For only the second time this season, the Minardi F1 Team ran a third car in the first two official practice sessions of a Grand Prix weekend, Enrico Toccacelo today making his debut as the Faenza squad's test and reserve driver. As expected,...
For only the second time this season, the Minardi F1 Team ran a third car in the first two official practice sessions of a Grand Prix weekend, Enrico Toccacelo today making his debut as the Faenza squad's test and reserve driver.
As expected, the young Roman was soon up to speed, which was no small achievement considering the challenging nature of Istanbul's Kurtkoy International Circuit, scene of Sunday's inaugural Grand Prix of Turkey.
Regular drivers Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos also spent much of the day's allocated track time acclimatising to the demands of the undulating, 5.340-km circuit. By end of the day, the team had made good progress, despite Doornbos losing the final run of the morning, and part of the afternoon session, while a gearbox problem was rectified.
"It's great to be in Turkey, and at an amazing circuit. To drive it is very exciting, as there are corners where you can really make a difference as a driver, and you feel the adrenalin pumping as a result."
"Initially, it went really well this morning, as I started with a four-lap run and set a reasonable time. Unfortunately, a problem then developed with the pressure in the gearbox, which was a bit of a shame, as it meant I wasn't able to do any more running in that session."
"The guys did an amazing job to get the car ready for me to go and play again in the second session, however, so many thanks to them for all their efforts. I then pushed hard because I wanted to try and set a good time just in case it rained. In the end, I was quite happy with my time, so we're looking good for tomorrow, and we'll hope any misfortune is now out of the way."
"I think this morning we had a good first practice session. The speed was immediately there, so I was happy with that. The second session was also quite good, but then we fitted new tyres and I just couldn't get the most out of them, the result of traffic and a few mistakes. We definitely learned from today, however, and we'll now use the information gained to plan our strategy for Saturday."
"I'm really happy because it is my first time in Formula One, my first time in this car, and like all the other drivers, my first time at this circuit. I think we did a good job with the car today, and I'm particularly pleased to have established a good relationship with the team and the guys already."
"I'm also confident for the upcoming events, as we're going to Monza and then Spa, which are tracks I know well, and this will make it easier for me. I also hope to get to the factory before Monza in order to have a new seat made, as I'm quite tall and haven't found the ideal position in the car yet."
"I'd like to thank Paul Stoddart, for this opportunity, and also to my sponsors, for their ongoing support. I have confidence for the future, and really hope to be able to help the team and the other two drivers in the coming races."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"First of all, let me congratulate everyone involved in the design and construction of the Istanbul circuit. Without doubt, it demonstrates clearly the standard that can be achieved in terms of modern F1 track design, and the Turkish public should feel very proud of what has been achieved with this amazing facility."
"As for Minardi, the first day of practice was not without issues, the main one being a gearbox pressure problem that put paid to Robert's opening session after the second run, and delayed the start of his second session."
"Despite this, however, both drivers completed their technical programmes, and together with our new Friday tester, Enrico Toccacelo, all three should feel proud of their efforts today. We proved once again that we are competitive against our nearest rivals, Jordan."
Best lap: 1 min 30.628 secs
Best lap: 1 min 30.730 secs
Best lap: 1 min 32.813 secs