For the 2001 season Minardi wanted to produce a car with the weights moved as low as possible, based on the experienced gathered from the previous season’s car.
The PS01 was created with a low nose cone and with a rather square shape, combined with a strongly spoon shaped wing and pull rod front suspensions.
However, these suspensions penalized the car’s aerodynamic development in a season in which it would have been an advantage to raise the nose cone to reduce the negative effects connected to the new aerodynamic limitations introduced by the Federation.
Even from the aerodynamic point of view the rigidity of the suspension with the layout of the pull rods revealed all its limits. The arrangement of the radiators always lying forward with a view to always being able to create low sides was unprecedented.
Minardi also introduced a second version of the titanium cast gearbox casing in the August trials in Monza and made its debut in Germany with Fernando Alonso. The experiment was repeated in Hungary with both drivers and used in the race only by Tarso Marques (who had come back to Faenza). The new gearbox, again created by CRP, was even lighter and stiffer compared to the first version introduced as an absolute novelty in Spain in 2000.
Furthermore, the B version made its debut in Germany with a much more compact rear section and with a wheel base that was 28mm shorter.
The 2001 season also saw Fernando Alonso’s debut in Formula 1 when he stood out on his debut in the Circus with an encouraging 12th place in Melbourne. At the Malaysian GP of March 18 Alonso scored another good result but his 13th place was three laps behind the winner… Marques took a satisfying 9th place in Brazil, as he also did in the Canadian Grand Prix.
The last round of the season on the Suzuka circuit in Japan again saw Fernando Alonso as the great protagonist. The driver from Asturias ran the whole race at such a high rhythm that it was described as “53 qualifying laps”. Unfortunately, the final 11th place did not properly express the happy combination of man and machine in that race but remained n exceptional result taking into account that the speed performance of the Minardi was inferior due to the low power of the Cosworth V10.
Despite all the team’s efforts the 2001 season was filed away with zero points but there remained the awareness of having introduced Alonso’s talent to the international audience with the Spaniard after passing onto Flavio Briatore’s court as Renault’s test driver the season after.