Hopes were high and the surroundings of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway inspiring, but today's United States Grand Prix turned out to be disappointing for the KL Minardi Asiatech team. Mark Webber and Alex Yoong started the race strongly from...
Hopes were high and the surroundings of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway inspiring, but today's United States Grand Prix turned out to be disappointing for the KL Minardi Asiatech team. Mark Webber and Alex Yoong started the race strongly from 18th and 20th places on the grid respectively, and were soon turning competitive lap times, especially considering the relatively heavy fuel loads dictated by the one-stop strategies both drivers had adopted.
Unfortunately, Webber was forced to retire from the event just before his scheduled pit stop when a problem developed with the power steering system on his car. Yoong made a slick stop on the following lap, but an engine failure saw his car coast to a smoky halt six laps later. The outcome was ultimately disappointing, but the team takes heart from the competitive performance of both its cars in today's race and looks forward to the final Formula One race of the 2002 season, in Japan, in two weeks' time.
"I was happy with my performance today. The lap times were good, but it was also a bit frustrating because I knew from the beginning of the race that the engine wasn't as strong as it should be. It was particularly obvious down the straights, as I was losing out to Mark, even though I was running less downforce than him. It was a shame when the engine went, because we've normally had great reliability from the Asiatech units this year. Nevertheless, I'm happy to have driven well today and enjoyed the race."
"It was going really well for us. We had a good first few laps and were particularly strong in the infield section of the track, but there was just no opportunity to overtake. On the straight, the guys in front had slightly better top speed. Even so, we were having a strong race, but then a problem developed with the steering. It's a pity, but all we can do now is look forward to the final Grand Prix of the year, in Japan."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Despite a valiant effort by both drivers this afternoon, luck was not with the KL Minardi Asiatech team. The power steering system problem on Mark's car, while not posing a danger, nonetheless prevented him from finishing the race. This was followed by an engine failure on Alex's car while he was driving possibly the best race of his career. He was definitely on course for a strong finish. Anyway, it's on to Japan, where the team will look to improve on its fortunes."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
A disappointing end to the United States Grand Prix for Asiatech as neither car finished, Yoong retiring after an oil pump problem led to an engine blow-up.
Chassis: PS02/03 (No 22)
Position: DNF (lap 47)
Fastest lap: 1 min 15.347secs
Chassis: PS02/04 (No 23)
Position: DNF (lap 40)
Fastest lap: 1 min 15.367secs