Formula1: MF1 Midland Racing - France GP race report

Formula1: MF1 Midland Racing - France GP race report

16.07.2006: Formula1: MF1 Midland Racing - France GP race report

2006 French Grand Prix - Race Report

Christijan Albers delivered his and MF1 Racing's most competitive performance of the season at the French Grand Prix today. Despite encountering transmission problems on his first pit stop, Albers maintained strong pace to bring home his M16 in 15th position.

Tiago Monteiro was not as fortunate. The Portuguese driver was forced to retire 11 laps into the race with undetermined mechanical issues. It was only the first time in his F1 career that Monteiro failed to finish in consecutive races.

The team now heads to Jerez, Spain, for three days of testing between July 19-21 before returning to competition in two weeks' time at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix.

Tiago Monteiro (POR), Car #18 (Chassis: M16-03)
Starting Position: 20th
Classification: DNF, 11 laps completed (+59 laps)
Fastest Lap: 1:21.663 at 14:14:14, 21st overall (+4.552 from fastest lap of the race)

Quote: "It's been a tough, tough weekend, to say the least. I've been fighting to find the right set-up for my car, and although we tried everything, it was one of those weekends where we just couldn't get the balance right. My engineers know me very well and we usually find solutions for these problems, but for some reason, we just couldn't sort it out this time. I guess that's racing, and sometimes it goes that way. Unfortunately, I got squeezed at the start of the race and got overtaken by two cars, so I was stuck behind Montagny for a few laps. I was fighting to overtake him, and then, suddenly, something happened at the rear of the car. I have no idea what it was, but the car snapped around completely at the entry to the first high-speed chicane and I went flying over the kerb very violently. That was the end of it. I lost hydraulic pressure and the car died. Now we have a test in Jerez, and we'll have to work hard to tune the set-up and get ready for Hockenheim."





Christijan Albers (NED), Car #19 (Chassis: M16-02)

Starting Position: 15th
Classification: 15th, 68 laps completed (+2 laps)
Fastest Lap: 1:19.356 at 15:33:58, 18th overall (+2.245 from fastest lap of the race)

Quote: "We had some problems after the first pit stop that prevented me from using the gearbox properly. I lost first gear and was having problems shifting into other gears, which made me lose a lot of performance. That was really unfortunate, because I think that until that point, our performance was quite good. I think that had this problem not occurred, I might have been able to overtake Rosberg, because I had the speed. Still, even with this problem, I wasn't losing too much ground. So we have to look into it to make sure it doesn't happen again."

 

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Unfortunately, Tiago had a problem with his car that prevented him from finishing, which is a shame, because both our cars had strong pace all weekend. Christijan drove a good race and even though he had a gearbox problem, he was still only 4.48 seconds behind Rosberg at the finish. The rest of our rivals were not too far ahead, either. We are making progress, but we have to keep pushing to gain positions."

James Key, Technical Director: "It wasn't a bad afternoon in terms of lap times, etc., but not good for our final result, really. Christijan was racing with a competitive pack of cars - I think there were seven cars all challenging for 12th place, at one point - but sadly, we had an issue during our pit stop that lost him a fair amount of time and dropped him behind that group. But he did a good job to catch up to them toward the end and run competitively for the duration, even with the problems he had.

That's somewhat satisfying, but as I said yesterday, we need to stay with them to be in a position to race. Tiago had a problem during the race that led to his retirement, which we're investigating now. Hopefully, we'll figure out what the problem is and be in good shape heading into our test in Jerez where we'll have a lot of test items in the programme. We can take heart from the performance we've shown this weekend, but we need to improve our track position, which is our main problem right now."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "Considering the circumstances, we did a pretty good job this weekend. We had genuine race pace, which I think could have ended up being better had we not run into the problems that cropped up. The final result isn't really an indication of where we are, because in terms of performance, it was one of our best efforts of the season. I think it's another step forward, one that we can take that into the next round in Hockenheim and hopefully build on."


- Ron FINE -
photos copyright MF1 Midland Racing
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16.07.2006 / MaP

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