Wednesday April 25th, 2001
The Prost Grand Prix team will be hoping to be able to repeat their winter testing form at the Circuit de Catalunya at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
The French outfit and his veteran driver Jean Alesi completed some very promising performances at Barcelona at the beginning of the year, holding the track record until Rubens Barrichello lowered it with the Ferrari before the season began. Now the team expect to be able to shine again.
"Winter testing have been particularly good for us and we know our car can be very competitive here," said Alesi. "But as we have already seen from the start of the season, the other contenders are very strong. I trust the upcoming developments will change things for us and that the car will improve our position in both quaffing and race."
The 36-year old, who will take place on his eleventh Grand Prix at Barcelona, admitted the Spanish race will be very different when setting up the car compared to the first four events of the season, and he expressed his discontent with the return of the driving aids.
"There will be no big difference in terms of driving technique," Alesi added. "However, the feedback from the car will be extremely different. The start of the race will lack of surprises, with no good or bad starts, since it will be managed by a programme. The traction control will diminish the direct effects of the driver's degree of pressure on the accelerator, with fewer chances for mistakes at the start."
Alesi's new team mate Luciano Burti has only driven the Prost for a couple of laps around the Silverstone circuit, and the Brazilian admitted he was under no illusion for his first race with the French team, but hoped to improve quickly as the season progresses.
"From a first quick impression, the AP04 seems very different from the F1 cars I have driven so far, therefore the Spanish Grand Prix will be for me like a first real test session," Burti commented. "Some details, like my driving position, are not yet perfect and I will have to adapt to all that's new for me.
"But I am sure that soon afterwards I will be able to perform well. It's an honour to have been chosen by Alain Prost and I look forward to reciprocate his confidence in me by getting good results in the races to come"