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Poor weather hits Minardi test 19 Jan 2005

Cristijan Albers (NDL) tests the Minardi Formula One Testing, Minardi evaluate new drivers. 22-25 November 2004, Misano, Italy. World © Moy/Sutton

Foggy conditions accompanied by occasional snow flurries greeted Minardi team as they arrived at the Autodromo Santamonica on Tuesday for the start of a scheduled three-day test.

As a result, there was little opportunity for the team to get in any meaningful running during the morning, but with conditions improving in the afternoon, drivers Christijan Albers and Nicky Pastorelli remained hopeful of completing their respective programmes.

Albers, who will race for the team in 2005, was first out, at the wheel of a Minardi Cosworth PS04B chassis. He completed a total of 57 laps before a hydraulic problem with the car brought his session to a premature conclusion.

"The big change for me at this test compared with my last time here at Misano, in November, is that now I know I am going to be a Minardi race driver in 2005, and it feels great,” said Albers. “I also know the team a lot better, as I have been spending a lot of time in Faenza training and preparing myself physically and mentally for the season ahead.

“Today we did some useful work and we have discovered a little bit more about the car. We struggled a little with the initial set-up, but the track and weather conditions were not great. I'm confident we'll make good progress as the test goes on. As usual, the team has done a great job today and the guys have put in maximum effort."

With light fading rapidly, Minardi technical staff were unable to complete the necessary repairs on the car in the time available, and the team therefore decided to postpone Pastorelli's test until Wednesday, when Israeli driver, Chanoch Nissany, will also be at the circuit.

Summing up the team’s first day, Minardi’s sporting director and team manager Massimo Rivola commented: "We lost time this morning because of the adverse weather conditions, but even so, once Christijan took to the track, he quickly demonstrated his speed and consistency. It's also clear the training he has been doing since the last test, in November, is paying off and we are very pleased with his physical condition.

“Unfortunately, a hydraulic problem with the car this afternoon meant we were not able to cover the scheduled distance, but all being well, Christijan should easily complete the remaining kilometres required to qualify for his Super licence tomorrow. Regrettably, we didn't have the opportunity to run Nicky this afternoon as planned, but he will be the first driver in the car in the morning.”

Minardi will have their 2005 launch ceremony in Melbourne on the Thursday prior to the Australian Grand Prix. However, their new car will not make its race debut until later in the season.