F1 | GP AUSTRIA, MINARDI “IT FINALLY STARTS”

Tomorrow it finally starts after the very long lockdown. It will be a restart full of variables starting with the weather forecasts that promise rain for Friday.

We are faced with a situation that is anomalous and new for everybody with a calendar that at the moment is made up of 8 rounds compressed into two months with the Italian grand prix scheduled for September 6.

It starts again on a track characterized by heavy braking and demanding bends where the gas will be open to the max for 78% of the lap. It is a considerable challenge for the drivers who have been practically stopped since the March tests except for some sporadic outings on the track.

Red Bull will take to the track after the wins in the last two editions but Mercedes is still the car of reference despite the reliability problems that emerged during the Barcelona tests.

The teams have had little time to work on the developments that were initially planned and they will restart from the winter tests that highlighted great competitiveness with the cars enclosed within a gap of barely 1.7”.

Amongst this season’s anomalies we have to also add the change of colours of some drivers with Carlos Sainz’s arrival in Ferrari, Ricciardo’s in McLaren and Sebastian Vettel momentarily on foot.

We will also have to watch what will happen inside the paddock considering the significant financial problems of the teams (see Williams and McLaren) and also on the part of Liberty Media.

There is a lot of meat on the fire but one thing is certain. At 11.00 am tomorrow, Friday, the motor will roar once more.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | RUMORS MERCEDES. MINARDI “KALLENIUS READY TO BUT WOLFF’S SHARES ONCE AGAIN”

In a Formula 1 that is only apparently still, there is a lot of movement behind the curtains and not only on the drivers’ market front which in recent weeks brought Carlos Sainz Jr. to Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc and with Daniel Ricciardo who “waved goodbye” to Renault to set up home in McLaren alongside Lando Norris.

At the moment the future of four times world champion Sebastian Vettel is very uncertain, just like the permanence of some teams in the Circus.

In recent days we reported some rumours from overseas concerning the future of two contractors: Renault and Mercedes with the reigning world champions that could remain in F1 only as a supplier of engines, starting in 2022.

Reinforcing this theory are new rumours from Germany that Toto Wolff will no longer be present in all the races starting from this season, as Gian Carlo Minardi explains.

We are facing an unhappy panorama, certainly complicated by the very long lockdown, which Liberty Media have to try to remedy. There are increasing insistent rumours from Germany concerning the commitment of Mercedes limited only to the supply of the Power-Unit starting from the 2022 season,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

“The current Mercedes President, Ola Kallenius, who has already shown he has very strong power also on the fate of the team and seems to be buying back the shares of Toto Wolff’s who owns 30% of the Mercedes team” continued the manager from Faenza, “The current Team Principal and Mercedes-AMG Petronas CEO will not be present at all the races, as we were used to seeing up to today”

This situation is not easy for Liberty Media which will also have to deal with other teams in great difficulty, such as McLaren (forced to lay off many people) and Williams.

THE NEW FACE OF F1. MINARDI “FROM 2022 MERCEDES ONLY AS A SUPPLIER”

Weeks are going by but the knot is not unwinding. The very long lockdown is bringing with it major consequences also for the golden world of F1 and Liberty Media could be called upon to deal with huge problems in the short term.

Historic realities that have written the most important pages of this sport such as Williams and McLaren are facing drastic financial situations. The team from Woking forced to mortgage its headquarters and its collection of racing cars to find the liquidity needed to continue and with the employees laid off. The future of the team for Grove could be guaranteed for the moment thanks to the intervention of Michael Latifi, the father of Nicholas who this year holds the role of official driver alongside Russell.

However, alarm bells are ringing also on the Renault front. That the situation was not rosy had already been sensed at the end of last season. The transition from the French Power-Unit to that of Mercedes by McLaren had confirmed this, as did the recent passage by Ricciardo.

In these days Renault is committed to asking for major government assistance to save the jobs and accounts of the parent company. This is why I find it hard to see it continuing the F1 project beyond 2021. It will not be easy also to find a possible buyer since we are not talking about buying a structure that at the moment is winning,” was the analysis of Gian Carlo Minardi.

The Circus however could also lose another major piece such a Mercedes “Rumours from abroad talk about Mercedes ready to sell the team at the end of 2021 and remaining in F1 only as a supplier. Ola Kallenius, Mercedes’ current President, seems to have very strong power on the team compared to his predecessor, as we saw on the occasion of the Australian GP. Despite Toto Wolff being favourable to racing, the refusal came from Kallenius,” continued the manager from Faenza.

“Compared to Renault Mercedes is a winning and highly organized team. Therefore it should not be hard to find buyers. However, we are faced with a chaotic situation. To date the Concord Agreement has not yet been signed and Liberty Media has not been able to find a new team,” concluded Minardi.

The risk is to have a Formula 1 with less than 10 teams registered. A never before seen scenario.

F1 in the time of COVID-19 | MINARDI “The teams have allegedly asked Liberty Media for three months of sabbatical before restarting”

These are delicate days for Formula 1. At stake is not only a Motorsport season but also the future of many teams. Not racing would mean losing television rights and subsequently lower income but this time of worldwide health emergency does not allow drafting long term programmes since we are faced with scenarios that are continually changing.

After Canada, the future of the French Grand Prix scheduled for June 28th is also at risk,

“At this time it must be remembered that the main problem is the closure of the borders and therefore as of today any type of movement is banned, both within and between countries. I smile when I hear that Austria gave the OK to race,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

“Maybe Red Bull is one of the few tracks that can host a grand prix behind closed doors but with the teams unable to move nothing is done. At the moment it is impossible to hypothesize international involvement,”

continued the manager emphasizing that for most of the circuits ticket sales represent the sole income to deal with the huge costs of hosting and organizing a grand prix.

Furthermore, putting into action such a complex organizational machine as a Formula 1 team requires time.

“For this reason the teams have allegedly asked Liberty media for a three month sabbatical from the earliest date. This being the case, the first grand prix would be raced no earlier than September,” was the analysis of the manager from Faenza.

F1 in the time of COVID-19 | Silverstone tries to double MINARDI “ I can’t see the change of direction as feasible”

Fernando Alonso(ESP) European Minardi PS01 – British Grand Prix, Silverstone 15 July 2001 – DIGITAL IMAGE

The world of Motorsport, and not only, is in an uproar and we read almost every day new proposals to try to save what can be saved. The Formula 1 Circus does not absolutely seem to want to take into examination the idea of cancelling the 2020 season. With the Canadian Grand Prix we have reached seven rounds that must be rescheduled but now we are coming to important hours for France and the months available continue to shrink. China and Monte Carlo have already cancelled their events for the season.

The most recent idea to try and save the season comes from Stuart Pringle, the manager of the Silverstone circuit which, according to the calendar, should (the conditional is compulsory) host the world championship during the weekend of July 19th.

“It will be very difficult to carry out this solution as firstly the aspect of safety must be considered. The escape routes must be designed according to the direction of the travel of track, which will be followed by the issue of the homologation of the circuit and on a historic track such as Silverstone any such change of direction is not so fast,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi interviewed by www.Minardi.it

“A few years ago the Adria circuit had taken into consideration the creation of a private championship alternating races from one direction to another. What stopped the project was the safety factor tied to the positioning of the escape routes and obtaining the double homologation of the system. For this very reason I do not consider the idea proposed by Silverstone to be feasible,” concluded Minardi.

COVID-19 | Gian Carlo Minardi “The crisis will come in 2021”

The health emergency is holding the world and the whole economy hostage and sport is also asking itself if and when it will be able to start once more. If the Tokyo Olympic Games have already been postponed and the Italian Rugby Federation has cancelled the whole 2020 season Formula 1 is trying to organize itself to be ready to go.

The World Motor Sport Council has granted FIA president Jean Todt full powers (subject to consultation with the Vice President for Sport, the Secretary General for Sport and, if necessary, the President of the competent Sports Commission) regarding the organization of the international competitions for the 2020 season, including the modification of the calendar without passing through a vote and/or amendment of the articles with the support of only 60% of the teams.

“We are faced with an absolutely unpredictable and new scenario. At the moment it is impossible to make predictions the virus is developing in each country with different times,” was the analysis of Gian Carlo Minardi at the microphones of www.Minardi.it

“As ACI Sport we are continuing to work in close contact with the authorities but at the moment it is not possible to release calendars. This is an emergency which will have a major aftermath with significant repercussions,” continued the manager from Faenza.

“I have the impression that no team wants to sign the new Concord Agreement even in order not to make a commitment of its permanence in the Circus long term. Let us not forget that this year the teams receive the television rights for last season which was run regularly. The real problems will come in 2021, with a very dietetic cake. As of today the income from eight grands prix is already missing…”

“I am worried for the fate of some private realities such as Haas, Williams and Racing Point despite the arrival of Aston Martin to which I would add an uncertain future for Renault which will lose the supply from McLaren to which they granted the waiver to modify the 2021 chassis and to host the Mercedes power-unit,” concluded Minardi.

F1 | Gian Carlo MINARDI “Canada at risk too”

Christijan Albers (NDL) Minardi Cosworth PS05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, 10 June 2005.
DIGITAL IMAGE

The latest grand prix to be pushed back is Baku. If the Monaco grand prix is definitively cancelled for the 2020 season the number of rounds that today have been delayed and looking for new dates rises to seven.

According to the current calendar, the start of the Formula 1 World Championship could take place in the final weekend in June, on the occasion of the Canadian Grand Prix, even if Gian Carlo Minardi has some doubts.

“I believe that Montreal is also in serious doubt since, like Monaco and Baku, it is a semi-permanent structure. So they will shortly be called to make a decision to avoid incurring further losses, starting with the time needed to set up the grandstands and the track”

The Circus is unanimous for finding a decision. The intention is to let the 2020 World Championship start. The summer break has been brought forward in order to have available the weeks of August which are traditionally closed for the holidays.

“We have to also keep in mind another major economic issue. This year the teams receive the television rights for last season but the problems could emerge in 2021 if seven or eight races should be missed. The confirmation of the 2021 Budget Cap is positive news in this sense,” was the analysis of the manager from Faenza.

“At this time it is too early to make any predictions since the Covid-19 emergency has very different times for each country,” concluded Minardi.

F1 | Gp Australia, MINARDI “Thursday, the first challenge”

CWell here we are, between controversies and unknown factors all the teams got to Australia, the stage for the first round of a long and demanding season, even with the unknown factor of “COVID 19” .

Despite the closing of the Albert Park Hotel near the track and the staff placed in quarantine after having recorded its first positive case to Covid-19 the weekend of racing is still confirmed even if the Premier of the State of Victoria admits that all could change in an instant.
Teams and drivers arrived in Melbourne after only six days of testing, not enough to define the forces in the field but enough to fuel various controversies.

The first race of the season will be run on Thursday with the Federation called in with the first most complex and in-depth verification of the regularity of all the cars. Any disputes could start from there.

Under the magnifying glass there are the World Champion Mercedes, with Red Bull that could be asked, under the regulations, for an explanation of the grip of the rear bracket that last year FIA had retained regular but also Racing Point, the well built “clone” of the 2019 Mercedes that surprised at Barcelona.

The verifications will also be the testing ground for knowing if there has been an end to the secret agreement between the Federation and Ferrari which the seven teams without Ferrari engines did not like with Red Bull’s Marko using tough regarding on FIA.

Controversies aside, Melbourne will be the opportunity to tidy things up and to understand the real forces in the field. At Barcelona we witnessed a very interesting compaction of the field with all the cars enclosed in a gap of barely 1’15”. And if this is so we expect a great tussle. Mercedes is still the team to beat, even if reliability is an unknown factor. We will see what will be the response of RP’s Perez and Stroll.

We expect a weekend full of uncertainties, including on the weather front with some rain expected in Friday but a sunny Sunday. The only certainty is with the tyres, the same as last season, with the teams that have practically confirmed their 2019 strategies. Ferrari and Red Bull have opted for 9 sets of the C4 Softs, like last season and with Mercedes which will have 10 available, one more than to 2019.

It is a track of traction and braking with little grip since it is a purely street asphalt which could easily see the entry of the safety car.

In brief, there are all the premises for experiencing and enjoyable weekend full of developments. Qualifying will start at 7.00am and the Grand Prix at 6.10am (Italian time live on Sky Sport F1 HD).

Gian Carlo Minardi

Chaos F1, MINARDI “7 teams are attacking but only Red Bull’s consultant speaks”

The Covid-19 crisis is not the only thing destabilizing Formula 1. Less than a week away from the Australian Grand Prix there is still no certainty that it will run smoothly, even if it is now practically sure. In the mean time the decision of the organizers of the Bahrain has come, the GP will be run but behind closed doors.

In recent days however, there has been a rumour that seven teams without Ferrari engines -– Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull, Alpha Tauri, Renault, Force India e Williams –have asked the Federation with a joint communiqué for greater clarity on the agreement reached by the FIA with Ferrari on the matter of the power-unit.

According to articles 4 (ii) and 4 (vi) of the disciplinary and juridical regulations FIA has decided to enter into an agreement with Ferrari to end this proceeding (having failed to show any irregularity) and to guarantee its confidentiality. The person raising the tone was Helmut Marko, the right-hand man of Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz, who used heavy words in regards to the Federation.

Gian Carlo MINARDI “I am perplexed because all the teams and motors suppliers not tied to Ferrari have kept their silence and only supporting a joint statement in which they requested greater clarity from the Federation. Only Marko raised his voice using very strong words in regards to Federation which declared that it had taken all the measures necessary to protect the sport and its role and reputation as regulator of the Formula 1 World Championship. Being only a consultant Marko cannot be pursued from the sporting point of view,” underlined  interviewed at the microphones of Minardi.it.

“To me it looks like a staged act. Let’s not forget that we’re in the middle of the renewal of the Concorde Agreement, a period that is historically full of controversy in which all the teams try to achieve the maximum result and the current financial sharing has not met with Mercedes’ approval.”

“In the mean time the World Council has supported Jean Todt’s work in regards to the secret agreement reached with Ferrari (which should have revealed its secrets on all the grey areas of the regulations), warning the seven teams,”

Has “the end” really been written?

F1 | Tests, The analysis by Gian Carlo MINARDI. Red Bull is scary

 

The lights have gone off on the second round of collective tests in Montmelò and it is certainly not easy to make an analysis, even if we ned to start from two fixed points:

– We are at the end of a technical cycle and on from the technical point of view these cars have reached their limit;

– The tyres are the same as last season.

The improvement in terms of timing, in the order of some tenths of a second compared to twelve months ago, are perfectly in line, just as it is much easier to gain half a second(if not a second) between one season and another and another with the inclusion of a new mix. Working only on the aerodynamics and the engine two-three years of development are needed to achieve the same objective.

What caught the eye was the gap of barely a second and a half between the first and the last (1’16”196 by Bottas and 1’17”803 by Albon). Honestly this gap is unrealistic and this must make us think but we will know the real forces at play in Melbourne.

What is scary is Red Bull. I have the impression it is one of the top teams, they have carried out the next major stage of development of the chassis and they had kept themselves hidden. In the latest attempt last Friday Verstappen clearly lifted his foot on T3 and his best time of 1’16”269 (a 71 thousandths from Bottas) could have been much lower.

Mercedes is illegible. They too have kept themselves under cover. Just like the satellite teams they encountered unexpected problems in reliability but they could have deliberately pushed their pieces to the limit to test their resistance.

Ferrari has grown compared to the first three days of tests, with different tests on the tyres even if they do not feel ready to fight for victory in the first part of the season.

Gian Carlo Minardi

Foto © Copyright: Moy / XPB Image

F1 | GIAN CARLO MINARDI “CLONES DISTORT FORMULA 1. FERRARI AND RED BULL MIGHT HAVE TO FIGHT AGAINST THE RP20”

The surprise of the first three days of tests at Montmelò, together with Mercedes’ Dual Axis Steering, was surely Racing Point. Both Stroll and Perez set incredible times placing themselves just behind the two Mercedes drivers.

Right from the first photos the incredible resemblance with the world championship Mercedes stood out. There is the strong feeling that Lawrence Stroll’s team, in addition to mounting Brixworth’s power unit and gearbox and using Brackley’s wind tunnel, had taken other aerodynamic solutions already present on the W10, such as the nose cone for example.

“Clones are a problem for Formula 1 since they distort the concept of constructor. Ferrari and Red Bull had already opened the way with the “collaboration” respectively with Haas, nicknamed the “Ferrarina, small Ferrari”, and Toro Rosso, but in the specific case of Mercedes took a decisive step forward by giving Racing Point the world championship car,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

“Perez’s and Stroll’s times confirm the generosity of the W10 project, as well as an as yet unexpressed potential. If the times are confirmed in Melbourne Ferrari and Red Bull will pay the consequences. True constructors could find themselves having to fight with a clone, or a client car as they want to call it,” continued the manager from Faenza.

“It is absolutely a road that must not be taken. The step from constructor to assembler is very short,” concluded Minardi.

Wednesday February 26 the Formula 1 teams will return to Barcelona for the last three days of tests before leaving for Australia which will host the first grand prix of the 2020 season (March 15).

MINARDI “DAS IS A DECOY. I WILL EXPLAIN WHY”

The 2020 Formula 1 season started officially with the first three days of tests at Montmelò. Even if it is hard to guess the forces at play there was no lack of surprises and twists.

In particular the three days put into the spotlight two issues, one positive and spectacular – the Mercedes labelled Dual Axis Steering – and one negative dictated by clones that I want to deal with later.

Despite being at the end of a cycle – from 2021 the technical regulations will be turned upside down – Mercedes amazed everyone with a new development that had never been seen before in Motorsport, the innovated steering system named DAS that is already present in some high end production cars. This was unlike what we had been used to with production car technology passed on to Motorsport and not vice versa. This lets us understand how far Mercedes is technologically and I am sorry that BMW did not decide to enter the Circus because it would have the skill to oppose the domination.

Despite being at the end of a cycle – from 2021 the technical regulations will be turned upside down – Mercedes amazed everyone with a new development that had never been seen before in Motorsport, the innovated steering system named DAS that is already present in some high end production cars. This was unlike what we had been used to with production car technology passed on to Motorsport and not vice versa. This lets us understand how far Mercedes is technologically and I am sorry that BMW did not decide to enter the Circus because it would have the skill to oppose the domination.

This is a project that requires a development time of about 7-8 months and carried out in parallel with FIA which has already declared it legal but at the same time bans it from 2021. Once again the International Federation has shown all the limits to its administration and approval of the regulations. Such behaviour puts the credibility of Formula 1 into serious question. I do not want to believe that they will use the excuse of a matter of safety. Otherwise everything in F1 would become dangerous.

I will stop here for now but in the next few days I will talk to you about the matter of “clones”.

Gian Carlo Minardi

Foto © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

F1 | A race calendar of 25 Grands Prix. MINARDI “A significant increase in costs”

As we know, next March 15th the new Formula 1 season will start in Melbourne, the longest in history with 22 rounds (China GP allowing) on the calendar with the curtain falling on November 29th.

Liberty Media’s desire would be to further expand the race calendar up to 25 Grands Prix and. in a recent interview. FIA President Jean Todt said he was favoured this type of operation, highlighting that those who work in Formula 1 are privileged.

“This is a problem of the blanket that is too short,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi interviewed by www.minardi.it,

“In the light of the reduction of the costs with the inclusion of the budget cap it is insane to want to increase the numbers of GPs, but, on the other hand, the Circus no longer knows where it can find new money. Today the teams move from 70 to 80 people for each trip and, compared to next season with 21 rounds, there will be no reorganization which instead will be necessary for any passage to seasons with 25 GPs. In this case the teams will certainly be called to increase the personnel in order to ensure proper turnover,” commented the manager from Faenza who concluded,

“The personnel has the right to holidays and to rest days and this is not subject to be underestimated, as it would surely entail a increase in costs”