F1 COMES TO IMOLA. GIAN CARLO MINARDI “REASON OF GREAT PRIDE TO BE TFor Gian Carl Minardi “HE FIRST IN EUROPE”

Three weeks after the opening round in Bahrain won by Lewis Hamilton after a good battle with Max Verstappen (second across the finish line) this weekend the Formula 1 Circus will land in Imola with the stopping in Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit to give life to the “Made in Italy and Emilia-Romagna GP”

For Gian Carlo Minardi this will be the first Gran Prix as the President of the Imola Circuit “Having Imola as the World Championship’s second round, the first in Europe, is a source of great pride and Emilia Romagna, together, together with the Motor Valley, its monuments and its food, is ready to relaunch the World Championship. The Grand Prix represents a great opportunity in terms of worldwide visibility and, together with the Circuit’s Director General Riccardo Benvenuti, we are also working to make this extraordinary territory known. We are grateful to all the institutions for the great effort put in place and our aim is also to consolidate Imola’s presence within the upcoming calendars

Supporting the GP will also the second round of the F2 Championship and the first round of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine “Starting Monday the motor homes will also start to arrive and the anti-Covid safety procedures will also begin with swabs every day to be able to gain access to the Circuit,” continued Minardi.

In these months we have worked hard with the aim of repeating, and also trying to improve, the result achieved last year. We have decided to intensify the service on the track to reduce to a minimum the neutralizations resulting from the re-entry of the safety-cay. Imola is a circuit of historical characteristics with gravel off the track where every mistake can carry a heavy price. Furthermore, given the possibility of rain the weather could be an interesting variable for the spectacle.”

On the race front the challenge for the win will be a matter between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen “Behind them however will be a good group made up of McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine and Alpha Tauri. I am convinced that Tost’s team will able to achieve a good result as happened already in Sakhir

GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “IF THIS MERCEDES IS IN CRISIS THEN THERE IS NOTHING TO BE CALM ABOUT”

The Formula 1 season began with all the conditions for witnessing a thrilling championship. The tussle between Mercedes and Red Bull was very good with the latter confirming the positive trend of the end of the 2020 season by putting onto the track a further step forward helped by the Honda engine. Perez’s fifth place after starting from the pits is a further signal on the quality of their package.

But let’s be careful. If this Mercedes is in crisis then there is little to be calm about since they have always shown a very great capacity for reaction even if they made a mistake in the pits with Bottas, nullifying a possible double.

It is not clear what happened in the final laps with the overtake and counter overtake between Hamilton and Verstappen, also because the Dutchman was no longer able to attack the Mercedes driver. I absolutely did not like the decision of the race management to use two measures between qualifying and racing by deciding to not penalize the cut at curve 4. It is surely a terrible lesson.

We will file away a very tactical and technical first race. McLaren, which adapted very quickly to the Mercedes engine, also continues its growth by just missing out on the podium with Norris.

Despite the almost 60” delay paid in comparison to Hamilton and Verstappen Ferrari brought home a positive result, especially if compared to what happened only three months ago with Leclerc tenth a lap behind. Especially in qualifying the car has made a most important improvement even if the road is still long but positive signs can be seen.

Fabulous Yuki Tsunoda who marked his debut in the World Championship with the first two points ahead of a good Stroll. It was a decidedly negative weekend for Sebastian Vettel, the protagonist of two serious mistakes.

The World Championship will now move to the Imola track onto a demanding track that already gave us a good race last year. Too bad that it will be behind closed doors once again.

Gian Carlo Minardi
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FORMULA 1 STARTS FROM BAHRAIN. MINARDI “CRAZY STARTING AFTER ONLY THREE DAYS OF TESTS”

And here we are. Formula 1 is finally ready to start again with a season, despite it being of transition, full of new developments not only on the driver’s market but also from the technical point of view. Despite the restrictions imposed by the Federation to reduce the aerodynamic load the engineers have already shown they have made up the gap allowing the drivers to race with times that are already very close to those of 2020 despite only three days of tests.

I find it absolutely absurd that the teams have been able to enjoy only these three days of training to prepare for such a long season. They better not come and tell me that they do so for a matter of limiting the costs.

Amongst other things the budget cap will also make its debut this year which I will continue to oppose for how it has been put together. It is not at all functional. In order to make sense it must include all the expenses, without any exclusion. A team must be free to manage its assets without exclusions that still create differences. As it has been structured it does nothing for the spectacle and much less to create equality between the teams.

A season with many unknown factors starts from Bahrain and, to date, it is very hard to establish a ladder of the forces in the field, even if, as far as I am concerned, Mercedes remains the point of reference for everybody despite an uneasy start (as far as could be seen). I had an excellent impression from Red Bull and Honda, as well as Alpha Tauri. McLaren knew how to adapt the chassis very well to the new Mercedes engine. There are many young drivers at the start, with some “old men” such as the return of Fernando Alonso with Alpine’s colours and the 42 year old Raikonnen ready for a new season.

The Sakhir track hosted the third and second last rounds of the 20202 season. Therefore, we will quickly have an interesting comparison.

Let us hope that the pandemic will slow down and give the opportunity to experience a full calendar, even if it will not be easy. After Bahrain F1 will come to Europe, in Imola for the second round. However, Liberty Media has also been called to deal with another major problem, tied to the sporting and technical programmes tied to the 2025. Formula 1 must open itself to the new realities by intervening heavily on the registration fee which is absolutely too high.

Gian Carlo Minardi

GIAN CARLO MINARDI “AN ALL INCLUSIVE BUDGET CAP IS NEEDED”

The time has come for Formula 1 to sit around the table and write a completely new book without repudiating the past,” These are the first words by Gian Carlo Minardi interviewed by Minardi.it on the new course being taken by Formula 1.
Just in recent weeks the new rule freezing the Power-unit was approved, starting from 2022 until 2025. But this is not the only new development. The budget cap makes its debut this season, a major new development for the Circus.

Unlike the past, Formula 1 today costs much more compared to the return of the image that it can guarantee to a manufacturer. This certainly does not favour the entry of a new team or new manufacturers.

A major item in the teams’ budget is undoubtedly the cost of the engine. That money could be spent on the development of the car and having an even more competitive championship. If the freeze is needed to go back to square one and to find a less expensive direction that can, at the same time, open the door for new arrivals, then I am in favour of this choice,” continued Minardi.

I continue to argue that the budget cap as it has been designed is not the right road since there are much more important items (like the salary of the drivers) that have been excluded. Many limits have been inserted that necessarily create differences between the teams. If they want to put a ceiling on the costs, this must include all the items, without any exceptions. It would then be up to the team to evaluate how to best spend it, whether to get a better driver or technician, to take to the track for tests or more. In this way all the teams are put on the same level which also favours the search for sponsors. At this point the organizational and creative skills of the team itself come into play.

Formula 1 needs a breath of fresh air,” concluded Gian Carlo Minardi.

F1 | PEREZ JOINS VERSTAPPEN. MINARDI “CONGRATULATIONS RED BULL”

Precisely in light of next season Horner’s team had scored the final hit of the market by securing the services of Louis Perez who only the week before had won the Sakhir Grand prix for his first career win.

Red Bull has put together two very clever operations, securing a talented driver such as Sergio Perez and by maintaining within the staff of Albon as Red Bull’s and Alpha Tauri’s test driver.

2021 will be a year of transition towards the drastic change of regulations and it will be important to see who will manage to best exploit the few tokens available for developing the car.

They finished in growth and only they can try to annoy Toto Wolff’s German battleship, even if it will be hard to beat them with so little time available,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi at the microphone of Minardi.it

This was a major change turnaround for Red Bull that interrupted the tradition that until today had seen them choose drivers from their nursery and satellite teams. In an interview on Servus TV Marko defended Red Bull Junior Academy’s work, highlighting how the arrival of the Mexican driver in Milton Keyes was not a rejection of the Austrian team’s junior drivers’ programme, having several drivers on which to focus on in view of 2022.

One of next season’s new developments will be the debut of Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda who will join Pierre Gasly (the winner at Monza) in the Alpha Tauri pits. “He comes from a positive season in F2 and he went very well in the tests. He is a promising young driver,” emphasized the manager from Faenza.

The 2021 season will therefore start with a number of new developments. After having said goodbye to Ferrari Sebastian Vettel is about to wear the colours of the newly formed Aston Martin (formerly Racing Point) joining Lance Stroll who took Perez’s place. Carlos Sainz has already arrived at Maranello alongside Leclerc and his place at McLaren has been taken by Daniel Ricciardo who will team up with Lando Norris.

In the seat left free by the Australian driver in the renamed Alpine (formerly Renault) will be no less than the two times World Champion Fernando Alonso. There will be a completely new line-up in the Haas team. Having said goodbye to Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen the American team will field two debutants, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

In the meantime Lewis Hamilton still has to sign the renewal with Mercedes.

F1 | LECLERC-SAINZ, MINARDI “FERRARI HAS THE BEST PAIR”

Carlos Sainz wasted no time. After the adventure with McLaren he has already arrived at Maranello to prepare the seat and to get to know the men with whom he will share this adventure in Ferrari.

Maranello closed one of the worst seasons in its history not finishing above sixth place in the constructors’ ladder and the time to find a remedy is truly little, as are the tokens available to the teams to develop and improve the racing car in what will be a year of transition awaiting the change of regulations scheduled for the 2022 season.

“Ferrari is certainly experiencing a very difficult period and in these few months that separate them from the first race in Australia they will have to try and sharpen their weapons to try and leave a disastrous season behind them. Unfortunately, this is the only sport that does not require training and next year there will be only three days of tests,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi at the microphones of Minardi.it

“Binotto however will be able to count on the best pair of drivers in the circus, also in terms of yield of points. Leclerc and Sainz have all the right cards to put together good results,” continued the manager from Faenza.

2021 will also be the year of the introduction of the budget cap. “The way it has been conceived is nothing short of ridiculous. It serves no purpose except to bring about a small reduction in the team’s staff. With the possibility of three extra-budget items the top teams can allow themselves the best driver, the best engineer and the best research. If you really want to make it work you must include all the items, without exception. At that point you leave the team free to take to the track to try and spend the money as it sees fit,” concluded Minardi.

F1 | GP ABU DHABI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “RED BULL’S WIN IS POSITIVE IN LIGHT OF 2021”

We have come to the end of a season that at the start of the year was impossible to predict but Formula 1 was united and managed to put together a good calendar with seventeen grands prix with which it was able to give us great races and major moments, all wrapped up in an incredible domination labelled Mercedes.

This final round also gave us a great emotion with Max Verstappen’s pole position and the win in front of the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton.

It was a Red Bull that grew strongly in the final part of the season which bodes well for next year. Only a few reliability problems, together with the retirement in the previous grand prix caused by Leclerc’s collision with Perez, denied the Dutchman the satisfaction of taking the title of vice-champion but at the same time this saved the reputation of Bottas who today paid a gap of 15 seconds.

Once again Hamilton showed his qualities by firmly taking third place despite a less than perfect state of health dictated by Covid-19. The situation of his contract still remains to be resolved and an eventual divorce would create a real tsunami in the circus.

This was a championship that was able to give us excellent growth by McLaren that won its duel with Racing Point for third place and a Renault on the rise as shown by the fastest lap time set by Ricciardo in the last lap.

The only sore point is this Ferrari. It failed to go beyond sixth place in the constructor’s’ ladder (never this bad since 1980). There is a lot of work to do in Maranello and very little time considering that the number of days of winter testing will be reduced to three.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SAKHIR, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A MORTAL SIN TO LOSE PEREZ. RUSSELL DID NOT MAKE US REGRET HAMILTON’S ABSENCE”

This F1 world championship never ceases to give us incredible emotions. Once again we witnessed a grand prix full of twists and turns with the final placings uncertain up to the final lap on a track that, at least on paper, could have passed into anonymity.

Leclerc’s collision with Perez, which also involved the innocent Verstappen, gave us the first spark which forced the Mexican driver to a crazy comeback that ended with his first career win.

Applause certainly goes to Perez. After his retirement a week ago and despite his uneasy position, he showed great determination and cold bloodedness. It is a mortal sin to see such a motivated and strong driver in difficulty for 2021.

The mistakes made by Mercedes during the pit stops that (almost certainly) cost Russell his first win were also incredible. After having dominated free practice on Friday he closed qualifying in second place barely 26 thousandths of a second behind Bottas. At the start he did not let himself be intimidated, taking the race lead immediately and completing the grand prix without making the slightest mistake and overtaking beautifully and decisively many times despite a situation that was not easy even for him. He did not make us regret Hamilton’s absence and confirmed he is a top class driver. He gave the answers that were expected of him. Today’s performance could make Mercedes’ President, faced with Hamilton who has not yet signed the new contract, think.

It was a pity that Leclerc and Hamilton were not in the game as well. With the departure of the driver from Monaco there was no basis with which to compare Sebastian Vettel’s absolutely disappointing performance. The German driver made a lot of mistakes. Who knows if Racing Point, next Aston Martin, is still convinced of the choice made…

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | RUSSELL-MERCEDES, MINARDI “INTERESTING WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE”

We have come to the penultimate round of the world championship but there is still room for a completely new circuit for F1 with an extremely fast and short layout with lap times under a minute. It will be a complicated race with a lot of overtaking but less stressful for the tyres compared to the previous commitment.

A race that may have had little to tell us had been much more lively by the forced absence of Lewis Hamilton, stopped by the damned Covid-19, and by the “promotion” of the promising young English driver George Russell.

It will be interesting following him in this adventure, also because at the moment Hamilton has not yet signed the renewal with Mercedes since a tug of war is under way, not so much with Toto Wolff than with Mercedes’ president who is determined to strongly review all the contracts downwards in light of the budget cap.

Should Russell live up to expectations and the seven times Wold Champion not accept the conditions offered major scenarios could open up.

This round will be important also for Valtteri Bottas who is playing a big slice of credibility since in the last two races he has been dominated not only by Hamilton but also by Verstappen who is not only one point away on the ladder.

The times: 6.00pm (Italian time) Saturday for qualifying, with the start of the race at 6.10pm on Sunday 6.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY MINARDI “MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS. NEVER LET THE GUARD DOWN AND FIA MUST INVESTIGATE THE EXPLOSION”

Motorsport is dangerous” We must never forget this.

We have undoubtedly seen first hand the gigantic steps that have been taken on the safety front and today we must say thank you for the Halo and the Hans, as well as all the rescuers. It is important to continue to work on this road without lowering the guard.

We had not seen such a frightening accident in decades and luckily everything went well. Grosjean was skilful and reactive managing to get out of that ball of fire in 20” but FIA must absolutely investigate the causes that set off the fire.

The grand prix was, to say the least, eventful, seasoned by the collision between Stroll and Kvyat after the restart and ended with the Canadian overturning but without any harm to the driver. For Racing Point it was surely an unlucky Sunday considering Perez’s retirement a few kilometres from the chequered flag due to the failure of the Mercedes power-unit.

It was a body blow for them considering the possibility of taking third place in the constructors’ ladder vanish and it is now firmly in the hands of McLaren thanks to today’s fourth and fifth places by Norris and Sainz.

It is a real shame, as well as absurd, that a driver fighting for fourth place in the world championship (Perez is fifth behind Ricciardo) will not be on the grid next year.

It was a grand prix based on the tyre strategy with many stops which rewarded Lewis Hamilton (95th win) ahead of the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon who returned to the podium. In Red Bull they are deciding about Albon’s fate and it will not be an easy decision since at this time it would be useless to break the balance inside the team. Verstappen is the first driver and needs a right hand man who brings the highest number of points to the team.

With today’s performance Ferrari definitively raised the white flag for taking new positions on the constructors’ ladder. Leclerc’s tenth place (1 point), the result of Perez’s retirement, is really too little. Next weekend we will see the second step in Bahrain (the penultimate round) but on a new configuration for the world championship which can be compared to an oval with a lap time that could be lower than a minute. This situation is even more unfavourable for the SF1000.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI CAN STILL AIM FOR THIRD PLACE”

We have come to the final three grands prix and, unlike what happened in the recent past, Bahrain will host two rounds in the space of ten days but on two very different configurations of the track.

This weekend will be run on the standard 5,412m long configuration, while the very fast outer circuit will host the penultimate round with a lap time of about a minute. Among other things the second will be run at night with a temperature difference of a number of degrees between qualifying and the race.

Despite the two titles, the constructors’ and drivers’, having been assigned, the challenge behind Mercedes is still alive, with a nice fight for third place which Ferrari can also aspire to. Of course for the men of Maranello this challenge will not be easy to win but would remain a good finish considering the conditions at the start of the season. It is essential that both drivers finish in the points.

In these rounds we will also have a “taste” of 2021 with Pirelli bringing the new compounds for free practice 2. Major, and just as worrying, news has come from England in light of the new season since Mercedes was already able to recover the aerodynamic load despite the limitations on the pan and the rear diffuser forced by the regulations which would cost 10% of downforce, as well as being able to count on 20 horsepower more.

It really seems that this Mercedes does not want to leave anything to the rivals, even if I hope for a change in view of 2022 with the upheaval of the regulations. More than anything else I would like to see greater competiveness between the teams, rather than such a one sided domination.

Its President Ola Källenius is in a tug of war with Hamilton for his renewal, which will undoubtedly come soon. Mercedes is in favour of the budget cap and therefore Lewis must accept the financial offer, even if an improbable non renewal would give life to an earthquake amongst the major driving places, especially amongst those powered by Mercedes.

Formula 2 is also back this weekend with Mick Schumacher currently in the lead with 191 points ahead of Ilott (169), ready to win the world title. Despite the incredible health emergency Motorsport knew how to react giving us very good races on new tracks that have left a positive sign.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP TURCHIA, IL PUNTO DI GIAN F1 | GP TURKEY, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “9/10 FOR THE GRAND PRIX”MINARDI “GRAN PREMIO DA 9”

We file away an exciting weekend from which yesterday’s difficulties resulted in a grand prix that rates 9/10, full of suspense from the first lap to the last. Zero instead for the organizers who wanted to resurface the circuit against everyone’s opinion.

Hats off to Lewis Hamilton who once again gave us proof of all his talents by mathematically taking his seventh world championship, reaching Michael Schumacher, and his 94th win. Despite a difficult start from sixth position he reacted by managing the race in the best way possible despite a car that was not at its best today. He chose to stay on the track in spite of the worn tyres, confirming himself as the leader within the team, finishing the race with a pit stop less than all the others (as did Perez).

It was a pity for the mistakes by the young drivers Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc who handed third place to a perfect Sebastian Vettel.

The German driver put together his best performance in two years, assisted by a good strategy. He was maybe the only one who did not make the slightest mistake, optimizing the SF1000 to the fullest, a car that is certainly not yet ready to win despite the steps forward. In normal conditions all the limits in regards to the very fierce competition emerged.

With Hamilton and Vettel there were eleven world championships on the podium. Between them was an excellent Sergio Perez. Despite a stupendous performance he is still a driver without a contract for 2021. Unfortunately, this is the nonsense of our sport but I am sure that we will soon find an arrangement.

In front of the two Red Bulls was Carlos Sainz’s McLaren. I have always maintained he is an excellent driver and team man. Once again he brought home vital points for the team. An excellent purchase by Ferrari as I already pointed out a number of times.

In a peculiar year, and certainly not the best for Formula 1, these grands prix rehabilitate our sport, which is still the best.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GIAN CARLO MINARDI “TOO BIG A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VERSTAPPEN AND HIS MATES IN THE PITS”

We have come to the fourteenth grand prix of the season, the fourth to last round. The Formula 1 World Championship has landed in Turkey after a long pause of nine years during which the facility has seen little use. As happened in Portugal, here too the asphalt has been re-laid.

Pirelli has brought the hardest compounds, from C1 to C3, since it is a demanding track for the tyres, especially as far as curve 8 is concerned. As has already happened this season, this will once again be a new track for some drivers, such as Leclerc, who have had the chance to test it only in the simulator.

After taking the seventh constructors’ title Mercedes is getting ready to celebrate Lewis Hamilton who, barring a calamity, will have the opportunity to equal Schumacher. Mercedes is preparing to renew the collaboration with Toto Wolff, for one year, since I have the impression that, considering the disputes with Liberty Media, from 2022 it will remain only as an engine supplier

Ferrari’s efforts are already aimed not only on 2021 but especially on 2022. For this reason Matteo Binotto will not follow the team in the last rounds. Ferrari has a lot of ground to make up.
We are heading towards the end of this certainly anomalous season with some drivers’ seats still to be assigned, above all in Red Bull and Alpha Tauri with the future of Albon and Kvyat in strong doubt.

The shadow of the Japanese driver Tsunoda is hanging more and more over the Russian, while Albon must try to come out of his lethargy even if I think it is not all his fault. For years the difference in performance between Verstappen and his team mates has been too much. I have the impression that all the cars have been designed only got the Dutchman.

All that remains is to also follow the Turkish GP in the best way possible. Look out for the times: qualifying at 1.00pm with the start of the race at 11.10am.

Gian Carlo Minardi