Page 1 of 1 At first sight, the Minardi PS04B looks outwardly similar to the 2003 PS03, which is unsurprising given the current stability of Formula One technical regulations. The basic 'architecture' of most teams' cars remains largely unchanged for the 2004 season, although FIA-mandated modifications relating to the dimensions of the engine cover and rear wing end plates have been taken into consideration.
A closer examination of Minardi's new car, however, reveals a wealth of detail change compared with its immediate predecessor, particularly in the area of aerodynamics. Among the major differences are new bodywork, floor, diffuser and front wing, as well as the required alterations to the engine cover and rear wing. The team, in combination with technical partner, Magneti Marelli, has also spent considerable time since the end of the 2003 season developing and improving its on-board electronic systems, and in particular, control software relating to the engine, gearbox and clutch.
On paper, the mechanical layout of the PS04B remains similar to that of its predecessor, with double-wishbone suspension at all four corners of the car employing pushrod-activated rockers working on compact torsion springs. In addition, mechanical anti-roll bars are fitted front and rear. Also retained for 2004 is the 72-degree, Cosworth CR3 V10 - this season, in 'L' (long-distance) specification - acting as a fully stressed member in the chassis. It is mated to a further development of Minardi's innovative, titanium-cased, six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. This compact, longitudinally mounted unit was developed by Minardi staff in collaboration with titanium casting experts, CRP Technology.
The 2004 Minardi ran for the first time at Misano's Autodromo Santamonica in the second week of February, displaying exemplary reliability in the hands of both Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni. With further successful pre-season testing completed subsequently, the Minardi F1 Team once again approaches the start of a new Formula One World Championship season in a mood of optimism, but tempered with the realism borne of experience. Page 1 of 1