European Minardi Cosworth enjoyed one of its most productive sessions so far this season as the first day of practice got under way for Sunday's Grand Prix of Spain. The cars of Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen were impressively reliable...
European Minardi Cosworth enjoyed one of its most productive sessions so far this season as the first day of practice got under way for Sunday's Grand Prix of Spain. The cars of Justin Wilson and Jos Verstappen were impressively reliable throughout the Friday morning test and practice sessions, the Englishman running for a total of 52 laps of the 4.730-km Circuit de Catalunya - over 80 per cent of the race distance - and his Dutch team mate completing 41 laps.
Both drivers worked through extensive technical programmes, which included software evaluation, handling and aero balance work, plus the normal tyre comparison runs, all of which should benefit the team in Sunday's race. Slightly disappointingly, though, neither Verstappen nor Wilson was able to match his best morning lap time in the "one-shot" afternoon qualifying runs. The team remains pleased with the technical progress made today, however, and is aiming for a better result tomorrow.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to produce the same sort of lap time in qualifying this afternoon as we did this morning, but as anyone who knows this circuit and its characteristics will tell you, it is at its fastest between 9:30 am and 11:00 am, and it is then very difficult to match those times in the heat of the afternoon, even on the same fuel load. I was quite pleased with my qualifying lap today - I was on the limit all the way, which is how it should be in qualifying."
"Things went well this morning and we made some good progress. The car felt great in qualifying, but the lap time was 0.9 seconds slower, so we're a bit confused. We'll check through the data and see where we lost the time. The track lost grip this afternoon for certain, but we still suffered more than we should have in performance terms. Overall, we're a bit disappointed, but hopefully, we can make progress on the basis of what we learned this morning. We'll see what tomorrow brings."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"This may only have been the first day of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix, but it has become clear in the course of the day that Minardi's lack of testing at a track where so many other F1 teams test extensively has cost us dearly. Both Justin and Jos drove faultlessly today, however, and got the best out of the equipment at their disposal. It's clear that we've got much work to do and we'll hope to make progress tomorrow."
Chassis: PS03/01 (No 19)
Best lap 1 min 20.822 secs
Chassis: PS03/03 (No 18)
Best lap 1 min 21.100 secs