This afternoon's first qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix resulted in the 17th and 18th fastest times respectively for Minardi F1 Team drivers, Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher. Indicating that the team is making progress with...
This afternoon's first qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix resulted in the 17th and 18th fastest times respectively for Minardi F1 Team drivers, Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher.
Indicating that the team is making progress with the development of the new Minardi Cosworth PS05, Albers' time was only half-a-second off the pace of his nearest rival and less than four seconds behind that of leading Bridgestone team, Ferrari.
Unfortunately, Friesacher struggled with a chassis imbalance during his qualifying run and was therefore not able to replicate his Saturday morning performance. The team used the third and fourth free practice sessions to continue to fine-tune the handling of the PS05 around the 4.627-km Circuit de Catalunya and to prepare for the afternoon's first qualifying session.
Despite Albers losing his last run of the opening session after his car spun into a gravel trap, the drivers continued to make progress. This was reflected in their on-track performances, both men recording useful improvements when compared with their Friday times.
"It was a reasonable qualifying lap, even though we had some understeer. It is also a satisfying result, as we had some bad luck yesterday and this morning. Everyone is working really hard, and we are definitely going in the right direction -- I think we will have a good car for the race."
"I'm not so happy with qualifying, as I was more than a second quicker in free practice this morning. I had more understeer for this afternoon's run and there just wasn't enough grip, so I couldn't really push the car hard in the way I would have liked. We'll have to see if we can improve tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"Christijan and Patrick may have qualified P17 and P18 in this afternoon's session, but the team takes encouragement from a number of factors. As usual, both drivers have been pushing hard, and Christijan's performance this afternoon saw him just four-tenths of a second off the time set by Monteiro's Jordan."
"We also continue to be highly impressed by the new car's straight-line speed in practice and qualifying, which is thanks to the excellent performance of the Cosworth TJ2005 engine. In fairness, this also indicates we are in the early stages of the PS05's aero development. There is no doubt, however, that the team's engineers and technicians are getting to grips with the new car."
"In addition, we have been able to try some new components this weekend, with promising initial results, and that process will continue during upcoming races. All told, we are satisfied with the progress made so far, and will aim to keep the momentum going tomorrow for final qualifying and the race."
Best lap: 1 min 19.563 secs
Best lap: 1 min 20.306 secs