From pole to victory. It was the perfect weekend for Verstappen and Red Bull which consolidated the lead in the ladders. Max managed to patch up the mistake at the start by getting the better over Lewis Hamilton at the end, also helped by the excellent work by his pit.

Another mistake in strategy by Mercedes which suffered excessive wear of the tyres with both the medium and the hard mixes. I have the distinct sensation that there is not the necessary calm inside the team and that we could be faced with the end of an extraordinary cycle. At this moment Red Bull is ahead of Toto Wolff’s men. They are very well organized and can count on a fantastic chassis and a Honda Power-Unit in great shape.

Hamilton again made the difference during a weekend that was unfavourable to them, unlike Bottas who did not make the difference in regards to both Verstappen and Perez.

As was to be expected, after two poles positions there was a step back by Ferrari that even said goodbye to Le Castellet outside the points zone with eleventh and sixteenth places. From the early laps they suffered from excessive wear of the tyres with Leclerc making the first pit stop in the fifteenth lap.  McLaren did very well taking fifth and sixth places with Norris and Ricciardo and once again took back third place. Ricciardo finally managed to keep up with his team mate.

It was also a positive weekend for Alpha Tauri, seventh with Gasly, and for Alonso and Vettel, with Stroll finishing in the top ten after having started from the back.

Contrary to what we thought, we saw an exciting grand prix with an incredible duel between Red Bull and Mercedes. Now we await the double trip to Red Bull’s home, Austria… The world championship could take a nice turn.

Gian Carlo Minardi


After two grands prix on street circuits we return to a permanent circuit in which Mercedes has always done very well. It is a track with paved escape routes and characterized by two long straights and 15 curves that should certainly favour the two Mercedes. Verstappen can try to defend himself but it will be difficult for Red Bull to oppose them. The heat, as well as the wind, will be two characteristics that should not to be underestimated but I do not expect an exciting grand prix.

Ferrari comes from two positive results in which it showed positive growth and at the Paul Ricard the team is called to an important test in the fast curves but it must not lose sight of the objective of the third place in the World Championship by trying to oppose a McLaren that in the last two rounds has not exactly been up to par.

It will also be interesting to follow the development of Vettel and Alonso who at Baku put on display all their experience, especially in the re-start. For Vettel the podium will be a nice breath of fresh air and I hope he really has recovered from the crisis. By going from Ferrari to Aston Martin this year he has put himself in discussion. Unlike Monte Carlo and Baku, Le Castellet is a track where the car and engine are fundamental. The driver’s skill can make less of a difference.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Although it is still the car of reference, it is clear that Mercedes has lost the great advantage that we were used to. Mercedes is suffering at the moment, as shown by Valtteri Bottas’ results, today he even finished outside the points zone. Despite the mistake at the restart Lewis Hamilton managed to hide his car’s currents difficulties. You do not see Mercedes say goodbye to a GP with zero points every weekend.

On the other hand we have a Red Bull in great shape that, thanks to Sergio Perez’s win, managed to extend its lead on the ladder. The Mexican replied on the field to Marko’s declarations on his renewal. He is certainly not new in this type of performance and he is a driver that I really like. At this moment he only has to improve in qualifying.

It was a Grand Prix that was flying by anonymously enough until Verstappen left the scene. Race management opted for a restart, surely a new way that we will have to get used to. Like it or not, the final two laps were exhilarating and they certainly cancelled what had happened (or not happened) up to that point. The tussle between Leclerc and Gasly was very good with Alpha Tauri’s Frenchman responding promptly to the Ferrari driver’s assault and he went onto the podium.

After yesterday’s pole position today’s result reflects the true potential of Ferrari which however leapt over McLaren on the ladder. The forces on the field are lining up and there are a number of tussles on the field that will certainly entertain us in the next rounds. The level of the championship is very high and the difference is very tight. This Saturday we again saw in Q2 ten cars enclosed in a few tenths of a second.

Congratulations also to Vettel. After the positive result in Monte Carlo he went onto the podium in second place. It was a result that will certainly lift his spirits. It may be a little early but he is coming out of the “tunnel”.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Azerbaijan is ready to host its fifth grand prix on the Baku street circuit. After last season’s “forced” break Formula 1 returns to the 6,003 metres of asphalt situation in the old part.

With three wins shared between Rosberg, Hamilton and Bottas Mercedes arrives as the big favourite, even if Red Bull (which boasts a win with Daniel Ricciardo in the 2018 edition) is galvanized by top place in both the ladders thanks to Verstappen’s win in Monte Carlo.

Keep an eye also on Valtteri Bottas who has already shown that he can go fast on this track. The Finn will want to try to redeem himself after the very unlucky pit stop in the Principality. It will be very hard to see Ferrari in the lead once again. Seeing the layout of the track it will not be able to benefit from the traction and in the two straights the Mercedes could really make a difference. For Ferrari a new direct challenge with McLaren is more plausible.

There has been a lot of talk in recent days also on the high costs of Motorsport and the desire to do something to help the young talent emerge and to prevent them from getting lost. It is always positive and important to keep the spotlight on these aspects but it is just as important (if not necessary) that the Team Principals themselves are the ones to go the race tracks to observe the young drivers and to help them in their growth and career.

In these years the Federation has worked a lot to lower the costs but unfortunately our sport is very expensive since it requires a large workforce between the mechanics, engineers, drivers and material. For this reason I believe it is the task of the Formula 1 teams to observe and identify the more deserving young drivers, as someone is already doing with the Academy by supporting the career step by step. Since there is a lot of talk about the budget cap, raising a young person is less burdensome than contracting a champion.

At least that is what I think…

Gian Carlo Minard


We saw an exceptional weekend. Personally qualifying was absolutely the best with minimal gaps. In Q2 we had fifteen cars enclosed within little more than a second. As often happens in the last five minutes of Q3 everyone tried to achieve the best performance and mistakes are around the corner. This time an extraordinary Leclerc, who took Ferrari to pole position, paid a heavy price.

It was a pity that he was unable to take part in the race, also because Ferrari is fighting McLaren for third place in the world championship and having two drivers in the points would certainly have been convenient rather than thinking about the win.

Despite no overtaking, as usual in Monte Carlo, these drivers gave us a thrilling grand prix won by a perfect Verstappen who was absolutely at ease with the track and his car. A perfect Red Bull.

For the first time after seven years we do not have a Mercedes driver at the top of the drivers’ ladder. It was a certainly a subdued weekend for Lewis Hamilton. An unhappy grand prix can happen but I did not like his team radios and his post race comments, also because we are only at the start of the season. His fastest lap was astounding.

We are witnessing an absorbing championship and even the point for the fastest lap could be decisive for the final result. I am convinced that Hamilton and Verstappen will fight it out until the last race.

Ferrari is back on the podium with Carlos Sainz Jr. who finished ahead of Lando Norris. The McLaren driver confirmed he is the most promising driver for the foreseeable future. He fought Sergio Perez, who was subdued in qualifying but decidedly a bulldog in the race.

Sebastian Vettel finally woke up after the long hibernation. In the two laps before the pit stop showed all his worth and he managed to put his Aston Martin ahead of Gasly and Hamilton, grabbing fifth place.

Antonio Giovinazzi also deserves a very high mark. He was very good in qualifying and excellent in the race. He gave Alfa Romeo the season’s first point. He showed he has all the credentials to be taken in greater consideration inside the team.

We say goodbye to Monte Carlo without having seen the safety car and with only two cars not crossing the finish line. Leclerc who did not start and Bottas who was forced to retire due to an problem in the inner right during the pit stop.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Even if there was no need for confirmation Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton gave a new demonstration of their supremacy by winning the Spanish grand prix ahead of a just as excellent Max Verstappen who with the Red Bull tried everything to try and overturn a difficult situation.

Just like in Portugal we again witnessed an excellent duel, this time in three between Verstappen, Bottas and Perez, for the point for the fastest lap. This time the Dutchman did not miss the appointment leaving his team mate more than a second behind.

It was a GP that again saw Bottas lose the challenge with his team mate, paying a major gap, even if the number two driver brought home his “homework” of taking points away from his direct rival Sergio Perez. At the moment he cannot do more than this.

It was a masterpiece race by Leclerc who was the protagonist of a stupendous start in which he got the best of the Finn crossing the finish line in fourth place with a Ferrari that is growing but still pays about eight tenths per lap compared to the Mercedes. The driver from Monaco puts much of his own into it as the gap with his team mate showed.

The careless mistake made by Alfa Romeo during Giovinazzi’s pit-stop was incredible. It was a mistake that is rarely committed in lower categories. In this circumstance the mistake was made in both the preparation and the check of the set. In addition, not even the second set was ready. It was a festival of mistakes and always at Antonio’s expense. It was sad because his rhythm was superior to Kimi’s and he could have put himself into the fight for tenth place.

We file away a good weekend that, in addition to the excellent challenge between Hamilton and Verstappen, gave us very hard fought qualifying sessions, especially in Q2 with 14 drivers enclosed within barely 1”.

I look forward to Monte Carlo where I expect many drivers enclosed with the space of a few tenths of seconds. We all know how important qualifying is amongst the streets of the Principality.

Gian Carlo Minardi



Having said goodbye to Portugal Formula 1 has moved quickly to Spain. Unlike in the past this year the Barcelona circuit did not host the winter tests and being a tough track could put the cars, drivers and tyres to the test.

We come to Montmelò after three very interesting grands prix that were certainly dictated by Mercedes’ domination but with Red Bull trying to makes its life harder. I hope that this duel will last until the end of the season and that they can continue to entertain us. Both teams want to optimize every single point, as happened during the last three laps in Portimao with the duel between Bottas and Verstappen to adjudicate the point connected to the fastest lap. They took a good risk both as drivers and the teams with the work of the mechanics. A wheel change is always a moment of high tension.

MCLAREN’S SURPRISING START. Norris and McLaren are undoubtedly the surprise of the start of this season. Lando is putting himself on show in both qualifying and the race and McLaren is adapting very well and quickly to the new Mercedes engine, a passage that is not always taken for granted having kept 75% of the 2020 chassis. At the moment I see them immediately behind Mercedes and Red Bull. Many other drivers are alternating good performances with lusterless races, such as Ocon.

COMPACTION OF THE MIDDLE OF THE GROUP. We are only at the fourth round of a very long season with a number of problems to solve dictated by the worldwide health emergency. Behind Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren there is a good compaction amongst the second tier teams, one of which is also Ferrari.

Gian Carlo Minardi


This was a grand prix that betrayed the expectations by giving us the best excitement only in the last three laps with the duel between Bottas and Verstappen for the extra point for the fastest lap. The challenge was won by the Finn, even if I find it absurd taking the time away from the Dutchman. Congratulations to both drivers and also to the mechanics. In this context it is not easy keeping the coolness necessary since a “blink of an eye” is enough to neutralize all the work.

Portugal confirmed that the battle will be between Mercedes and Red Bull with Toto Wolff’s men ahead, especially with Lewis Hamilton since Bottas for the umpteenth time showed he is a number two driver.

For its part Red Bull is trying to cancel the gap with the reigning champions. The choice of drivers has proven to be excellent with both Max and Sergio getting the most out of the car, just like the strategy was excellent when they tried everything with Perez by keeping him on the track as much as possible.

Excellent the grand prix by Norris and Ocon who showed that they are the future of this category. Ferrari lost the direct challenge with McLaren, finishing in sixth place with Leclerc and behind Lando. It was a pity for Sainz who, on the re-entry of the safety car, lost a number of places not managing to repeat the excellent start. A Ferrari that constantly paid the gap, including the 5-7 tenths per lap compared to the first places.

It was a good race also by the two times world champion Fernando Alonso. He was the protagonist of less than perfect qualifying, he recovered many positions finishing behind his team mate which contributed to bringing important points to the Alpine team. A point for Alpha Tauri as well, thanks to Gasly’s tenth place. On an unfavourable track, as emerged in the free practice, this represents a positive result, as well as continuing the positive trend.

We will be racing again in a week, arriving in Spain.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Having said goodbye to Imola Formula 1 continues its journey in the old continent stopping this weekend in Portugal on the Portimao track for the third round. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are separated by only one point with a win each and I hope that this head to head could be a constant factor for all the season.

Last year Portimao entertained us like Imola did two weeks ago which shows that the “historic circuits” represent a guarantee for F1 where the unexpected is just around the corner. We are faced with a season that is particular and of transition as we await the new regulations in 2022 but also full of novelties such as the Qualifying Race (a 100km race) which will makes its debut soon at Silverstone. This is certainly an important signal that could change the panorama of F1 on both the technical and sporting sides. Important scenarios can be opened and must be welcomed in a positive way. We can draw the conclusions only after having tried it.

At Portimao it will be interesting to see the forces on the field we saw in Imola will be confirmed, beyond the supremacy between Mercedes and Red Bull with a good struggle between McLaren and Ferrari for third place. From the first grands prix a big gap between the two top teams and the rest of the group has not emerged.

Amongst this year’s novelties the teams and FIA are gaining confidence with the budget cap and the checks carried out but the rest of the idea which, even if it is an important and interesting tool, it must be changed. To really see the results it will be necessary that all the items must be included, without exception.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Imola showed that it is second to no other circuit. The weather helped to give us a great grand prix won fully by Max Verstappen, the protagonist of a great race, as well as being one of the few not to make a mistake.

The duel with Lewis Hamilton, who was as strong as he was lucky, was very good. After his mistake the red flag and the re-start gave him a good hand but he was very skilled in coming back swiftly place by place reaching second place ahead of a very good Lando Norris who confirmed McLaren’s competitiveness.

Ferrari’s defence was very good. The fourth and fifth places by Leclerc and Sainz represent the best result possible but the team can finally count on both its drivers. Certainly Bottas was missing, in constant difficulty up to the collision with Russell. In this circumstance the Englishman was absolutely guilty since in the Finn’s attack he already held his foot and then lost control of his Williams. It was a serious mistake.

This weekend I expected something more from Alpha Tauri, even if it reached the points zone thanks to Gasly’s eighth place.

A weekend has ended; it was long but with decidedly positive implications. As a Circuit we received the compliments of the Federation and both Imola and the Motor Valley, together with the whole of the Emilia-Romagna region gave a great demonstration of their worth. Now it will be important go continue working to find a fixed spot on the calendar.

Even if it is too soon to come to a conclusion this weekend we had the confirmation of the good compaction of the performances but above all that it will all be a challenge between Hamilton and Verstappen.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Three weeks after the opening round in Bahrain won by Lewis Hamilton after a good battle with Max Verstappen (second across the finish line) this weekend the Formula 1 Circus will land in Imola with the stopping in Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit to give life to the “Made in Italy and Emilia-Romagna GP”

For Gian Carlo Minardi this will be the first Gran Prix as the President of the Imola Circuit “Having Imola as the World Championship’s second round, the first in Europe, is a source of great pride and Emilia Romagna, together, together with the Motor Valley, its monuments and its food, is ready to relaunch the World Championship. The Grand Prix represents a great opportunity in terms of worldwide visibility and, together with the Circuit’s Director General Riccardo Benvenuti, we are also working to make this extraordinary territory known. We are grateful to all the institutions for the great effort put in place and our aim is also to consolidate Imola’s presence within the upcoming calendars

Supporting the GP will also the second round of the F2 Championship and the first round of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine “Starting Monday the motor homes will also start to arrive and the anti-Covid safety procedures will also begin with swabs every day to be able to gain access to the Circuit,” continued Minardi.

In these months we have worked hard with the aim of repeating, and also trying to improve, the result achieved last year. We have decided to intensify the service on the track to reduce to a minimum the neutralizations resulting from the re-entry of the safety-cay. Imola is a circuit of historical characteristics with gravel off the track where every mistake can carry a heavy price. Furthermore, given the possibility of rain the weather could be an interesting variable for the spectacle.”

On the race front the challenge for the win will be a matter between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen “Behind them however will be a good group made up of McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine and Alpha Tauri. I am convinced that Tost’s team will able to achieve a good result as happened already in Sakhir


The Formula 1 season began with all the conditions for witnessing a thrilling championship. The tussle between Mercedes and Red Bull was very good with the latter confirming the positive trend of the end of the 2020 season by putting onto the track a further step forward helped by the Honda engine. Perez’s fifth place after starting from the pits is a further signal on the quality of their package.

But let’s be careful. If this Mercedes is in crisis then there is little to be calm about since they have always shown a very great capacity for reaction even if they made a mistake in the pits with Bottas, nullifying a possible double.

It is not clear what happened in the final laps with the overtake and counter overtake between Hamilton and Verstappen, also because the Dutchman was no longer able to attack the Mercedes driver. I absolutely did not like the decision of the race management to use two measures between qualifying and racing by deciding to not penalize the cut at curve 4. It is surely a terrible lesson.

We will file away a very tactical and technical first race. McLaren, which adapted very quickly to the Mercedes engine, also continues its growth by just missing out on the podium with Norris.

Despite the almost 60” delay paid in comparison to Hamilton and Verstappen Ferrari brought home a positive result, especially if compared to what happened only three months ago with Leclerc tenth a lap behind. Especially in qualifying the car has made a most important improvement even if the road is still long but positive signs can be seen.

Fabulous Yuki Tsunoda who marked his debut in the World Championship with the first two points ahead of a good Stroll. It was a decidedly negative weekend for Sebastian Vettel, the protagonist of two serious mistakes.

The World Championship will now move to the Imola track onto a demanding track that already gave us a good race last year. Too bad that it will be behind closed doors once again.

Gian Carlo Minardi


And here we are. Formula 1 is finally ready to start again with a season, despite it being of transition, full of new developments not only on the driver’s market but also from the technical point of view. Despite the restrictions imposed by the Federation to reduce the aerodynamic load the engineers have already shown they have made up the gap allowing the drivers to race with times that are already very close to those of 2020 despite only three days of tests.

I find it absolutely absurd that the teams have been able to enjoy only these three days of training to prepare for such a long season. They better not come and tell me that they do so for a matter of limiting the costs.

Amongst other things the budget cap will also make its debut this year which I will continue to oppose for how it has been put together. It is not at all functional. In order to make sense it must include all the expenses, without any exclusion. A team must be free to manage its assets without exclusions that still create differences. As it has been structured it does nothing for the spectacle and much less to create equality between the teams.

A season with many unknown factors starts from Bahrain and, to date, it is very hard to establish a ladder of the forces in the field, even if, as far as I am concerned, Mercedes remains the point of reference for everybody despite an uneasy start (as far as could be seen). I had an excellent impression from Red Bull and Honda, as well as Alpha Tauri. McLaren knew how to adapt the chassis very well to the new Mercedes engine. There are many young drivers at the start, with some “old men” such as the return of Fernando Alonso with Alpine’s colours and the 42 year old Raikonnen ready for a new season.

The Sakhir track hosted the third and second last rounds of the 20202 season. Therefore, we will quickly have an interesting comparison.

Let us hope that the pandemic will slow down and give the opportunity to experience a full calendar, even if it will not be easy. After Bahrain F1 will come to Europe, in Imola for the second round. However, Liberty Media has also been called to deal with another major problem, tied to the sporting and technical programmes tied to the 2025. Formula 1 must open itself to the new realities by intervening heavily on the registration fee which is absolutely too high.

Gian Carlo Minardi