Over the years, rapidly changing track conditions have often played a major part in the outcome of events run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and such was the story for European Minardi Cosworth in the second, and final, day of practice for ...
Over the years, rapidly changing track conditions have often played a major part in the outcome of events run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and such was the story for European Minardi Cosworth in the second, and final, day of practice for Sunday's United States Grand Prix. Much of the morning's opening practice session was lost as teams waited for track conditions to improve after dramatic overnight storms swept across Indiana.
Once the circuit had dried and become "rubbered in" again, however, times began to tumble and drivers Jos Verstappen and Nicolas Kiesa were able to focus on finalising race set-ups and preparing for the afternoon's final qualifying session. There was some consternation during the warm-up, however, when the combination of a gusting wind and altered track conditions saw both drivers reporting a notable change in the handling characteristics of their cars compared with the morning session.
Last-minute adjustments were made, but despite their best efforts, Verstappen and Kiesa could manage only 19th and 20th places respectively on the starting grid. The team's hope now is that Sunday's weather conditions will favour the chassis settings and pit-stop strategies chosen for the race.
"It felt like we had punctures on the qualifying lap, the way the car was sliding around. I just couldn't do anything with it. As soon as I really began to push, the rear just started sliding away. In the end, it was just about survival, keeping the car on the track and completing the lap. I'm obviously disappointed by how the car felt in qualifying today, and if it's like this for the race, we will have a problem. Hopefully, though, we will find something overnight to improve the situation."
"The track conditions definitely changed between this morning's practice sessions and this afternoon's qualifying run, which meant the car's handling altered noticeably. I was pushing hard and the rear of the car stepped out, losing me probably three tenths of a second, which I then carried with me for the rest of the lap. The remainder of the run wasn't too bad, and the car went well through the slower corners in the second sector. As is often the case, I think we have a better car for the race than for qualifying."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, European Minardi Cosworth:
"With the changing track conditions here today, going out first in qualifying was certainly a disadvantage, with both drivers struggling to find an acceptable chassis balance. Should the weather play a part in the race, however, starting from the back of the grid may not be so bad. We look forward to getting both European Minardi entries to the chequered flag in tomorrow's United States Grand Prix."
Time: 1 min 15.360 secs
Time: 1 min 15.644 secs