Stoddart: PS05 Won't Last Race Distance

Paul Stoddart has admitted that he will be ecstatic if either of the new Minardi PS05 cars makes it to the end of Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix, after branding this weekend a testing session for the team's new car

Stoddart: PS05 Won't Last Race Distance

Both new Minardi cars, which replace the old 2004 model this weekend, have still propped up the bottom of the timesheets in practice despite claims that they will allow the team to overhaul fellow backmarkers Jordan.

But Stoddart believes the full potential of the new Minardi will not be seen for several more races and said: "If we get a race finish, I don't care where it finishes, I will be over the moon.

"I expect to lose both cars fairly early in the race because they haven't been tested. I won't be disappointed, and neither will the team, if that is what happens.

"If you have a completely new car you have to learn it, and the engineers are learning. So if one of them finishes the race I will be ecstatic, because a car that hasn't been testing ought not to be that good.

"One car had only done 39 laps before it got here and the other car had never ever run, we didn't finish it until five o'clock on Friday morning. But there is some real encouragement in that car.

"It won't translate into times here because we are learning the car still, but in certain areas, in particular the engine, new gearbox, there are so many parts of the car that show promise.

"I am convinced that if not before by the time we get to Canada and the USA we will have learned the car well enough by then to be achieving what the car's potential is, and we think it is capable of beating Jordan."

Minardi will run a test in Italy next week to continue development on the car but Stoddart admitted that due to budget constraints they will have to treat the upcoming races as tests to move forward.

He added: "When we get to Barcelona the Friday we will write off as a test day but Saturday in Barcelona we should be somewhere and the race is reliability focussed.

"Then Monaco is a lottery, Nurburgring could be good, but by the time we get to the double fly-away we will expect to have caught up. We needed to find a full two seconds to match Jordan and that is massive, but I think we will get it.

"You won't see it for a few more races because we are testing two days next week but it is going to take us a while to get on top of the car. It is the very opposite of carrying a car over."

Minardi have not had a completely new car since 2002 so Stoddart is convinced the new machine will represent a significant step up from the long-aged car they were running at the start of the year.

"The 2001 and 2002 cars were brand new, everything, the 2003 car, the tub went back into a jig and was cut to half a chassis and re-built to take the new engine," said Stoddart.

"The rest of the car was some same, some new, different front suspension and so on. The 2004 car was a carry-over car, there was not a lot of difference in 2004, but this is a completely new car we have this year."

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