Italian GP: Minardi Friday notes

KL Minardi Asiatech enjoyed a positive opening day to the final Grand Prix weekend of the European Formula One season. Drivers Mark Webber and Alex Yoong - returning to the cockpit after a two-race break - were quickly on the pace around ...

Italian GP: Minardi Friday notes

KL Minardi Asiatech enjoyed a positive opening day to the final Grand Prix weekend of the European Formula One season. Drivers Mark Webber and Alex Yoong - returning to the cockpit after a two-race break - were quickly on the pace around the high-speed Monza circuit, near Milan, despite the track surface initially being damp following heavy overnight rain.

Both men worked through a normal Friday programme, concentrating particularly on race set-up work and tyre evaluation. Yoong's day came to a premature conclusion when his car spun on the exit from the Ascari Curve during the afternoon session. Promisingly, Webber ended the first day at Monza with a lap time quicker than the best time set by a Minardi in qualifying last year.

MARK WEBBER

"It was a good thing coming to the test here last week, but as a result of that test, we also had some preconceptions about the car was going to behave, and it didn't quite work out that way today. We had some problems balancing the chassis in the first session, but then made progress. Tomorrow, we can work on the car with a lot less fuel on board, and maybe we can get away with running a little more wing as well, because I think we were a bit light today. All told, though, it wasn't too bad a day, and we'll work on further improvements tomorrow."

ALEX YOONG

"It has been a good day. I felt comfortable in the car and it was good to be out there again. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be quick tomorrow. We made a change to the car this afternoon, which made it very nervous, and I had a spin as a result. I couldn't get the car going again, so had to sit out the remainder of the second session. Other than that, things went well."

PAUL STODDART, Team Principal

"Both KL Minardi Asiatech drivers have enjoyed a good opening day to the Italian Grand Prix weekend, recording significantly faster laps than the best times set by the team in last year's Friday session. Impressively, Alex's quickest time today also represented an improvement of over a second compared with his qualifying time at Monza in 2001. It suggests that the break he took from F1, followed by the test here last week, have been beneficial for him. It has been a useful day, and we'll aim to make further progress tomorrow."

THE ASIATECH VIEW

Following on from their successful test here last week, the Asiatech engines maintained their excellent reliability in today's practice sessions.


MARK WEBBER
Position: 19th
Fastest lap: 1 min 26.162secs
Chassis: PS02/04 (No 23)


ALEX YOONG
Position: 20th
Fastest lap: 1 min 26.365secs
Chassis: PS02/03 (No 22)

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