Verstappen christens new Minardi

The Minardi team has revealed its new PS03 chassis and ran it for the first time at Ferrari's test track at Fiorano in Italy today (Wednesday)

Verstappen christens new Minardi

Jos Verstappen was given the honour of driving the car first but suffered a software problem on his first three attempts to complete a lap. Once the glitch had been solved the Dutchman completed 24 trouble-free laps and pronounced himself happy with the feel of the new car.

The PS03 was fitted with last year's Jaguar Cosworth CR-3 motor despite suggestions that the team has yet to fulfill its payments to Ford for a supply of engines for the season. The car also ran on Bridgestone tyres as part of a new agreement with the Japanese firm.

"The initial shakedown runs with a new car are always a bit nerve-wracking, but today's first test of the PS03 was very successful and bodes well for the upcoming season," said team owner Paul Stoddart. "Judging by the comments made by Jos, the 2003 Minardi represents a significant step forward in terms of handling and performance.

"He was also very positive about the power and driveability of the Cosworth engine. The combination should help the team achieve its goal for this season of becoming established as a regular, mid-grid contender in the Formula 1 World Championship."

British rookie Justin Wilson was scheduled to drive the car during the afternoon but was forced to wait because of the technical problems the team experienced in the morning. He will now get his first taste of a pukka 2003-spec grand prix car tomorrow.

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