San Marino GP Minardi qualifying report

Weather Cold, Alonso Hot IMOLA, ITALY, April 14, 2001 -- In unseasonably cold weather that held out the threat of rain for much of the time, European Minardi F1 driver, Fernando Alonso put in yet another highly competitive performance to ...

Weather Cold, Alonso Hot

IMOLA, ITALY, April 14, 2001 -- In unseasonably cold weather that held out the threat of rain for much of the time, European Minardi F1 driver, Fernando Alonso put in yet another highly competitive performance to qualify in 18th place for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix, the first European round of the 2001 Formula One World Championship. The Spanish teenager improved with each of his four timed runs, his fastest lap, of 1 min 28.281 secs, putting him within tantalising reach of some of the stronger, middle-order squads. Team mate, Tarso Marques, was not quite so fortunate, as he struggled to find an effective chassis balance and then suffered a slow puncture to a front tyre that prevented him from improving his time on his final run.

FERNANDO ALONSO Position 18th Fastest lap 1 min 26.855 sec
"I definitely feel satisfied and pretty happy with today's outcome. This morning's free practice sessions, which took place on a wet track, did not allow us to work properly on the car's settings. Therefore, for the qualifying session, we went for the chassis settings we had arrived at back at the factory, which are not always the right ones. Happily, though, my car was good and behaved well throughout qualifying. I pushed hard over the last runs, driving to the limit, and I believe that to be ahead of both Benettons and one Prost is an encouraging result for the team, which bodes well for the development of our chassis."

TARSO MARQUES Position 22nd Fastest lap 1 min 28.281 sec
"My car did not have a good balance and I experienced quite a few problems in trying to find the right set-up. Unfortunately, we had chosen to use only three sets of tyres for two runs, which turned out to be the wrong strategy, and on my last attempt, when the track conditions had definitely improved and I should have been able to go for my fastest lap, the front tyre lost a lot of pressure. As a result, I was not able to improve my time."

PAUL STODDART, Team Principal, European Minardi F1
"In an interesting qualifying session that saw all teams take to the track in the opening minutes for fear the heavens were going to open, we were delighted that European Minardi F1 once again proved that it is competitive at the highest level of motorsport. Fernando's 18th place in itself gave reason for satisfaction, but considering that his time was only three seconds off that set by the driver of another well-known Italian team, we couldn't be more pleased. More importantly, though, his performance was better than both Benettons and one of the Prosts, and not that far adrift of the Arrows and Jaguars. It was a shame Tarso had a moment on his last run, resulting in a slow puncture of his car's left front tyre. If not for that, we were confident of qualifying both cars well clear of the back of the grid. Now we'll see what the team can do in the race." <pre> Chassis allocation PS01/04 --Tarso Marques (No 20) PS01/03 -- Fernando Alonso (No 21) PS01/01 -- Spare

- European Minardi

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Tarso Marques
Teams Benetton , Minardi