Minardi commence final test 21 Nov 2005
The Minardi team started the last test of their 21-year history on Monday, at the Autodromo Vallelunga, near Rome. The Faenza squad passed into Red Bull ownership at the beginning of November, but this testing commitment, organised prior to the sale of the team, has been honoured in order to allow a number of young drivers to have their first experience of Formula One performance.
In addition to three Minardi Cosworth PS05 chassis, plus a pair of PS04Bs, present at Vallelunga, there will be four of the Ledbury-based F1x2 two-seaters running this week, providing passenger rides to representatives from a number of Minardi sponsors, technical partners and suppliers. These will be driven by 2005 Minardi drivers Christijan Albers, Robert Doornbos and Patrick Friesacher, plus Gianni Morbidelli, Matteo Bobbi and Gabriele Lancieri.
The driver line-up for the main test includes Spaniard Roldan Rodriguez, Juan Caceres from Uruguay, and Britain's Katherine Legge, as well as two promising young Italian drivers, Luca Filippi and Davide Rigon, selected as part of a driver-search programme organised by the Italian autosport federation, the CSAI: In addition, official Minardi test driver, Chanoch Nissany, will complete his 2005 programme with the team in the course of the four-day event.
Monday's programme saw Nissany running throughout the day, with Rodriguez completing 20 laps in the morning, and Filippi a similar number in the afternoon.
"Monday was a wonderful day for me, as I was able to realise the dream to drive a Formula One car, which I have held since I was very young, commented Filippi. It was also a great honour to work with the Minardi team, which is famous for its ability to discover young drivers. The car itself just seemed to get better and better as the test went on, and I was quite confident with it at the end of the day.
"I particularly want to thank the CSAI, for starting this young driver scheme, which I think it a very good programme, and Minardi, for the assistance it has given to young Italian drivers over the last 21 years," he added.