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

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “RELIABILITY THE DECIDING FACTOR”

During the test sessions Ferrari won the reliability grand prix and today it confirmed all the good of its plan with an incredible double. When you start with a completely new car being able to count on its reliability is a very positive sign since you can concentrate all the forces on the car. The situation is decidedly different when this is lacking since you must divide your efforts.

What happened to Max Verstappen in the end was a pity because he showed he is a true champion. The scrimmage with Leclerc was as wonderful as it was correct. The driver from Monaco left absolutely nothing to the rivals taking pole position, the fastest lap and the win. It was an excellent result for Italian Motorsport that comes from a few difficult years. Congratulations to everyone in Ferrari. Excellent work by Sainz as well.  As a passionate fan and the President of Imola it is a result that bodes well.

Hoping that this is not the just a “swallow that makes Spring”, the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship started on the right foot giving us wonderful duels on the track with cars that are very different but equally competitive.

On this first weekend we saw a major upheaval of the players on the field with a good leap forward by Haas and Alfa Romeo that even put both its cars in the top 10 with the first point for China’s Zhou. As emerged from the tests, Mercedes confirmed it is in difficulty and currently the championship’s third force, and also lucky. Helped by Red Bull’s double retirement Lewis Hamilton and George Russell took third and fourth place.

Red Bull was certainly missing amongst the top teams, betrayed by reliability problems as the car showed it was already very competitive. Gasly too paid the price as he could have brought an important result for Alpha Tauri. The team can be consoled by Tsunoda’s eight place.

Now we wait to see the second grand prix in Saudi Arabia in a week’s time.

 

Gian Carlo Minardi

THE (POSSIBLE) CONDITIONS FOR MERCEDES NOT TO PROCEED

The controversies tied to the episodes of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which ended Max Verstappen winning his first world title at Lewis Hamilton’s expense continues to hold centre stage, especially in Mercedes.

After having seen its protests presented to the race stewards concerning the final laps on the Yas Marina track knocked back the team from Brackley has 96 hours to formally lodge an appeal with the International Automobile Federation.

Rumours from Germany speak of a possible abandonment of this action that would put Verstappen’s title sub-judice, as well as causing damage to the image of Formula 1 and Liberty Media.

“Mercedes has until Thursday to lodge an appeal to FIA after having presented an intention to proceed. After a very eventful meeting it may also be evaluating the possibility of not proceeding, provided there is a review of the regulations, as well as a change in the top management of Formula 1 and the Federation,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

“There is a lot of unrest and from the news that comes from beyond the borders there is strong desire to have clarifications on the regulations. It is clear there must be uniformity of views by the judges is needed, an aspect that has been lacking on a number of occasions this year. I am certainly in favour of giving greater freedom to the drivers, as long there is uniformity for all the season,” concluded the manager from Faenza.

F1 | GP ABU DHABI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO “THE TRACK GAVE THE FINAL VERDICT. CORRECT RESULT”

Max Verstappen World Champion. This is the verdict the Abu Dhabi circuit gave us. A result that came in the final lap of the last grand prix of an exciting season. I find the final result correct without taking anything away from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes that in any case can celebrate the eighth consecutive Constructors’ title.

We have seen one of the best seasons of recent years. The only sour note is the lack of uniformity in the decisions by the marshals. Today the race director was again one of the protagonists, especially in the first lap with Verstappen’s wonderful braking move and the subsequent manoeuvre by Hamilton who drove with a lot of skill. When certain decisions are taken it must be remembered that we are faced with circuits with wide escape routes but on a historic track Lewis would have ended his race early. Having said this I am definitely in favour of giving the drivers more freedom as long as there is uniformity in the whole season.

When it seemed that all was lost for Verstappen Latifi’s accident and the entry of the safety car reshuffled the cards. I believe that Nicholas’s mistake was caused by a puncture or a structural failure following the previous contact with Schumacher’s Haas. His rear got away from him.

At that point Red Bull played all in by recalling its driver into the pits to mount the red compounds. It was an operation that was not carried out by Mercedes. The driver did the rest with another nice overtake.

Both Red Bull and Mercedes gave us an incredible duel that lasted twenty grands prix and both would have deserved the crown and I find the “division” of the drivers’ and constructors’ titles to be correct.

With today’s third place Carlos Sainz ends his first season in Ferrari at fifth place overall, ahead of Charles Leclerc. A result that does not surprise me. With equal compounds the Spaniard made better use of the tyres. Now it is up to Ferrari to give these two young men a car capable of achieving major results since together they are able to fight for the constructors’ title.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SAUDI ARABIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MARSHALS NOT UP TO THE TASK. HAMILTON AND VERSTAPPEN CUT EACH OTHER TO PIECES”

Both Hamilton and Verstappen want to take this title home at any cost and, to achieve their objective, they are willing to race at the limits of performance and the regulations. During the fifty laps they literally cut each other to pieces. They definitely have an edge over the others. They spared no efforts leaving the third placed Valtteri Bottas more than twenty four seconds behind.

For a good fifteen times Hamilton improved his fastest lap with Verstappen who was not to be undone answering his opponent’s every thrust. Verstappen’s start after the second red flag was a real masterpiece to be shown to all the young drivers entering into this world. He tried everything to take back the race lead.

Both Lewis and Max are showing and giving us the best part of Formula 1 and beyond the controversy we must let them drive and fight. Behind them there are two great teams and two top Team Principals who did not hold back cutting remarks and low blows. The tension is sky high and it is absolutely clear.

The conduct of the race was weak and the director and marshals decidedly lost control. I have not yet understood the first red flag that subsequently conditioned the whole grand prix. The Federation is slacking and what happened in recent weekends should be evaluated.

While I am writing here the final ladder is still sub-judice since there are a number of inconsistencies to be evaluated, including Hamilton’s collision with Verstappen. The fact is that in a week’s time they will race in Abu Dhabi, the twenty second grand prix, with Verstappen and Hamilton paired up.

Amongst the others, I would highlight the good performance by Antonio Giovinazzi who brought home two points, as well as the good struggle between Ocon and Bottas that ended with the Finn ahead in a photo finish. Unfortunately, in Alpha Tauri Gasly is left alone in the struggle with the direct rivals.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | HEADING TO JEDDAH, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “HONDA READY TO REPLACE THE PU. WILLIAMS, AN EXQUISITE PERSON WITH WHOM I SHARED MANY BATTLES”

Formula 1 has arrived in Saudi Arabia to give life to its first Formula 1 grand prix in history.

27 bends enclosed in 6.174km with an average close to 250 km/h. These are crazy numbers that include many different pitfalls in which it will be easy to make mistakes. Trying not to hit a wall will be the challenge within the challenge. The safety-car will be called upon to work overtime.

Another great unknown factor is represented by the very new asphalt with Pirelli having brought the C2 – C3 – C4 compounds, as well as reliability. The throttle will stay open to the full for 79% of the time.

On paper the Jeddah track could smile at Mercedes which will mount the PU already used in Brazil to try to gamble for everything by taking the deciding of the title to Abu Dhabi. In these hours Red-Bull Honda is deciding whether or not to opt for the change of power unit with the Japanese inclined for this option, by virtue of the high speeds and the possibility of recovering positions.

I do not expect the title to be awarded as this Sunday.

It will be the first weekend without Sir Frank Williams who passed away on Sunday afternoon. He was an exceptional person who knew how to get up again after every adversity. Despite the success he achieved in titles (both drivers and constructors) won during his extraordinary career he remained an exquisite person who was ready to help and support the small teams. I had the luck of having had him as a companion in many “battles”. There was mutual esteem between us.

Gian Carlo Minard

 

F1 | GP QATAR, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FOR FERNANDO AGE IS AN OPTION”

 


As often happens, the starting grid was defined a few short hours before the start of the grand prix. Lately the marshals’ decisions have been very long, as well as questionable, but in the specific case of Verstappen it was correct. With the yellow flag you have to lift the foot off the pedal. Unfortunately, his casualness could have cost him very dearly, but he managed to limit the damage by also taking the point for the point for the fastest lap.

We could have witnessed a race with a number of strategies. In the first part of the race Hamilton went very strongly but with the pace he showed Verstappen could have stayed closer to him. We come to the last two races with a gap of only eight points between the two contenders. On the constructors’’ front, also thanks to Bottas’ retirement, Red Bull scored a major blow by bringing itself to only five points from Mercedes. Practically anything can still happen. We are about to experience a mini and intense world championship enclosed in two rounds. Reliability will be more important than ever.

Alonso entertained us by showing that age is only an aspect of the birth records. It is a pity that he does not have a higher performing car available. He must defend himself tooth and nail by jumping through hoops.

No praise and glory for Ferrari that defends third place at McLaren’s expense despite a really great and important gap from Red Bull and Mercedes. Third place will make it easier to digest the defeat.

Gasly made his fans dream by starting on the front row beside Hamilton but in this moment Alpha Tauri continues to “play” only with one driver and here in Qatar paid a heavy toll in comparison to its direct rivals in Alpine. Fifth place can still be reached but it will certainly not be easy.

In two weeks we will discover the circuit in Saudi Arabia, a very fast street circuit that could again favour Mercedes… But in this world championship nothing has yet been decided.

Gian Carlo Minardi