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Minardi put 'new' PS04 through its paces 17 Sep 2003

Nicolas Kiesa (DEN) Minardi Cosworth PS03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring, Hungary, 22 August 2003

Minardi were at Mugello on Tuesday to conduct the first comparison test between their current PS03 car and the Arrows A23 chassis that is likely to form the basis of the squad's 2004 challenger, the PS04.

The team acquired the 2002 Arrows car at auction earlier this year, but yesterday was the first chance for the team to properly evaluate it. Jos Verstappen and Nicolas Kiesa were behind the wheel and both men set lap times just 0.2s slower than in the current car.

"I think this was a good test," said Verstappen. "It would have been useful, however, if we could have spent a bit more time with the PS04 chassis in order to find a better set-up, as we started the day without really knowing anything about the car. We did some good work, though; the PS04 ran well and produced reasonably good lap times. I was also quite happy with the PS03 today on this track, which is very nice to drive on. To be honest, one day is really not enough time to carry out a thorough comparison, but it is a good start."

Kiesa was also impressed with the way the new car performed on its first outing for the team. "I wasn't able to do that many laps in the PS04, but when I did run on a new set of tyres, it was immediately obvious that the level of grip is absolutely amazing," he said. "In fact, I don't think I've ever felt as much grip in a race car in my life. Before I went out, I was aware of the time Jos set in the PS04, which was very good, but when I felt how much grip there was, I understood how he done the time."

Minardi will now take the data from the test back to the factory for analysis before deciding on the final direction for their 2004 machine. "Ultimately, there was nothing in the lap times between the two cars, but it is clear there is substantial development potential in the PS04," concluded Stoddart.