FAENZA, ITALY, February 22, 2001 European Minardi F1 yesterday successfully ran its 2001 Formula One challenger for the first time at the Vairano circuit, near Milan. With recently signed drivers, Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques, both having a...
FAENZA, ITALY, February 22, 2001 European Minardi F1 yesterday successfully ran its 2001 Formula One challenger for the first time at the Vairano circuit, near Milan. With recently signed drivers, Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques, both having a chance to climb behind the wheel of the new car, the European Minardi PSOl completed 30 troublefree laps as engineers conducted systems checks as well as a basic aero-balance test. At the same time as the test was taking place, the team's second chassis was nearing completion at the team's Faenza headquarters.
It was a particularly satisfying day for all concerned, as European Minardi had been in a race against time to complete its cars in time to be airfreighted to Melbourne, Australia, for the first Grand Prix of the 2001 season. This followed a spell of commercial uncertainty for the Italian team, which was resolved just over a month ago, when European Aviation chief, Paul Stoddart, stepped in and acquired the Faenza squad. In the intervening weeks, he has secured a supply of engines, hired staff, pursued technical and commercial sponsors, signed race and test drivers, and personally overseen the team's preparations for the upcoming Grand Prix season.
"It has all been a bit of a blur," he admits, "but to see the car running for the first time was quite an emotional moment and definitely brought things into sharp focus. This simply wouldn't have happened without a massive collective effort from everyone on the team, both at Faenza and Ledbury, and I'm grateful to each and every one of them for the hard work and long hours they have put in over the last four weeh. It has been a huge mountain to climb to ensure we would be there next Friday, in Melbourne, for the start of practice, but we have made it.
"I would particularly like to single out the efforts of the Technical Department here in Faenza. They have done an almost unbelievable job to re-engineer the chassis so quickly to accept the European V10 power unit we will be using this year and still come up with a car that looh wonderful and ran without a hitch in its first test. It really is an incredible achievement."
If ever proof was needed, yesterday's test was tangible evidence that Formula One's most resilient team has bounced back off the ropes and is more than ready to join the 17-round World Championship title fight that gets under way in just over a week's time.
-Team European Minardi-