The controversies tied to the episodes of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which ended Max Verstappen winning his first world title at Lewis Hamilton’s expense continues to hold centre stage, especially in Mercedes.

After having seen its protests presented to the race stewards concerning the final laps on the Yas Marina track knocked back the team from Brackley has 96 hours to formally lodge an appeal with the International Automobile Federation.

Rumours from Germany speak of a possible abandonment of this action that would put Verstappen’s title sub-judice, as well as causing damage to the image of Formula 1 and Liberty Media.

“Mercedes has until Thursday to lodge an appeal to FIA after having presented an intention to proceed. After a very eventful meeting it may also be evaluating the possibility of not proceeding, provided there is a review of the regulations, as well as a change in the top management of Formula 1 and the Federation,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

“There is a lot of unrest and from the news that comes from beyond the borders there is strong desire to have clarifications on the regulations. It is clear there must be uniformity of views by the judges is needed, an aspect that has been lacking on a number of occasions this year. I am certainly in favour of giving greater freedom to the drivers, as long there is uniformity for all the season,” concluded the manager from Faenza.


Max Verstappen World Champion. This is the verdict the Abu Dhabi circuit gave us. A result that came in the final lap of the last grand prix of an exciting season. I find the final result correct without taking anything away from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes that in any case can celebrate the eighth consecutive Constructors’ title.

We have seen one of the best seasons of recent years. The only sour note is the lack of uniformity in the decisions by the marshals. Today the race director was again one of the protagonists, especially in the first lap with Verstappen’s wonderful braking move and the subsequent manoeuvre by Hamilton who drove with a lot of skill. When certain decisions are taken it must be remembered that we are faced with circuits with wide escape routes but on a historic track Lewis would have ended his race early. Having said this I am definitely in favour of giving the drivers more freedom as long as there is uniformity in the whole season.

When it seemed that all was lost for Verstappen Latifi’s accident and the entry of the safety car reshuffled the cards. I believe that Nicholas’s mistake was caused by a puncture or a structural failure following the previous contact with Schumacher’s Haas. His rear got away from him.

At that point Red Bull played all in by recalling its driver into the pits to mount the red compounds. It was an operation that was not carried out by Mercedes. The driver did the rest with another nice overtake.

Both Red Bull and Mercedes gave us an incredible duel that lasted twenty grands prix and both would have deserved the crown and I find the “division” of the drivers’ and constructors’ titles to be correct.

With today’s third place Carlos Sainz ends his first season in Ferrari at fifth place overall, ahead of Charles Leclerc. A result that does not surprise me. With equal compounds the Spaniard made better use of the tyres. Now it is up to Ferrari to give these two young men a car capable of achieving major results since together they are able to fight for the constructors’ title.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Both Hamilton and Verstappen want to take this title home at any cost and, to achieve their objective, they are willing to race at the limits of performance and the regulations. During the fifty laps they literally cut each other to pieces. They definitely have an edge over the others. They spared no efforts leaving the third placed Valtteri Bottas more than twenty four seconds behind.

For a good fifteen times Hamilton improved his fastest lap with Verstappen who was not to be undone answering his opponent’s every thrust. Verstappen’s start after the second red flag was a real masterpiece to be shown to all the young drivers entering into this world. He tried everything to take back the race lead.

Both Lewis and Max are showing and giving us the best part of Formula 1 and beyond the controversy we must let them drive and fight. Behind them there are two great teams and two top Team Principals who did not hold back cutting remarks and low blows. The tension is sky high and it is absolutely clear.

The conduct of the race was weak and the director and marshals decidedly lost control. I have not yet understood the first red flag that subsequently conditioned the whole grand prix. The Federation is slacking and what happened in recent weekends should be evaluated.

While I am writing here the final ladder is still sub-judice since there are a number of inconsistencies to be evaluated, including Hamilton’s collision with Verstappen. The fact is that in a week’s time they will race in Abu Dhabi, the twenty second grand prix, with Verstappen and Hamilton paired up.

Amongst the others, I would highlight the good performance by Antonio Giovinazzi who brought home two points, as well as the good struggle between Ocon and Bottas that ended with the Finn ahead in a photo finish. Unfortunately, in Alpha Tauri Gasly is left alone in the struggle with the direct rivals.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Formula 1 has arrived in Saudi Arabia to give life to its first Formula 1 grand prix in history.

27 bends enclosed in 6.174km with an average close to 250 km/h. These are crazy numbers that include many different pitfalls in which it will be easy to make mistakes. Trying not to hit a wall will be the challenge within the challenge. The safety-car will be called upon to work overtime.

Another great unknown factor is represented by the very new asphalt with Pirelli having brought the C2 – C3 – C4 compounds, as well as reliability. The throttle will stay open to the full for 79% of the time.

On paper the Jeddah track could smile at Mercedes which will mount the PU already used in Brazil to try to gamble for everything by taking the deciding of the title to Abu Dhabi. In these hours Red-Bull Honda is deciding whether or not to opt for the change of power unit with the Japanese inclined for this option, by virtue of the high speeds and the possibility of recovering positions.

I do not expect the title to be awarded as this Sunday.

It will be the first weekend without Sir Frank Williams who passed away on Sunday afternoon. He was an exceptional person who knew how to get up again after every adversity. Despite the success he achieved in titles (both drivers and constructors) won during his extraordinary career he remained an exquisite person who was ready to help and support the small teams. I had the luck of having had him as a companion in many “battles”. There was mutual esteem between us.

Gian Carlo Minard




As often happens, the starting grid was defined a few short hours before the start of the grand prix. Lately the marshals’ decisions have been very long, as well as questionable, but in the specific case of Verstappen it was correct. With the yellow flag you have to lift the foot off the pedal. Unfortunately, his casualness could have cost him very dearly, but he managed to limit the damage by also taking the point for the point for the fastest lap.

We could have witnessed a race with a number of strategies. In the first part of the race Hamilton went very strongly but with the pace he showed Verstappen could have stayed closer to him. We come to the last two races with a gap of only eight points between the two contenders. On the constructors’’ front, also thanks to Bottas’ retirement, Red Bull scored a major blow by bringing itself to only five points from Mercedes. Practically anything can still happen. We are about to experience a mini and intense world championship enclosed in two rounds. Reliability will be more important than ever.

Alonso entertained us by showing that age is only an aspect of the birth records. It is a pity that he does not have a higher performing car available. He must defend himself tooth and nail by jumping through hoops.

No praise and glory for Ferrari that defends third place at McLaren’s expense despite a really great and important gap from Red Bull and Mercedes. Third place will make it easier to digest the defeat.

Gasly made his fans dream by starting on the front row beside Hamilton but in this moment Alpha Tauri continues to “play” only with one driver and here in Qatar paid a heavy toll in comparison to its direct rivals in Alpine. Fifth place can still be reached but it will certainly not be easy.

In two weeks we will discover the circuit in Saudi Arabia, a very fast street circuit that could again favour Mercedes… But in this world championship nothing has yet been decided.

Gian Carlo Minardi


A success as a couple. Hamilton and Mercedes were both superstars despite that “flaw” that could have cost a lot. Even if it was just a few mere millimetres it was a major oversight by a team with eight world championships to its credit. With great stubbornness Hamilton recovered position after position, starting with the sprint race that was fruitful, and therefore positions recovered in barely twenty four laps, and he then completed the job with a clear success.

The strategy of changing the endothermic engine paid off because he was able to exploit all the power and on the straight there was no comparison with any rival. He incited the crowd.
Well done also to Bottas who during Saturday’s race took the points for the win away from Verstappen, even if I believe the points system is wrong since there are too few to be won.

For 57 laps Verstappen made him pay a high price, lapping in excellent times answering with strength to the first attack by his direct rival. I found the marshals’ decision not to proceed with the investigation correct since it was a race incident, certainly on the limits of the regulations, between two drivers who are competing for the world title. He could do nothing in bend 3 of the 59th lap. From that moment the Dutchman raised his foot to protect his Honda. It was obvious that the Red Bull did not have Mercedes’ rhythm.

We saw a wonderful struggle between two excellent teams that took points away from each other, with Perez setting the fastest pap in the end with a strategic pit-stop. There were important gaps for all the others with Ferrari once again winning the direct contest with McLaren. With seventh place ahead of the two Alpines Gasly kept Alpha Tauri in the fight for fifth place but it will not be easy with a contribution by Tsunoda.

Two new circuits now await us before the grand final in Abu Dhabi where the title will most likely be assigned. Both Hamilton and Verstappen deserve the crown but only one will win.

Gian Carlo Minardi


We saw another fantastic grand prix that was very tight until the last lap when Red Bull hit the jackpot. During the free practice they were constantly the point of reference and then on Saturday they lost pole position in an incredible way in favour of Bottas and Hamilton.

What happened in qualifying was unexplainable but just as unexplainable was the start by Bottas who did not support his team mate. Max Verstappen’s start was perfect and he was already in the lead in the first curve showing how strong his car is in this moment. At the end of the race Hamilton himself highlighted their potential.

At this moment the Red Bull-Alpha Tauri group has all the credentials to achieve their respective objectives. With Gasly’s fourth place Alpha Tauri caught up with the Alpine on the ladder while Red Bull (with first and third places) took itself to only one point from Mercedes.

Considering the current situation it was a positive result for Ferrari. With fifth and sixth places Leclerc and Sainz overtook McLaren to take third place. In this moment Norris and Ricciardo do not have a high performance car as they did in the first part of the season, finishing the race with only one point to their credit (tenth place by Norris).

We await four very interesting races of which two (Qatar and Saudi Arabia) are without any history as they are about to host Formula 1 for the first time.

Gian Carlo Minardi



One of the best if not the best grand prix of the season with two drivers who crossed the finish line with a gap of less than a second after fifty six laps. It was a race that was run on hundredths of a second. On one part of the track Mercedes was faster while on the other it was Red Bull. Congratulations also to the organizers to bring to 400,000 people to the circuit over the three days, setting the new record.

Congratulations also to Red Bull that got all the strategies right with Verstappen who showed once again that he wants to win this title at all costs. The friction with Hamilton helped him grow and mature. Once more he worked to bring home the best result possible, the win.

The excellent work by Red Bull was completed by third place with Perez who, as a good wingman, did not attack Verstappen at the start and ended the race with an “off” Valtteri Bottas. He will go to Mexico strengthened by this result, as well as having helped the team in the constructors’ ladder.

The result was also a good omen for Ferrari with Leclerc and Sainz placing their cars ahead of their direct rivals, McLaren.

Two precious points also for Tsunoda on the Sunday that saw the retirement of his team mate Gasly but above all for both the Alpines, the direct rivals for fifth place. A thrilling end of the season can be expected with duels raced on the edge of a few points.

Yet again absurd strategy by Alfa Romeo denied Giovinazzi the satisfaction of entering the points zone in favour of Sebastian Vettel. Antonio had the pace to take the pint but once again the team wanted to favour Raikonnen who made a mistake at the end.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Valtteri Bottas finally managed to fully respect  Mercedes’ programme, in other words to take points away from Max Verstappen, and helped the team to win heavy points for the constructors’ ladder that it continues to lead ahead of its direct rivals Red Bull. As a professional he carried out his job by taking an important win despite it being the final act of his adventure with Mercedes, In the near future it will certainly be hard for him to achieve these results again.

It was a very positive second place for Max Verstappen. On paper he was supposed to be the favourite but Red Bull certainly did not shine. It was a grand prix of the number two drivers. Just like Bottas, Perez achieved his task by completing the podium by putting his Red Bull ahead of both Leclerc and Hamilton.

On this Sunday the British driver was not perfect, even if fifth place must be seen in a positive way considering the penalty of ten places on the grid. The two contenders for the title can be satisfied. Only six points separate one from the other.

It was a positive weekend for Ferrari as well that consolidated third place amongst the constructors. Leclerc brought home the best result possible, making excellent times, as did Carlos Sainz, the protagonist of a good comeback. The Spaniard was the protagonist of many overtakes. Too bad for yet another mistake during a pit-stop that cost him one position at least. In all the track conditions they have confirmed they are the third force behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

It was a quiet weekend for McLaren that had to settle for Norris’ seventh place while the gamble adopted by Ricciardo did not give the hoped for results.

Despite the penalty, which I believe was correct, Gasly brought home more points for Alpha Tauri by finishing the Turkish GP in sixth place. He must be careful however because I have seen him too nervous in recent races. His points are essential for the team condisering Tsunoda’s current difficulty.

After being excluded from Q3, just like Raikonnen, Antonio Giovinazzi just missed out on the points by finishing in eleventh place ahead of his team mate.

Gian Carlo Minardi


We have entered the final part of the season and the last seven grands prix, as planned, will be in the search for reliability. All the teams that have taken advantage to the fullest all three of the units are evaluating which will be the lesser evil: not incurring a penalty and running the risk of not finishing the race or attempting a comeback from last place on the grid by mounting the fourth power-unit.

 In Red Bull and Mercedes this choice was made in Russia with an excellent result for Max Verstappen who managed to recover up to second place also thanks to the arrival of the rain. Due to its characteristics, the Istanbul track could also favour this solution. Certainly Lewis Hamilton is on early warning after the problems suffered by Bottas and Latifi.

Even Ferrari opted for this solution by choosing the change for Sainz’s car. They are working a lot on the new engine in light of the next ban.

On the compounds front, Pirelli brought the C2-C3-C4 compounds but the organizers have cleaned the asphalt with hot water together with a strong jet making the asphalt more abrasive. This could lead to a race with two pit-stops rather than just one.

The challenge between McLaren and Ferrari for third place restarts with the team from Maranello in front of its rivals by a point. Red Bull will honour the partnership with Honda with a fully revamped livery. We expect an interesting grand prix on both the spectacle and technical sides. Friday morning’s practice could already give us the first confirmation.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Once again the rain gave us a weekend full of excitement starting with an absolutely atypical qualifying session with Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and George Russell occupying the first three places and with Lewis Hamilton decidedly subdued and also the protagonist of a fairly serious mistake.

In the race the arrival of the rain during the final stages upset the finishing order that seemed defined with Norris launched towards his first career win. Lando let us see all his talent, supported by a fast growing McLaren. Unfortunately, the decision to stay on the track with the slicks did not pay off and the seventh place did not do him justice. It was an error of evaluation that will serve him in the near future.

It was the same situation also in Ferrari that on the one hand celebrated the podium with Carlos Sainz while Leclerc has to be satisfied with fifteenth place. The position certainly does not reflect the potential expressed. The decision not to re-enter the pits at the right moment to try and attack Bottas and Ricciardo with the intermediates did not pay off.

Well done to Mercedes’ people on the wall who called in Lewis Hamilton who thus celebrated his hundredth win. A new record that will be hard to beat, even if these milestones are meant to be broken. Max Verstappen’s second place was decidedly positive after having started from last place. The weather was a great help to him as well considering that the Red Bull was not in top form here in Sochi. They managed to make to maximize the result by limiting the damage in regards to its direct rival.

Without any doubt we are witnessing one of the best seasons in recent years, both in competitiveness and the variability of the forces in the field. On the one hand the “old men” such as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikonnen who are making the most of their class and experience and on the other hand the young drivers are looking in with great determination. In between is Hamilton who wants to show at all costs that he is still the strongest.

Gian Carlo Minardi


With these values it truly takes very little to alter those results that seem already written and defined. It all began with two mistakes in the pits that brought Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen together at the first after the relative stops. Neither of the two wanted to lift his foot off the peddle and, as a spur of the moment comment, I would say that the blame is fifty-fifty. In the first lap they had already given each other a “small kiss”.

The tension between these two drivers is certainly very high and FIA should go into damage control to bring them back onto the right path. This tension then deprived us of the two main protagonists but at the same time gave us a wonderful and very tight grand prix with six drivers within the space of just eight seconds. There was no lack of penalties, as in the case of Perez who “gave” third place to an excellent Bottas who has started from the back of the grid. Full points for McLaren. With the double and the fastest lap by Daniel Ricciardo in the last lap the team strongly consolidated third place amongst the constructors, at Ferrari’s expense.

A wonderful weekend has ended with ACI that wanted the presence of the eighteen medals winners from Tokyo at Monza. The celebration Saturday morning with which the Parabolica curve was named after Michele Alboreto was moving and I had the great honour of being beside President Sticchi Damiani, Jean Todt, Matteo Binotto and Michele’s family.

There was a great friendship with Michele. He began and ended his career in open wheels with the Minardi Team, giving me the first and only win. He took the last point of his career at the Monaco Grand Prix at the wheel of the M194. We had been making many plans aimed at the growth of young drivers. We are carrying out this project with the school that bears his name, collecting important results with ACI Sport.

Once again Monza has given an important signal. This Grand Prix deserves continuity. And to conclude this extraordinary weekend, as of today the high chicane at Imola takes the name of the Fausto Gresini curve.

In two weeks the tussle will start up again with the Russian GP.

Gian Carlo Minardi


It was very good to see the full grandstands that reminded us of the good times of Formula 1. We are facing a generational change because for the first time we witnessed a completely “orange” show and not the classic Ferrari-red as once occurred. All this of course thanks to Max Verstappen.

For all the weekend we saw a great Red Bull and a perfect Verstappen with a Hamilton who until the end tried to take away the win away from him but in any case still taking home the point for the fastest lap. We are witnessing a wonderful duel and both Max and Lewis are entertaining us.

Ferrari is in great difficulty, even if it had deluded us in free practice 2 but the race brought everyone back to reality. Sainz had his worst race since joining Ferrari, overtaken in the end by an excellent Alonso who, after having passed his team mate in the first stage, held the place for all the GP. An extraordinary Gasly was the first of the “others”. It was a fantastic race for Alpha Tauri. Too bad it is running with only one car. This is a major handicap for the constructors’ championship.

This weekend made us forget Spa-Francorchamps and now we concentrate on an electrifying Monza where the battle between the two contenders will continue. In this case the Mercedes could have the better. The power of the engine could make itself felt.

Gian Carlo Minardi