European Minardi Cosworth today launched into a busy programme as it began its preparations for this Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. The team chose its "home" race - the Minardi factory in Faenza is only 20 minutes by road from Imola's famous ...
European Minardi Cosworth today launched into a busy programme as it began its preparations for this Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. The team chose its "home" race - the Minardi factory in Faenza is only 20 minutes by road from Imola's famous Circuit Enzo e Dino Ferrari - to run a third car for the first time in the two-hour Friday morning test session.
The driver on this occasion was Minardi's official tester, Matteo Bobbi, whose planned programme included acclimatisation to the PS03 chassis and evaluation of new engine and gearbox software. Sadly, he lost valuable running time while an engine sensor problem was rectified, although a fastest lap of 1 min 29.433 secs, recorded in the course of only 10 timed laps, clearly demonstrated the young Milanese drivers's natural pace.
The team's race drivers, Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson, both used the Friday morning session to fine-tune the handling of their cars to the demands of the Imola circuit. Both men reported good progress was made, although Wilson did lose time in the practice session when his car stopped on the circuit. They went on to record the 19th and 20th fastest times of the qualifying session.
"We tried very hard and went quickly during the morning. I was pretty happy with the balance of the car - there was slight oversteer in the first sector, which then became less in sectors two and three. Once again, it's fair to say we got pretty much all we could out of the package today."
"I made a slight mistake in the middle of the first sector, which cost me some time. Other than that, I wasn't unhappy with what was my first attempt this weekend at a low-fuel, qualifying run. I didn't have a chance to simulate a qualifying run in this morning's practice session because of a mechanical problem that caused the car to stop on the circuit. All in all, it has been a reasonable day's effort."
Matteo Bobbi, Official Test Driver:
"We didn't have a particularly good day as an engine sensor problem prevented us from running our scheduled programme. Despite having only a limited number of laps this morning, though, I was happy that on the first run my lap time was not so far away from that of Jos. Unfortunately, we lost time in the pits while the mechanics attended to the car, and then when I went back for my final run with about three minutes of the session left, there was a problem with the gearbox. My first impression, though, was that the engine was very strong. Now I just need more time with the car, but I'm sure that will come."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth
"First of all, congratulations go today to Matteo Bobbi on his Grand Prix weekend testing debut. Unfortunately, his car suffered a sensor problem, which denied him the opportunity to demonstrate his true potential. Both Jos and Justin went on to complete their technical programmes today, and while only P19 and P20 at the end of the first qualifying session, we feel there is improvement to come tomorrow."
Chassis: (No 19) PS03/01
Best lap 1 min 24.990 secs
Chassis: (No 18) PS03/03
Best lap 1 min 25.195 secs