Kiesa completes super-licence distance 28 Jul 2003
Minardi's new signing, Nicolas Kiesa, had his first taste of Formula One power on Friday, when he completed a total of 310 km at Ferrari's Fiorano test track. The aim of the test was to allow the 25-year-old Danish driver to familiarise himself with the PS03 and its systems, while completing the necessary distance to qualify for his FIA Super-licence, which he will need for his Formula One debut at this weekend's German Grand Prix.
Due to the unusual circumstances Minardi was given the blessing of the other teams to go ahead with the Fiorano run, despite the summer testing ban being in place. For Kiesa, who this season has been competing in the FIA Formula 3000 championship, it provided invaluable Formula One experience ahead of his forthcoming Hockenheim outing.
"The first impression I had was on the installation lap, when I could feel that the car was very powerful," he said. "I hardly touched the throttle, and the performance was amazing. The biggest surprise today was undoubtedly the brakes, which were incredibly strong in their response. Once you get to know how to use them, though, they're reasonably easy to work with. The speed you can carry in the corners is also very impressive compared with an F3000 car.
"In all honesty, I was quite surprised that I was physically able to do the full 300 km today without any problems. After the first 200 km this morning, I had a slightly sore neck, but having finished the full distance, I now feel much better than this morning and could easily go on driving. It has been a really great experience, and I can't wait for Hockenheim next weekend."
Minardi also used the test to allow newly signed test and reserve driver, Gianmaria Bruni, to carry out a brief shake-down run in the PS03. Bruni will take part in the two-hour test session on Friday morning at Hockenheim, along with Kiesa and Jos Verstappen.
"It has been really exciting, like using an amazing PlayStation!" said Bruni after his 30km run. "I could do only a few shakedown laps today, but I really enjoyed driving the car and managed to get a good feeling for it very quickly. The guys were all very helpful and took any pressure away from what was my first experience of F1. I can't wait to get in the car again next week."
Kiesa was signed last week when it was announced that Justin Wilson would be taking Antonio Pizzonia's seat at Jaguar for the remainder of the 2003 season.