F1 | THE BRITISH GP, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “BRAVO SAINZ, BUT RED BULL IS A CUT ABOVE. SAFETY CAR? ITS ENTRY WAS WRONG”

Excitement was not lacking in Silverstone, the stage for the tenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship. Once again the excellent work on the safety front by FIA in recent years avoided the worst with the terrible accident that saw Alfa Romeo driver Guan Yu Zhou as the protagonist, miraculously coming out of the accident unhurt. Honestly however, I cannot understand how it was possible that the roll bar of the C42 was completely destroyed and torn up.

Luckily the Halo held on saving the driver. In Formula 2 Roy Nissany was hit by Dennis Hauger after his car took off and struck the DAMS team racing car in the area of the cockpit.

At the restart we saw an unexpected race with Ferrari winning with Carlos Sainz who had already shown his potential in qualifying. However, Ferrari was once again imperfect, committing a careless act in regard to an excellent Leclerc. Without the entry of the safety car in the final part that reshuffled the cards he would certainly have taken home the win and thus taking advantage of Red Bull’s imperfect Sunday with Max Verstappen who had to settle for seventh place. Ferrari’s people on the wall could have changed the strategies bringing the driver from Monte Carlo in for a pit stop. Sainz’s win however made me very happy as I have always highlighted and believed in his potential.

On the Safety Car front, I honestly found the decision “trivial” if not unnecessary. Ocon’s car was at a very visible point on the track and they could have chosen the yellow flag. Certainly Alpine’s French driver was not exempt from blame since from the start of their career drivers are taught that in the case of problems they must park the car without hindering the race. He had plenty of time to choose a safer place.

Apart from these episodes, Silverstone gave us back a competitive Mercedes was able to fight with Ferrari and Red Bull. Sainz, Leclerc, Perez and Hamilton gave us a wonderful tussle marked by fast laps. Lewis Hamilton made the most of his W13, Too bad for the accident that excluded George Russell who had not fault.

Excellent work on the part of Red Bull’s people on the wall, with a perfect strategy that allowed Sergio Perez to finish in second place. Without problems the RB18 is a cut above the rest. Excellent work by Fernando Alonso as well, the protagonist of a good first half of the championship. Once again he showed all his worth, especially on a wet track.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP CANADA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “VERSTAPPEN EXTRAORDINARY. SAINZ GAVE HIS UTMOST”

Once again these young men kept us with bated breath until the last of the scheduled seventy laps. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz challenged each other lapping constantly under the barrier of 1’16” with the Ferrari driver setting the fastest lap of the race with 1’15”749 crossing the finishing line less than a second behind the winner.

Verstappen drove a great race without making the slightest mistake. Carlos Sainz made his best performance in two years. At this time Ferrari cannot exploit its power-unit to the fullest. Despite the DRS the Spanish driver was unable to attack the Dutchman. From the chassis, aerodynamics and engine points of view Red Bull is perfect right now. What stopped Perez is to be understood.

With fifth place Charles Leclerc limited the damage bringing home a solid race. Certainly the 49 point gap from Verstappen is starting to weigh heavily, especially against a rival in such good shape even if he gained a lot on the Mexican. From here to the end reliability will dominate because three engines are too few and there is still a long way to go.

Lewis Hamilton returned to the podium, the author of an intelligent race supported by valid strategy by Mercedes’ men on the wall. After the Baku GP he was disheartened and this result could help him.

In qualifying Fernando Alonso showed he can still make the difference but in the long run the car’s difficulties came out, closing the race in sixth place (with Ocon) and seventh place. A result that reflects their real position. They probably could have let “Nando” return to the pits a few laps earlier instead of keeping him on the track. Also worthy of note was Zhou Guanyu’s eighth place, finishing behind his team mate Valtteri Bottas and ahead of Lance Stroll.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP AZERBAIJAN THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A ONE WAY RACE. A HARMFUL RESULT FOR FERRARI”

It was a one way grand prix with Max Verstappen decidedly strong. He took the win ahead of Sergio Perez who completed the double for Red Bull strengthening Red Bull’s leadership in both ladders. Now Verstappen’s lead over Leclerc has risen to 34 points with the Ferrari driver also behind Perez.

Two “zeroes” in two races are harmful and worrying. In order to follow its direct rivals Ferrari paid in reliability. The evolutionary step in the engine was not supported by reliability and in a week it will be grand prix time again on a track like Montreal’s that is very demanding for both the engine and the brakes.

In such a packed calendar and tightly fought championship it becomes doubly difficult to recover since the time is lacking to analyze and remedy the problems. After a difficult start at the present time Red Bull is decidedly more reliable. On the performance front Ferrari and Leclerc have shown all the goodness of the project taking an important qualifying session but in the race the forces in the field changed. Unlike Monte Carlo the people on the wall guessed the strategy quickly. Unfortunately this was nullified by the reliability.

It was the eighth positive result for George Russell who took third place ahead of Lewis Hamilton and fourth place in the driver’s ladder. Too bad to see the seven times world champion suffer like this and who, amongst other things, complained about back pain due to porpoising. With the races run so closely together it also becomes hard to recover physically.

A positive result for Gasly immediately behind the top teams. It was a good race by Sebastian Vettel who recovered quickly from a mistake in the final stages finishing in sixth position ahead of a decent Alonso. In a year that has not been positive up till now Ricciardo’s finish with his McLaren in eighth place ahead of Lando Norris is to be noted.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP MONACO, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI. HOW MANY GIFTS. MONACO AN OUTDATED TRACK”

After Spain, even here in Monaco Ferrari gave its direct rivals important points in both the drivers and constructors championships. When you are solidly in the first and second place you cannot and must not make mistakes in strategy, especially on a track like this one where overtaking is impossible. Once you lose the position the discussion is over. In Monaco you pay double for the slightest mistake.

The duel between Red Bull and Ferrari is very tight, as is shown by the order across the finish line with four cars within a space of barely two seconds. Once again the seven points lost by Leclerc in Imola weigh heavily. Now the gap has grown to nine points but we are in a gap in which it is still possible to recover. At Baku however, the recovery must begin. The same goes for the constructors where Ferrari lost even more ground but with fifteen grands prix still to be raced everything is possible. The second part of the world championship will be crucial especially in terms of reliability.

At the end of the race Ferrari presented a protest against the exit from the pits by Max Verstappen maintaining that the Dutch driver touched the yellow line. Until now there had been a uniformity of view and respect of the regulations but in this case I noticed a certain superficiality. After having accepted the protest the college of marshals confirmed the order of arrival and the win and third place of Perez and Verstappen. Today created a dangerous precedent.

Like every year, the arrival of the circus onto the streets of the Principality opened the debate on the track. As far as I am concerned, as of today the grand prix has nothing to say on the technical and sporting sides. Only the extra sporting charm remains. I believe that it is now an outdated race. We again saw how difficult (if not impossible) it is to overtake. The driver still manages, in part, to stand out, in particular in the flying lap as we saw in qualifying with Leclerc or Alonso in the race. Despite a car in difficulty he held seven rivals (one of whom was Hamilton) at bay recompacting the group behind him, also causing harm for his team mate Ocon considering the five second penalty. With these technologically advanced cars it is not as selective as it once was.

On show were also George Russell, once again in the top-5 with the Mercedes, and Lando Norris, author of the race’s fastest lap. The accident with Michael Schumacher was also very strange. The car jerked abnormally crashing into the wall destroying his Haas which split in two. I do not feel like accusing him of a mistake because it could have come from a technical problem or a failure.

Now let us wait and see what will happen in Baku which is an anomalous track.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SPAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “WELCOME BACK MERCEDES. SAINZ, HOW MANY MISTAKES”

We put away a Spanish grand prix full of turning points, conditioned by mistakes and reliability problems. Too bad for Ferrari and Leclerc who would have deserved a win after the extraordinary qualifying and management of the race until the retirement. On the other hand it was a subdued performance by Carlos Sainz.

He was the protagonist of many mistakes that not long ago were certainly not part of his DNA. He must shake up his season and give his contribution to the team. With the car available to him he could have at the least reached the podium. Instead he finished behind not only the two Red Bulls but also George Russell’s Mercedes. Amongst other things, taking fourth place in the final lap at the expense of a great Lewis Hamilton who was forced to slow down to cross the finish line.

Thanks to this double Red Bull overtook Ferrari in the Championship by 26 points with Max Verstappen at the head of the ladder, six points ahead of Leclerc. The seven points lost in Imola have taken their toll on the position on the ladder of the driver from Monte Carlo. As we have always said, this is a world championship that will be won on single points and reliability. Every mistake costs double. The RB in itself is not a perfect car but today took the team both cars to the finish line completing a double. For the first time Sergio Perez showed signs of nervousness with his team, even if I am convinced that he would not have taken the win. The people on the RB wall could have managed the situation better.

As I expected, Mercedes took a good step forward. Lewis Hamilton was the author of a fantastic race. From last position he rose up to fourth place setting excellent times. Perez took the fastest lap away from him only in the end. Russell is also to be applauded for once again making the podium and important points for the team. He is confirming he is an excellent driver.

Positive times also came from Alpine that placed the two cars in the top-10 with Ocon in seventh place and Alonso in ninth after having started in last place. A point for Tsunoda who is putting a tired Gasly in difficulty. On the other hand the new Aston Martin has been postponed again.

Now on with Monte Carlo.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP MIAMI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “REB BULL SUPERIOR IN THE LONG RUN. MERCEDES IS MAKING A COME BACK”

Once again Red Bull showed its superiority over Ferrari in the long run. A Ferrari that in a “one off” lap had placed its cars in first and second place but in the race must fight against a Red Bull that, at the moment, is slightly superior to it. The gap between the two teams is not large but today it was enough to bring home the win despite a fierce Leclerc. Verstappen was formidable.

Bravo Carlos Sainz who completed his task by completing the podium for Ferrari and keeping Perez in fourth place. An excellent result for the constructors’ Word Championship.

Behind Red Bull and Ferrari we saw McLaren again. Maybe they needed a few more weeks to try and resolve their problems. As I expected, they are coming back. We are talking about a top team that knows how to face and resolve complicated situations. Russell, helped by the entry of the Safety car, is showing all his worth by putting Hamilton in difficulty. The “hunger” for success and the desire to emerge is giving him the extra motivation to get the better of the seven times world champion.

On the other hand, the final collision between Vettel and Schumacher favoured Albon. With tenth place he gave Williams another point, proving that he is up to the task entrusted to him.

Luckily they are now coming back to Europe. The Miami track did not give the spectacle that was expected.  It is a questionable circuit. We had only one safety-car while everybody certainly expected something more. Above all on the entertainment front which the Americans are so fond of.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP MIAMI, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MIAMI A MOVIE SET”

Formula 1 is ready to start on the engines for the first time on the new Miami street circuit. Once again we find ourselves facing a very fast street circuit and this leaves me perplexed.

I am certainly in favour of having some street circuits in the calendar but now we are going too far. Furthermore, these are tracks with very high top speeds. On the safety front, this seems a contradiction to me despite the cars being very safe.

In order to make a good impression and to attract a bigger audience whose trend is for net growth, Liberty Media has done anything and everything. It seems to me we are watching a Hollywood movie set with the icing of the “fake port”.

On the track front, with the exclusion of Red Bull that should have lost a further 3-4 kilograms, the teams have announced no new developments which should be seen in Europe, starting with Spain for both logistic and time reasons. Furthermore, bringing major developments onto a track with no points of reference (if not virtual on the simulators) can be a big risk, above all in such a hard fought championship. Even Pirelli has been cautious by opting the “middle” C2*C3-C4 compounds. It is a track that puts a lot of strain on the right rear with very variable weather.

Considering the great competitiveness of all the teams this is certainly an important round in view of the world championship and the slightest mistake is paid doubly. The duel between Ferrari and Red Bull is very fiery and guarantees the audience continuity on the spectacle front in line with last season. This is being transformed into a growing audience.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP IMOLA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “AN EXTRAORDINARY AUDIENCE OF TRUE FANS”

First of all I want to thank the 130,307 fans who filled and coloured Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit. It was a positive result and they deserve an extraordinary cheer. Despite the water and the mud they stayed until the end with an exceptional invasion of the track. In all the three days we had a sporting, correct and competent audience. Under the podium they applauded the winners.

It was incredible to see the thousands of fans who, on the Saturday, stayed until the end to also watch the Formula 2 race. It was a result that is difficult to see in other circuits.

On the racing front Max Verstappen and Red Bull dominated the whole weekend taking pole position, sprint race, grand prix and the fastest lap. They were the masters of Ferrari’s home. It was a result that must certainly make Ferrari think. The team says goodbye to Imola with only sixth place to its credit, the result of a mistake in the final stages. In view of the world championship Leclerc would have done well to settle for third place but in that moment he was catching up to Perez and he tried to attack the Mexican to try and take second place.

It was the first mistake of a very long season that promises to be tight and played on the edge of thousandths of a second and on every single point. It becomes fundamental not to give any advantage to the rivals.

With this win Verstappen goes to second place on the ladder, 27 points behind the driver from Monte Carlo who crossed the finish line in sixth place ahead of the excellent Tsunoda. It was a decidedly negative weekend for Carlos Sainz who is not going through a good personal moment. In qualifying he made a stupid mistake that he partially remedied with a good come back in the sprint race. In the race he was slightly touched by Ricciardo but there is contributory blame. This was a race accident but with a high price.

McLaren confirmed it is the third force of the world championship with Lando Norris who completed the Imoa podium. We saw the Aston Martins once again in the points zone with both its drivers and Magnussen who brought another two points to Haas. It was a positive day for Valtteri Bottas too and Alfa Romeo   with a fifth place finish behind an excellent George Russell. The Englishman consolidated fourth place on the ladder and overshadowed Lewis Hamilton, only fourteenth just like at the end of the sprint race.

Now Formula 1 will move to Miami but the Imola Circuit is ready to host new and exciting races including the Le Mans Series in mid May, the DTM the month after, the Historic Minardi Day at the end of August and the ACI Weekends.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP IMOLA, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “120.000 TIMES THANK YOU. SATURDAY’S SPRINT RACE IS TO BE FOLLOWED CAREFULLY”

After two editions behind closed doors the Imola Circuit is ready to host its fans and the response from the enthusiasts has been sensational. We have exceeded the incredible quota of 120,000 tickets sold and there is still some availability for Friday and Saturday that can be purchased on TicketOne.

Unlike the past editions this weekend will also see the return of the support races and the race programme is interesting. Together with Formula 1 there will be the Formula 3, Formula 2 and Porsche Supercup races.

On Friday Formula 1 qualifying will determine the grid for the start of the sprint race of one hundred kilometres scheduled for Saturday afternoon. In the first three rounds we had a very hard fought start with great competitiveness amongst the cars. This could change with a truly interesting race that could give us an innovative grid for Sunday. And the new points system which will assign world championship points for the first eight placings is not to be underestimated.

On the competition front the challenge between Ferrari and Red Bull will be rekindled. Charles Leclerc will take to the track as the world championship leader with two wins and a second place to his credit against the two retirements of the reigning champion. We are only at the fourth round and the championship is still too long to make predictions. Then we will have to pay attention to Mercedes that in Australia already showed important signs of growth.

It will be interesting to know if and how many new developments the teams will bring to the track considering the little time available and the subsequent trip to Miami before the return to Europe with Spain. I believe that there are the conditions to experience a wonderful weekend of Motorsport.

2022 will be a year to frame for the Circuit. In addition to Formula 1 we have hosted the opening race of the GT World Challenge with a record paying audience which will be followed by the Ski weekends, the Le Mans Series in mid May, the DTM the month after, the Historic Minardi Day (27-28 August) and the Ferrari World Championship Finals. I have a lot of good memories of this track but even that accursed May 1st remains indelible…

Gian Carlo Minardi

GIAN CARLO MINARDI ELECTED AS PRESIDENT OF THE FIA SINGLE-SEATER COMMISSION

Gian Carlo Minardi, the eponymous Formula One team founder, has been elected as President of the FIA Single-Seater Commission.

The Italian has been elected after an e-voting process by members of the World Motor Sport Council.

Starting out as a competitor in Hill Climb and Rallying in the late 60s, Mr Minardi switched to management by running teams in Formula Italia. He eventually took his successful Formula Two operation into Formula 1 in 1985 where an engine supply partnership with Ferrari followed.

The Minardi name featured in Formula 1 until it was acquired by Paul Stoddart in 2001. The team eventually morphed into Scuderia Toro Rosso and has been known as Alpha Tauri since 2020. It still operates from the original Minardi team base in Faenza, Italy.

At the Minardi team, Gian Carlo Minardi shaped the careers of a number of Formula One drivers including Gian Carlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber and current BWT Alpine F1 Team pilot Fernando Alonso.

He is President of the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI) Land Speed Records Commission since 2004.

In 2020, Mr Minardi was elected President of the Autdodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, better known as Imola, the site of Formula 1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to be staged on April 24.

Mr Minardi will oversee a Single-Seater Commission which has been instrumental in reshaping the FIA’s junior racing portfolio while introducing innovative technologies and improved safety measures in recent years.

FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, said: “I warmly welcome the election of Gian Carlo Minardi as FIA Single-Seater Commission President. He is a major figure in motor sport. I look forward to working with him to further develop the Single-Seater pyramid around the world.

F1 | GP AUSTRIALIA, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “NOW I AM WAITING FOR ALL OF YOU IN IMOLA”

Pole position, fastest lap, the win and always at the top of the ladder. Charles Leclerc and Ferrari dominated the Melbourne weekend taking the second win in the first three rounds of the season with a second place also to its credit.

A Ferrari that transmits calm, in addition to an important supremacy, especially in terms of reliability for the rest of the season. The fastest lap set by Leclerc in the final lap is a decidedly positive sign, as well as the progression of times from the 31st to the 40th laps. It is a Ferrari great in great shape that must exploit to the fullest this positive moment by accumulating the largest margin possible in the two ladders. Too bad for Carlos Sainz. If he had been a little unlucky in qualifying, he made an amateur’s mistake in the race. After a bad start he may have become nervous.

It was the second forced stop for Max Verstappen, the only one at the moment he can stay close to Ferrari, at least in the times. It is an uphill road for Red Bull on the reliability front and at the present time it is in third place in the constructors’ ladder behind Mercedes with Russell climbing to second place with 37 points (against the 71 of the driver from Monaco).

Today we already saw an improvement in Mercedes. They won eight world titles in the last eight years and they certainly know how to react. For the second time, helped by the retirement of the Dutch driver, they took the third step on the podium, this time with Russell who finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren put itself on show again after the “crisis” in Saudi Arabia. They confirmed they are the fourth force in the world championship. The result in Jeddah was probably only an isolated episode. We must congratulate FIA that got the regulations right and Pirelli that brought fantastic tyres. Even if we are only at the third race weekend we have all the conditions for seeing an exciting world championship

I am waiting for you all in Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari International Circuit for the first European round. Amongst other things there will also be the first sprint race of the season. I hope to see the circuit full of fans starting from Friday to show the whole world that the passion for Motorsport beats strongly in Italy too.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP AUSTRALIA, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “AN INTERLOCUTORY RACE”

After an absence of two years Formula 1 returns to Albert Park. In Melbourne the teams and drivers will find a renewed and very fast circuit. Bends 1, 3 and 6 have been changed with the removal of bend 8 that has been transformed into a straight. There are 4 DRS zones.

Despite all these changes I do not expect an upheaval of the forces on the field. I expect an interlocutory grand prix where reliability will dominate. Ferrari is building its strong point on this front with Mercedes forced to give chase. On the tyre front, Pirelli will bring the C2-C3-C5 compounds. This is a reason for attention and evaluation, especially during free practice.

Only with the arrival in Europe, particularly the Spanish GP considering the unknown quantity of Miami, the teams will bring the first major evolutions with an eye on the budget cap. At this moment the focus is on the “slimming cure”.

As we wait for the Made in Italy and the Emilia-Romagna GP, it was very nice to see Imola once again full of fans with a positive attendance record. Certainly the debut of Valentino Rossi contributed to this result but it was also due to the desire of Italians to go back to touch Motorsport to the full. There is not only Formula 1. This year the circuit has very rich racing calendar and the Motor Valley is the centre of the motoring world. Last Sunday we watched a very tight three hour race that ended on the edge of seconds with excellent drivers and teams, with beautiful cars.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SAUDI ARABIA, THE POINY BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “WHAT A BATTLE BETWEEN FERRARI AND RED BULL”

We saw a wonderful grand prix and I am very satisfied with what I saw. An exciting season awaits us with a battle played on the edge of thousandths of a second but very correct between two great drivers and teams who will certainly know how to entertain us. I am satisfied with the current race management which was much more attentive than in the recent past. There is uniformity of views in the decisions taken and I hope it can continue on the same path.

Seeing a win slip away in the last three laps certainly leaves a bitter taste in the mouth but Ferrari confirmed its competitiveness that consolidates its lead in the ladder but we are only in the second GP. They will have to continue working hard because in front of them is a Red Bull that is exceedingly beautiful to look at and much more stable compared to the Ferrari that must compromise by giving something away in speed.

Mercedes is still in difficulty. It was not exempt from errors of strategy both on the occasion of the Safety Car and the start with the hard compounds. They gave a big sign to the direct rivals. Russell was much better than Hamilton during all the weekend, however, I am convinced that they will know how to solve their problems quickly and with the arrival in Europe the fight could extend to three.

It was an interesting GP in the rear with a lot of overtaking even if there was no lack of reliability problems in Alpha Tauri, McLaren and Alpine. There is a great competition and above all overtaking is possible in breaking.

Now we will see what will happen in two weeks in Australia.

 

Gian Carlo Minardi