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

F1 |GP EMILIA ROMAGNA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MERCEDES DOES NOT STOP AMAZING. I HOPE TO SEE IMOLA AGAIN IN 2021”

Even here in Imola Mercedes did not betray the expectations by putting onto the track its overwhelming power assisted by a perfect strategy. The people on the wall kept Hamilton out to give him the possibility to make up the gap from Bottas, so giving him the lead right in front of his team mate who, with second place, completed the latest perfect weekend by taking its seventh consecutive Constructors’’ title.

As well as setting a new record by overtaking Ferrari’s six titles during the Schumacher era it is disarming to see their strength. Hamilton took the fastest lap in the final lap stopping the watch at 1:15.484, bettering the performance by Bottas who could not go under 1:15.902.

Max Verstappen’s bad luck favoured Daniel Ricciardo who, with an excellent third place, took his third podium finish for the season season with a Renault this is growing. It was an equally positive result for Alpha Tauri which took fourth place with Kvyat.

Leclerc’s fifth place was a positive result in terms of the result, even if the gap in lap times is important. The Ferrari driver’s best time was 1:18.173 (1:17.767 for Sebastian Vettel).

Plaudits for the Imola circuit. Going back to the Santerno on the occasion of an F1 weekend was very good and everything went nicely, receiving the compliments of the drivers who appreciated the historic layout of the track. I hope that Imola can be put back into the World Championship again next year.

I take this opportunity to thank them once more for the lifetime achievement award that was given to me on Saturday.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP EMILIA ROMAGNA, MINARDI “RIGHT TO EXPERIMENT THE TWO DAYS”

Fourteen years after the past Grand Prix this weekend Formula 1 will make its return to Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit, albeit behind closed doors.

For Italy this will be the third round of the World Championship, a major show of strength for all our national territory and is preparing to lead the way for a programme over only the days of Saturday and Sunday. In a decidedly anomalous season which was able to give us a calendar that was certainly full of novelties on the circuit front it is right to experiment even if I do not believe it is the right way to limit the costs for the teams.

Of the current grid only Kimi Raikonnen has already raced a GP in Imola, while Latifi and Stroll have had the opportunity to get to know it during their stay in the ACI Championships. For 98% of the grid this will be a novelty.

Imola is a demanding track for cars and drivers who will have to pay attention to the gravel immediately off the track. Despite the time of year the weather should be positive with a temperature of around 12-14°C, without the risk of fog except in the early hours of the morning. Pirelli will bring the C2, C3 and C4 compounds. From the simulations the 4,909 m of the track should be run in barely 1’15”,

This Grand Prix is the result of great work by all the institutions, both locally and regionally, with a great contribution by Formula Imola. Finally I see a uniformity of point of view that could open new horizons for the circuit’s future. The background with the public would have been the icing on the cake.

Lewis Hamilton is getting ready to revise once more the new record of wins. It is incredible how Mercedes has not had its full of wins. At Portimao Hamilton was able to the improve his performance eighteen times up to definitively setting the race’s fastest lap, leaving his team mate more than half a second behind, Verstappen at 1”1 and Leclerc at 1”6.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP PORTUGAL, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “HAMILTON PULVERIZED BOTTAS. GREAT RAIKKONEN”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W11 driving through the gravel.
24.10.2020. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, Portuguese Grand Prix, Portimao, Portugal, Qualifying Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: [email protected] ¬© Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Portimao confirmed that it is a spectacular track, perfect for hosting a Formula 1 grand prix, by giving us exciting monuments in both qualifying and the race, also enlivened by a few drops of rain with a surprising start that saw Sainz take the lead for a few laps, as well as the spectacular start by Raikonnen who had taken sixth place.

Hamilton not only put way his 92nd win and set a new record for the number of win which will soon be updated but he outclassed Valtteri Bottas leaving him more than 25” behind more than 14 times and stopping the clock at 1’18”750. Ferrari managed to catch up with the second ranked teams, even if the fourth place came mainly thanks to Leclerc. It was surely a positive result, even if it still pays a second from Mercedes.

It was a race in which many drivers put themselves on show, starting with Gasly’s excellent fifth with Alpha Tauri. Like him Ocon was also good at managing his car and tyres managing to delay his pit stop and staying on the track for more than 52 of the 66 laps. As already stated, Sainz was also the protagonist of a good race, like Raikonnen who fought to take the point which was lost only to Vettel (tenth across the finish line).

Considering the initial presumptions we have witnessed an entertaining season. Leaving aside the double races on some circuits, which I honestly would not repeat, the new circuits did not betray the expectations.

In a week’s time Italy will host its third round, After Monza and Mugello it is now Imola’s turn. This is a historic track that needs no introduction and known to few drivers where there is gravel along the sides of the track. For the first time the weekend’s programme will be grouped in only two days. Another novelty.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP PORTUGAL, MINARDI “ONE EYE ON THE TRACK, ONE ON THE BACK OF THE PITS”

Formula 1 makes its return to Portugal for the twelfth round of the World Championship. However, on this occasion the circuit hosting the racing cars will not be Estoril but rather the new circuit of Portimao that was inaugurated in 2008.

Only Verstappen, Giovinazzi, Leclerc, Stroll, Albon and Norris (the latter on the occasion of an F1 test) have had the opportunity to test it on a race weekend. It is a demanding track in which you need to find the right compromise of speed and aerodynamic load since it is characterized by various natural ups and downs, straights and high performance bends. Pirelli will bring the three hardest compounds (C1-C2-C3) but during FP2 there will be a hint of 2021 with the new compounds.

On the weather front the influence of the Atlantic Ocean could make itself felt but I do not think that Hamilton will struggle to take his 92nd win.

In addition to the show on the track it will also be necessary to follow the movements at the back of the pits with the latest developments on the drivers’ market. Keep an eye also on movements on the managerial front with Mercedes’ President Ola Källenius determined to increase his decision making power on the team. This could open a number of scenarios. Of course the unknown factor of the engines remains to be resolved after Honda’s departure.

There a various ingredients to better experience the new round of the World Championship as we await Imola.

Gian Carlo Minardi