Minardi begins Vallelunga test

Poor weather conditions hampered the beginning of Minardi's three-day test programme at Vallelunga in Italy this week as it evaluates young drivers Jose-Maria Lopez and Fabrizio del Monte

Minardi begins Vallelunga test

In cold and wet conditions on Wednesday, the young duo drove Minardi PS03 chassis, concentrating on engine, tyre and aerodynamic development work.

"I must confess that it was very cold and we found it hard working in such difficult conditions - even more because I had never run on a damp track in the rain before," said Lopez, who tested for Renault recently at Barcelona. "All things considered, I think we did a good job. As the day went on, I became more confident, helped a lot by the engineers, who assisted me and helped me to improve the car."

Del Monte, who had never driven an F1 car before, said: "To me, this was a wonderful day. We were not helped by the weather, but towards the end of the day, as soon as the track had begun to dry, I could better feel the sense of braking with the carbon discs and realised how you feel when you drive a car with an 800-horsepower engine.

"I think that everything turned out well today, and I hope there is the opportunity to do some additional laps in the car before this test is over," he added.

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen is scheduled to drive for the Anglo-Italian squad today (Thursday).

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