British F1 rookie Justin Wilson heads to Silverstone this weekend for his debut 'home' Grand Prix. Having finished the previous two races leading up to the British Grand Prix, the 24-year-old Northampton-based racer is looking for his first ...
British F1 rookie Justin Wilson heads to Silverstone this weekend for his debut 'home' Grand Prix. Having finished the previous two races leading up to the British Grand Prix, the 24-year-old Northampton-based racer is looking for his first hat-trick of race distances in his Minardi PS03, cheered on this time by home support.
"It'll be tough for us, we haven't tested at Silverstone, and it's also a high down force circuit and that's not a Minardi strong point! Nevertheless, Silverstone is a superb drivers' circuit, especially the tricky but mega-quick Becketts complex, it's really exhilarating, both for drivers and spectators!"
"The main thing for me on the track is to attack the race as I would any other Grand Prix. It's going to be pretty manic for me both on and off circuit, it'll be an exciting experience however and one I'm sure I'll remember for a long time!"
Justin's previous two races at Silverstone, in the F1 supporting International F3000 Championship, netted two podiums, third in 2000 and second place in 2001, his championship winning season. Wilson's success that year, breaking the records for points and podiums in a single season, ultimately led to his first taste of F1 courtesy of a test with Jordan before being signed to Minardi in December 2002.
Justin's performances this year, characterised by blistering starts, often catapulting his Cosworth-powered Minardi up the order to trouble the top ten, have not gone unnoticed. A recent half-term report in a leading F1 magazine, placed Justin 12th overall out of the 20 drivers competing this season, with the points-awarding jury comprising a mix of leading F1 figures and members of the media. Placed higher than his three fellow rookies, as well as Grand Prix victors Jacques Villeneuve, Olivier Panis and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Wilson's form for Minardi has clearly impressed the sports insiders.
Reflecting on his maiden F1 season Justin commented: "I'm quite pleased with how it's gone so far. I've enjoyed some good races and my aim throughout has been to be as quick as I can at every opportunity. I believe my speed has been consistent and more importantly I haven't made any major mistakes. I think I've done a reasonable job, especially when you consider the limited mileage I've had in the Minardi."
"Each race weekend is crucial in offering me the opportunity to learn more about the car and gain more experience in Formula One. I'm happy in going my own way with the car set-up, working with my engineers to ensure the PS03 is configured to suit my style. Fortunately having a team-mate like Jos Verstappen allows me the opportunity to compare set-ups if required. Jos is very consistent and ultra quick in the new one-lap qualifying format."
"Our aim at the start of the season was to see if we could collect a couple of points, aided by the new points scoring system. It's been tough and as the season progresses every team works harder, Minardi included, to improve reliability. The French Grand Prix saw just four retirements from the twenty starters! We'll keep pushing hard and hopefully an opportunity will present itself before the season ends."
With increased media attention in the build up to Sunday's 60-lap British Grand Prix, Justin's first official duty is to attend Thursday afternoon's FIA Press Conference along with fellow Brits David Coulthard and Jenson Button as well as European and French Grand Prix winner Ralf Schumacher.