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

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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

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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”

F1 | Gian Carlo MINARDI “A year of transition but the market for the second drovers will be interesting”

Imola -MINARDI DAY SABATO MATTINA MINARDI GIANCARLO

With the long term renewals of Leclerc (until 2024) and Verstappen (until 2023) Ferrari and Red Bull have started programming their future, with Mercedes and Hamilton ready to continue their fruitful collaboration.

With the season now at the door, the longest ever with 22 grands prix, it looks like a championship of transition in expectation of the great changes scheduled for 2021 which will give us very different cars in both the aerodynamic and technical fronts with the entry of the 18” tyres that will bring about a new design for the suspensions and not only.

In this way the market for the second drivers with contracts expiring in all the teams will hold court with many young drivers ready to put themselves on show. Already last November, after a difficult season with Williams, George Russell gave a big sign of his potential during tests. We must not forget that Vettel’s’ contract with Ferrari will expire in 2020, just like Ricciardo’s with Renault.

“It will be a very interesting season in which we must pay attention to Red Bull, especially if Honda will be able to put another major evolutionary step into play. It will be a hard hurdle for both Ferrari and Mercedes”, commented Gian Carlo Minardi at Minardi.it ‘s microphone.

“We await a championship of transit awaits us in expectation of the great changes in 2021 which will come in conjunction with the budget cap. I already had the opportunity to express my disagreement on this timing, since, acting in this way the forces in the field will be offset. This year Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull will have economic strength to already work with an eye towards 2021 and thus open the new cycle with a huge advantage over the second tier teams,” continued the manager from Faenza.

“The budget cap should have been introduced already this year. I find it just as absurd that the drivers’ wages, which are reaching astronomical figures, are excluded from the cap

“With the renewals of Leclerc and Verstappen, Hamilton too will continue his relationship with Mercedes with the aim of equalling Schumacher’s records but I am convinced that he dreams of wearing Ferrari red, just like in Maranello they dream of having him in the team,” concluded Minardi.

F1 | Gian Carlo MINARDI “Sainz confirmed he is a top driver. 2020 a crucial year”

With tenth place in Abu Dhabi Carlos Sainz put together his best season in Formula 1 since he began with the colours of Toro Rosso in 2015, racing the final four rounds with Renault’s colours and staying for next season.

With 96 points to his credit, the podium finish in Brazil in the penultimate round of the world championship and finishing in the points 13 times, McLaren’s Spanish driver took sixth place on the drivers’ ladder behind Sebastian Vettel and in front of Pierre Gasly who for more than half the season had his hands on the Red Bull before handing the steering wheel to Albon, starting from Spa-Francorchamps, and “giving” Toro Rosso second place in Interlagos.

This was great progress by the 26 year old from Madrid who, together with the 20 year old debutant Lando Norris, took McLaren-Renault to fourth place on the constructor’s ladder, just behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and taking fifth place in the grands prix in Germany, Hungary and Japan as the best results before the incredible third place in Interlagos and the sixth place in Monaco, France, Great Britain and Russia.

We didn’t only just discover Sainz Jr’s technical worth. He is a driver I have always like and the sixth spot on the drivers’ ladder is the confirmation. We are talking about a very fast, correct and modest driver. He is a top driver and will be in the centre of the drivers’ market next season if McLaren does not hurry up and renew him,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

2020 will be a crucial year for the drivers’ market since of the top drivers on Leclerc already had a contract signed beyond that date,” continued the manager from Faenza, “We have seen a good championship that gave us a number of interesting pints for the future with the fiery duel between Verstappen and Leclerc. I like Norris a lot and in his debut season he contributed to McLaren’s rebirth with eleven positive results, as did Albon and Gasly who with the second place in Brazil gave a very strong sign.

In the nine rounds raced with Red Bull the Anglo-Thai rookie “paid” a gap of only eleven points from the Dutchman who won the Brazil Grand Prix with a fourth place to his credit, four fifth places, three sixth places and only one finish outside the points, at Interlagos.

F1 | Gp Abu Dhabi, MINARDI “The most important grand prix on the political side. A tug of war between Mercedes-Liberty Media”

We have come to the last grand prix of the season. After the chaos in Interlagos it will be interesting to the reaction by Ferrari which will try to take away third place on the drivers’ ladder from Verstappen, even if the leap is dicey at the moment.

An exciting season is closing, one that gave new life to the world championship. Although there is still the duel between Renault and Toro Rosso for fifth place with Tost’s team galvanized by the second place two weeks ago with an excellent Gasly which the team second place for the season, I expect a purely political weekend.

The new Concorde Agreement is still at stake and foreign rumours talk about strong disquiet in Mercedes. After having won six world championships a tug of war has begun for the division of the proceeds between Liberty Media and Daimler President Ola Kallenius that could lead to taking a major decision such as withdrawing the team led by Toto Wolff.,

To date the unanimity of views between the teams in both the sporting and financial aspects needed for the Concorde Agreement is lacking. To date we have strong inequalities between the various teams that, with the insertion of the Budget Cap starting in 2021, will inexorably increase since those who have the strength will use next season to make major investments that will guarantee them a huge advantage in the following years. A mistake in evaluation was made since it should have progressed in stages, inserting a spending limit in 2020 and only after the new technical regulations.

The fact remains that we are faced with a delicate moment for the future of the series that cannot afford to lose precious constructors since Mercedes is not the only one to threaten withdrawal. Mercedes which currently is also the supplier of the Power Unit to Racing Point and Williams with a contract already signed with McLaren in light of 2021.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Brazil, MINARDI “The Budget Cap should have been brought forward”

Despite having reached the penultimate grand prix of the season there are a number of different things to consider starting with qualifying at 7.00pm with the race scheduled for 18.10.

Third place is at stake for the drivers, with the internal duel in Ferrari between Leclerc and Vettel and the sixth and seventh place between Racing Point and Toro Rosso,

The last few editions were characterized by bad weather and severe thunder storms and care will need to be taken in the first downhill bend to the left which is often the stage for side swipes. Leclerc will have to pay a ten place penalty for having replaced some components of his power unit but seeing the characteristics of the Sao Paolo track it may not be so penalizing since the track favours overtaking as we saw last year with Ricciardo who, having started from 10th place, in a few laps had already reached the top six. Keep an eye opt for Red Bull because without the Verstappen-Ocon clash last year the Dutchman could have brought home the win.

For Mercedes this will be the first grand prix without Toto Wolff and it will be interesting to see how the team will be manages, even if they are still the point of reference.

The last few weeks have been very intense for the future of Formula 1 that is oriented towards zero emission between 2025 and 2030, but staying closer to us, 2021 will be the stage for major technical and sporting changes one of which is the inclusion of the Budget Cup

On this matter, I believe that a serious mistake has been made by not bringing it forward to next season. With the current regulations 2020 will be the scene for crazy spending by the three top teams which will have the possibility to move far ahead of the remaining 7 teams. Those who will be able to spend money next season will be able to enjoy a considerable advantage that will have a positive impact on the following years. For this reason I do not expect a major inversion of the forces in play which as it happens was the main objective for containing the costs.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp USA, MINARDI “The challenge is open between Mercedes-Ferrari-Red Bull. Waiting for Thursday’s press conference”

21.10.2018- Race,

Formula 1 comes to Austin from Mexico City for the third round of the world championship. We are coming from an interesting grand prix that saw four drivers cross the finishing line within 6” with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Sebastian Vettel, team mate Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc who was the unfortunate protagonist of a particularly slow pit stop that cost him the podium.
Max Verstappen was missing from the fight, having paid dearly for his mistake in qualifying. I expect an equally tight duel along the 15.5 km between the three top teams with Mercedes leading the group together with the British champion who is preparing to celebrate his sixth personal world championship title.

It is not enough to have the best car to win but it needs the highest perfection under every aspect. The slightest imperfection is paid for dearly. We are facing an exciting end of season that can only be a good omen for 2020.

After a first part of the season that was not easy Ferrari defended itself, especially with the pole positions and it let us see that it is in the running, even if there was no lack of problems with reliability and some mistakes in strategy. Last year after Lewis Hamilton’s pole it was ex Ferrari driver Raikonnen who brought home the win. The Finn is passing through an uneasy period with Alfa Romeo, even if he was not helped by the team that was the protagonist of too many mistakes, especially concerning Giovinazzi. The eighth position that they currently occupy in the ladder reflects their potential but here in Austin they could come back into the points zone.

This is not an easy time even for Toro Rosso that was overtaken by their direct rivals Racing Point. Gasly saved the weekend in Mexico with an excellent performance bringing the team two points with Kvyat demoted to eleventh place after the penalty for the collision with Hulkenberg in the last lap.

Last weekend the tyres were the protagonists with Verstappen running practically the full race having changed tyres in the first lap after the collision with Bottas. Pirelli will also bring to Austin the hards (c2), mediums (c3) and softs (c4) with only Leclerc (of the top drivers) with 9 red sets, one more than Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel and Verstappen. Four sets of yellows for Bottas and Verstappen and two whites for Hamilton and Vettel.

As we await the the practice session we also await Thursday’s press conference where we will find out the guidelines for the 2021 season.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Mexico, Lewis Hamilton fears Ferrari. MINARDI “All pre-race tactics”

 

We have entered the week that brings us to the Mexico Grand Prix, the fourth last round of the world championship. Despite the declarations by Lewis Hamilton who sees Ferrari as the clear favourite, especially in the two long straights, I believe that both he and Mercedes remain the favourites and that the British driver will peacefully celebrate his sixth world championship.

The struggle for the title of vice champion is to be watched carefully with Bottas (274 points) in front of the two Ferrari drivers with Leclerc on 221 points in front of Vettel (212) who is tied with Verstappen. As has already happened in Japan, Mercedes could favour also favour the Finn driver to help him consolidate his position.

Even if they come from some subdued grands prix, they will have to watch their backs from Red Bull, the winner of the last two editions. The two straights are no help at time for the Honda engine but the chassis will know how to reduce the gap in the driven part.

On the tyre front, the three top teams have opted for different choices with 7 sets of Softs for Mercedes and Ferrari, against the 9 of Verstappen-Albon. Bottas will have at his disposal 4 Medium C3s, while Hamilton, Vettel and Leclerc five sets each with 3 for Red Bull. Two sets of the C2 Hard for the Finn driver against only 1 for his direct rivals.

It will be an interesting grand prix, both for the struggle at the top and also the various tirades that have exploded in recent weeks. The power of the Ferrari engine continues to cause discussion. I sincerely do not understand why these controversies have blown up so strongly in this part of the season. Until now nothing had come out and every clarification is important for the future but also from what we have learnt the project’s idea would not be forbidden. Racing Point’s protest against Renault has also dominated conversation and if confirmed could put into serious doubt the team’s permanence in the world championship.

As we wait to see what the GP in Mexico City will give us, I will be waiting for you on Friday morning at the Auto e moto d’epoca Fiera (Vintage Car and Motorcycle Fair) in Padua at the ACI stand where we will present the programme and the news of the 5th edition of the Historic Minardi Day scheduled from Friday April 24th to Sunday April 26th in Imola that this tear will host the ACI Storico (Historic) Festival.

Gian Carlo Minardi