Wednesday, 06 July 2016 09:00

France 2003: the big day of Minardi and Jos Verstappen

Written by

Translated by Giannis Binas


What if Minardi’s budget was always limited and the potential for distinctions delimited in advance?

She was always finding a way to have a dignified presence at the grid, functioning beneficially for Formula 1: she showcased excellent drivers and mechanincs, with the characterization as “the big school of Faenza” attributing the great contribution of the Italian team the best way possible.

In the French GP of 2003, the weather took care of rewarding to say the least, all those years of effort, giving the team its most beautiful moment.
That year, the qualifying system was as follows:

-On Friday, the drivers were appearing on track for just one lap, depending on their position in the standings before the race (the leader of the points was appearing first and so on).
-The time they were achieving on Friday was conversely shaping the turn in which they were going to appear on Saturday to record the time that would give them their place at the starting grid (in other words, the driver that had the fastest time on Friday was the last one to appear on Saturday).

From the first moment the application of that system was announced, there were rightful observations about the catalytic role of the starting grid in variable weather conditions, with diverging opinions.
Others took it as an excessively binding parameter (as until the previous year, drivers could perform 12 laps in one hour time, any time they wanted) and others viewed it as a chance of a sporadic rearrangement of the grid.


Verstappen 2003 2

In the first qualifying session of Friday at Magny-Cours, the rearrangement of powers due to the weather was a fact.

The session started with a wet track but as the time was passing, it was drying out.
As a result, the times were continuously dropping, with the drivers that were making their appearance last, having the edge over the previous ones.
It was plain obvious that since Jos Verstappen would appear on the track one from last and Justin Wilson last, it was a big opportunity and a unique moment for Minardi to “break” the first time of Jordan’s Ralph Firman and write history, which is exactly what happened:



1st, ''Jos the Boss'', 2nd, the tragically lost Wilson (even though his time was later cancelled because his car was found underweight).


''Everyone is ecstatic, it was fantastic.
I’ve never seen so many reporters before, it feels as if we won the race!''


Verstappen 2003 3


Delirious celebrations at Minardi’s garage for a success that everyone enjoyed, spectators and viewers – unsung heroes deserve “vindication” too.

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