, in 23rd spot.
The team spent the opening day of the race weekend fine-tuning the handling of its Minardi PS04B chassis to deal with this uniquely demanding street circuit in the world's most famous Principality. The team made good technical progress, the only slight problem arising late in the first session, when Baumgartner's car made contact with the barriers at Turn 5. Fortunately, damage was limited primarily to the right rear wheel and tyre and the young Hungarian driver was soon back on track again. Preparations for the 62nd running of the Monaco Grand Prix continue on Saturday.
"It was generally a good day for us and we improved steadily, which is what I wanted to do, as this is my first time here in a race car. It's a funny circuit, with the speed you do through the tunnel and the closeness of the walls and the barriers. I'm very happy with the work the mechanics and the engineers did today. I wasn't able to get a clear lap on my last run, which should have been my fastest, so I wasn't quite able to realise the full potential of the car, but we still did some solid work, which we can build on tomorrow."
"I was pleased to get into a good rhythm pretty much straightaway. I have driven here in F3000, but this place is very different in an F1 car -- the speed is just so much higher and the track is very narrow. I made a small mistake in the first session and touched the barrier with the right rear wheel of the car. Fortunately, there wasn't too much damage, and although we lost some time in the garage while repairs were made, by the end of the second session we had made up the time and finished everything we had planned. I didn't set the best time I could have today because it's difficult to get a clear lap around here with all the traffic, but that's just the way Monaco is."
"Monaco is always a tricky place because the guardrail is very close, but happily, we had another day without any major problems testing a few things the team wanted to have a look at this weekend. We tried something a little different in the set-up this afternoon, and, as the time indicates, it didn't work here at Monaco. The data we gathered, however, will be of use later in the season. Special thanks should go to the guys for all their efforts today. The improvements that have been made here in the Monaco circuit are excellent, but it's still a difficult place to work."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Wilux Minardi Cosworth:
"All three Minardi drivers put in a solid performance today, working through their full technical programme in preparation for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix. To have finished up less than a second from Nick Heidfeld's Jordan is about as good as we can expect at the moment. All in all, it was a solid day's work by the whole team."
Best time: 1:18.822
Number of laps: 24
Best time: 1:18.829
Number of laps: 19
Bas Leinders, test driver
Best time: 1:20.370
Number of laps: 25