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

F1 | MINARDI “Hamilton? The best today”

At Suzuka Mercedes put its hands on its sixth consecutive constructors’’ title, equalling Ferrari’s record, but in Mexico City Lewis Hamilton could once again wear the champion’s crown and so take another step towards Michael Schumacher’s record.

The numbers talk for Lewis Hamilton. In Mexico he will be able to celebrate his sixth world title. This year too he left nothing to chance, even if he did make some mistakes, as did the team,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi on Pit Talk’s microphones.

He certainly has the best car. In Suzuka he also proved his technical worth, as he showed with his times.

In the 46th lap he broke all the records with 1.30.9, while in the 49th lap, despite the new tyres, Leclerc did not go under 1.31.611. We’re talking of a difference of 6-7 tenths of a second.

Today, Hamilton for me is the best of the lot. In the moments that count he always made the difference, just as Mercedes is the car to beat. They have been flying towards 2020 for some time and they know this well in Maranello. This year they equalled Ferrari’s record and the people in Brackley want to break it

Gian Carlo Minardi highlighted how tight the duel between Mercedes and Ferrari is in this final part of the season. “They have to be absolutely perfect in order to beat them as happened in Spa, Monza and Singapore. In Japan we had a Ferrari with two faces. In qualifying it was perfect, putting together an unexpected 1-2 with perfect laps by Vettel and Leclerc. In the race on the other hand, it was all wiped out with a wrong start by Vettel and a mistake at the first bend of a 53 lap GP by Charles.

“In the race the German held off an unrestrained Hamilton. Could he have done more with a better start? We can’t know, even if it would have been difficult. Ferrari has made significant progress but there are still dark holes,” concluded the manager from Faenza.

13.10.2019- Podium, 2nd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF90

F1 | Gp Japan, MINARDI “Vettel/Leclerc? The stopwatch must be the referee”

GP Giappone F1 1992

The Formula 1 World Championship Circus arrives in Japan for the seventeenth round on the Suzuki circuit, one of the world’s most beautiful tracks. This is an Old School track with many pitfalls and with no paved escape route where every mistake is punished.

This is a demanding track for both the cars and the drivers. We are coming from five years of domination by Mercedes and it will not be easy for the rivals to interrupt this positive streak, even if in the latest rounds Ferrari managed to overturn the predictions, in the hope that the team has resolved the reliability problems that conditioned the result in Russia with Sebastian Vettel’s withdrawal when he was in command.

The unknown factor is the cyclone approaching for Friday and Saturday, while the race should be dry. On the tyre front Pirelli has brought the hardest mixes, with Mercedes more conservative compared to its direct rivals. If the majority of drivers has opted for 1 set of C1s (White Hard), Hamilton and Bottas have chosen 4 mixes of C2 (Yellow Medium) against the 3 of Ferrari and Red Bull with 8 C4s (Red Soft) against the 8 of Vettel-Leclerc and Verstappen-Albon.

In recent days the internal struggle between Vettel and Leclerc has held sway. Binotto will surely know how to manage it for the best, even if it is positive for a team that aims to win. We have come into the final phase of the season with only 5 GPs to be fought that could decide the future team structure. Leclerc is young, 22 and in his first season with a top team and he has a future as a champion in front of him, while Vettel must find once more the serenity to come back and exploit his abilities to the full. I am convinced that the true referee should be the stopwatch and to leave the drivers free to fight, always in the best interest of the team.

Staying on the young drivers’ front, Mercedes and Toto Wolff have made a good move, bringing back into the negotiations Lando Norris who brought the supply of the German power-unit to McLaren. This is a nice move for both, a little less for Renault that at the moment is without client teams should it continue in 2021, even if I have my reservations.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Russia, MINARDI “Mercedes is the car to beat”

We are on the eve of the Russian Grand Prix, the sixteenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship. We come from consecutive three wins by Ferrari that were enhanced by its first double of the season, achieved on the hostile Singapore track that brought some valuable tranquillity in the Racing Department of Maranello.

We come to a circuit that is not easy and characterized by a fast section that favours the SF90 with a very slow final section that should make Mercedes and Red Bull smile. I prefer using the conditional in light of the result on the Marina Bay Circuit.

Despite the fourth and fifth placings by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas last week, I am still convinced that the car to beat is still the Mercedes. Last year they dominated far and wide, “playing” with the rivals, but this year nothing is written yet.

The climatic conditions can make the difference since the teams will find temperatures lower than Singapore. On the tyre front, Mercedes and Ferrari have opted for different strategies with 8 sets of the Softs the world champions against the 9 for Ferrari and Verstappen. Two sets of Hards for Bottas against one for Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc and Verstappen, with 4 Mediums for Hamilton against the three of his main rivals.

We are the end of September and there are thirty days to go to the day to end the work of defining the 2021 regulations, there is no uniformity of view from the teams. This is not minor obstacle considering that a unanimous vote is needed. I am still convinced that the definition of Constructor is to be defended to prevent the creation of clones which would lead to the creation of a huge gap between teams. It would be a major financial damage for the image of Formula 1. I have always fought for this, with Frank Williams as an ally.

One final consideration before saying goodbye. In recent days there has been much talk about the drivers’ market and Haas’ move amazed us. They talk about continuity, but sincerely this is incomprehensible in consideration of the current performance of the two drivers. I am convinced they gave everything they could. It would have been opportune to confirm one and to bring fresh air into the team. With the current situation Hulkenberg risks being left out. His name has been linked with Alfa Romeo but I am convinced that Antonio Giovinazzi deserves to be confirmed. He certainly has made some mistakes but the team too has not been exempt from Kamikaze decisions with highly questionable strategies.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Driver standings after Singapore GP

With the second place in Singapore Charles Leclerc went behind Valtteri Bottas with a gap of 31 points and equal to Max Verstappen. Red Bull’s Dutch driver keeps fourth place by 6 points, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, while Lewis Hamilton continues to lead the ladder with 296 points.

F1 | Constructor Standings after Singapore GP

With the double in Singapore by Vettel and Leclerc, Ferrari consolidated second place in the constructor’s ladders (394 points) and reduced the gap from Mercedes (527 point) to 133 points and increased the extended the gap from Red Bull in third place with 289 points.

With Lando Norris’ seventh place in Marina Bay McLaren confirms that it is the fourth force of the world championship with 89 points, ahead of Renault (67), Toro Rosso (55) and Racing Point (46).

F1 | Qualification Race, MINARDI “There are other solutions”

Today there is only one solution that could become reality as soon as next season, even if only in part-time mode.

We are talking about the Qualification Race, one of the topics discussed in Geneva in the offices of the International Federation that found particular support between the parties. This would be a mini-race of 100 kilometres to be run on the Saturday, the result of which would decide the starting grid of the Grand Prix. The desire would be (the conditional is compulsory since it is only a proposal) to invert the ladder of the diver’s World Championship for the starting grid of the Qualification Race. Therefore, as of today Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas would start form the back row with George Russell in pole position.

We have adopted the Qualifying Race in our TCR DSG Endurance Italian Championship as well, with a 10” sprint race that is valid for the starting grid of the endurance race. It is very spectacular to watch but I do not know how much it can be applied to the context of Formula since there are problems to be dealt with, starting with the wear of the clutch and transmission as we will have two starts,” was the analysis of Gian Carlo Minardi, interviewed by Minardi.it.

If they truly want to change, I would take a step back to 2005 when the driver had only one fast lap available to make his best time, taking to the track in inverted order across the finish line of the previous race,” proposed the manager from Faenza, “Doing it in this way would give the driver and the team the maximum visibility and it would prevent traffic problems or playing with the slipstream.

Time is running out and 20121 is upon us. We are almost at the end of September and the teams have not yet agreed on the new technical regulations. We are approaching the end game and Singapore could be the setting for major meetings,” he finished.

F1 | Gp Italy, MINARDI “One swallow does not make a summer, but…”

One swallow does not make a summer but Leclerc’s win at Spa-Francorchamps only a week ago represents a nice breath of fresh air for both the world championship and Ferrari that broke its fast of wins.

We come to Monza, a track with low down force that on paper should favour Vettel and Leclerc, even if the tyres are an unknown factor. Leclerc was suffering during the final laps in Belgium and Hamilton was making up ground finishing only 9 tenths of a second behind him. In that part of the race all the team did excellent work, on both the strategy front and the order to Vettel who promptly made himself available.

We are talking about a very fast track that is also very demanding on the engine front with a total of 53 laps. Once more the strategies will be essential, as already happened last year with Hamilton who brought home the win.

It could be a more demanding weekend for Red Bull that is forced to pay the penalty of Verstappen starting from the back of the grid. But the arrival of Albon has strengthened the team’s forces on the field, as the fifth place showed. Considering that Mercedes and Hamilton are unreachable, Ferrari must consolidate second place in the constructors’ championship by trying to keep a safe distance from Red Bull.

This is also an important appointment for Antonio Giovinazzi. At Spa he made a protagonist with a solid performance, unfortunately wiped out by the mistake. In both Formula 2 and Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth he made himself a protagonist with important wins, which shows how much confidence this track gives him. We hope that he can put all his experience to good use.

I wish you a good grand prix and I look forward to seeing you all at Monza.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Belgium, MINARDI “Positivo lo scambio The Gasly-Albon swap was positive”

We have started the week of the Belgian Grand Prix. The scenographic Spa-Francorchamps track will host the thirteenth round and Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso gave us the most important news with the swap of Gasly/Albon. I am talking about turnover and not downgrading since it seems a plausible act to me between two teams with the same ownership, especially with an eye to the future.

Red Bull already knows the level of Kvyat who was the author of a podium finish in Germany, while it still does not know the full potential of the very young Alexander in his first season in the world championship. I think it is correct giving this opportunity in the light of 2020, especially when it has the possibility to take advantage of the resources “in the family”.

Red Bull Honda is growing strongly even if it must deal with the penalties on the motor front and with this action they want give themselves an advantage for next season in order to be more competitive and winning.

Last year in Spa-Francorchamps Ferrari scored an important win with Sebastian Vettel and we hope that this could be a good omen for this year as well. Some sections of the track are certainly an advantage for the “red car” even if Red Bull will be a tough and important adversary. We are faced with a championship that has little more to tell us on the final result with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton launched towards his sixth World Championship but a win by the team from Maranello could be a good visiting card for the Italian Grand Prix scheduled for the weekend of September 8th.

There is an exciting duel behind the top three teams with McLaren in the lead as the fourth force in the world championship with 82 points, in front of Toro Rosso (43 points) that must try to not nullify the work carried out up to now by defending fifth place from Renault (39 points).

Gian Carlo Minardi