Hands off the Young Driver Tests

It’s Gian Carlo Minardi’s reprimand toward the people who want to replace the three-day rookie test session scheduled for July 17th to 19th at Silverstone, with a tyre test session.

After the blow-outs which affected the result of the British GP, the F.1 main actors thought about replacing the three-day- rookie test session with a session dedicated to tyre development.

We don’t have to forget that the test days dedicated to the young drivers were born with the aim of testing and valuing the most promising young drivers, putting them to the test behind the wheel of a F.1 car on a top-tier category’s track. That is a very important stage for all the drivers who strive for the F.1 and fight every weekend to win a race or a Championship in the preparatory series “ The situation we’re living today in F.1 is a consequence of the few tests made and tyre approval only after few tyre test sessions under weather conditions which were so different from those we’re experiencing in this period of the year”, says Gian Carlo Minardi “That being said, I don’t agree with the request of replacing the rookie test with tyre tests. In this moment we cannot afford to lose the chance to see young drivers in action behind the wheel of a F.1 car only because some regulation’ mistakes have been made to bring the cost down”, warns the manager from Faenza who has built his career supporting young drivers’ professional development “How much does  the “tyre-gate” cost in terms of image and economic loss? Maybe more than some tests planned to support single-seater and tyre development”

As an answer to some teams’ request, Charlie Whiting has said that the proposal will be taken into consideration. The FIA and the Pirelli have arranged a meeting for Wednesday to find a solution before next race, to be held at the Nurburgring (in 7 days).

Sunday’s blow-outs are a very important signal for safety. A tyre’s blow-out at 300 km/h can cause bad consequences for a driver and Adrian Newey points the finger at those teams which didn’t want to change compounds “In this moment teams are blaming each other about their influence on Pirelli’s decision to continue to use the same compound. I think Pirelli, one of the biggest tyre manufacturers all over the world, had informed on time the FIA about what was happening and all the problems to be faced. At that point the FIA should have automatically approved new tyres to ensure safety. In this way, all the arguments about the matter would have been called to a halt and the unanimous approval to proceed would have not been necessary”, ends Minardi.

British GP – UP & DOWN

With the end of the British GP, let’s take some votes on the GP’s main actors.

English Audience 10 – The English audience was fantastic throughout the weekend. I think that English people set the seasonal record attendance. They behaved in a very good way and always clapped their hands to the race leader.

Nico Rosberg 9 – After getting the first row on Saturday, the German driver managed to treasure each chance: from the yellow flags to the safety car. It took a bit of fortune to take the win. It always takes fortune in every race, so that will be the icing on the cake.

Sebastian Vettel 8.5 – He was one of the main protagonists until the gearbox failed. He took a great start.

Lewis Hamilton 8.5 – The Mercedes’ Englishman drove an excellent race after taking a stunning pole. Unfortunately he was one of the tyre blow-out victims.

Fernando Alonso 8 – He didn’t become discouraged after the problems he had throughout the weekend, finishing a hard-fought race. He got an unhoped third place after driving an unlucky qualifying race.

Mark Webber 7.5 – He made a fantastic recover, but he took an unlucky start.

Felipe Massa 7 – This is not his ideal season. After taking an excellent start, a tyre issue ruined his race. He didn’t lose heart and scored important points for the team.

Drivers of Toro Rosso and Force India 7 – They drove an excellent qualifying and official race. They confirm to be excellent outsiders and preserve their position in the standing.

Lotus 5 – They made a heavy strategy error again, which deprived the team of scoring points. No doubt Kimi would have deserved to get a better result.

FIA and Pirelli 3 – The vote could even be lower. It is always said to take care of safety, but in this case, there was lack of safety. The Federation has the right and duty to intervene when safety is jeopardized. There was lack of safety on Sunday. Vergne’s accident at 300 speeds per hour could have had dramatic consequences. Pirelli has to protect its image and drivers’ safety in a better way.

Webber to qui F.1 at the end of the season

A few hours before the Silverstone GP begins, people are working hard to get the cars well prepared to make Friday’s free practice session to officially mark the beginning of the F.1 Championship’s 8th round. Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes are favourite to win, but also Lotus and Force India shouldn’t be underestimated, as they are such good outsiders, ready to seize every single chance.

Over the past few hours Mark Webber has announced that he will quit F.1 and Red Bull at the end of the season to join Porsche’s new Le Mans sportscar project LMP1 “It’s an honour for me to join Porsche at its return to the top-tier category in Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team. Porsche has written the history of motorsport as a car manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level.”

The Australian made his debut in F.1 in 2002 alongside the Minardi Team, driving the Minardi PS02. In his homeland he finished 5th, getting all the Minardi Team’ fans very excited.

I knew about Mark’s decision to quit F.1, we had already announced that in our website. I think he quits F.1 in the right moment. Taking part in the LMP1 races alongside Porsche doesn’t mean he will be downgraded, on the contrary, it’s a good prize to his career. He has always demonstrated to be an excellent driver and I think he will continue to demonstrate it even in this new adventure. They will have to pay attention to Audi and Toyota. The 2014 season will be full of sport challenges”, says Gian Carlo Minardi.

After scoring 2 points alongside the Faenza-based team, Webber moved first to Jaguar then to Williams and Red Bull, where he arrived in 2008. The English team will celebrate its 600 GP starts at Silverstone and Pastor Maldonado feels confident of scoring his first points: “I’m proud to be part of this historic moment for my team. Silverstone is one of my favourite circuits. It has a lot of character. Low temperatures will play a key role on front tyre degradation, so it will be very important to set a good strategy. We have also to consider that the new part of the track is with fewer grips. Our goal is to finish in the points zone and make this event even more memorable for the team”, says Pastor Maldonado.

Ferrari’s Team Principal is confident and ready to recover. In the past season Alonso sealed a win in Silverstone “Our goal is to bridge the gap with the top position in the next races. I think we’ll be very competitive in Silverstone: we’ve been competitive here also in the recent past, but we know that many causes could play an important role. Tyres? Tyre management will depend on weather conditions and temperatures. The team is well concentrated: we know we have to get a good result, but we’ve already accustomed to this kind of pressure.”

In the run for the pole position, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg can bother Sebastian Vettel “It’s always special to race at Silverstone. It’s my home race. We’ve had a long break between the Canadian GP and the British one, so I’m looking forward to get back behind the wheel. I like the British track very much and I think that, since there are high speed corners, it will be very important to find the right pace”, says Hamilton “We’ve made some steps forward and are working to the right direction. We look forward to a great weekend.”

“Silverstone is our home race, so we love this weekend. The track is completely different from the one at Monaco and Montreal, here there are many quick corners. I don’t know how our car can react, what is sure is that tyre will undergo weather influence. The atmosphere you live is always special at Silverstone and it will be so good to share the motorhome with the other drivers. We’ll arrange a big barbecue”, says Nico Rosberg.

Williams – Sauber, from outsiders to bit players

After a 2012 satisfactory season, in which they finished sixth and eighth, Sauber and Williams were expected to be the 2013 F.1 season most challenging outsiders. In the first part of the 2013 Championship they didn’t fulfil expectations and soon turned to be bit players.

After 7 GP, the Swiss team has scored only 5 points and has taken the eighth place in the standing (thanks to Hulkenberg’s eighth place in Malaysia and China) behind Force India (51 points), McLaren (37) and Toro Rosso (20). The English squad and its drivers Maldonado and Bottas are ninth; they have scored no point, so far

“ When you’re a second-tier team fighting on the edge of few tenths to try to finish in the points zone, it’s so easy to pass from running an exciting season, as it was last year, to deliver less exciting performances”, says Gian Carlo Minardi “In my opinion, the Hinwil-based team has suffered Perez’ change to McLaren in terms of financial resources rather than performance. What is more the team lost some technicians.  All these circumstances led the Sauber to fight for lower positions in the standing. Williams is experiencing a very important re-organizational stage. So, I think it will take one year time for them to recover. They’ve chosen a young driver like Bottas, who gave the team the second position in Canada. He’s a performing driver, however he still needs more time. Talking about Maldonado, there is to say that, even though he makes fewer mistakes than his team mate, he’s not 100% performing, yet. Furthermore, I don’t know how much he can be helpful to the team for car development. The news expected for the next season don’t help, as it will be so difficult for them to carry out the 2013 project and the 2014 one at the same time. Next season is getting closer and closer”.

What is more, the great development of two second-tier teams like Force India and Toro Rosso, makes the situation even more complicated “The Indian team is preserving the fifth position in the standing, giving hard times to McLaren and Toro Rosso. The team showed its competitiveness both during the official race and in qualifying, finishing almost always in the points zone”, ends the manager from Faenza.

A detailed analysis of the F.1 World Champions

The last few F.1 Championships were enlivened by different world champions. The current season is being enlivened by 5 champions, who are battling each other, trying to get the most of each race. With the exception of Rosberg, all the 2013 season wins were taken by these world champions. Vettel took 3 wins, Alonso 2 and Raikkonen 1. That shows how much competitive and hard-fought a F.1 season can be.

Four of the five champions are in the first four positions of the standing, with the three-time-champion Sebastian Vettel leading on 132 points, followed by the two-time-champion Fernando Alonso on 96 points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen on 88 and Lewis Hamilton on 77. Jenson Button takes the 10th position on 25 points.

In this moment, Sebastian Vettel is skilled enough to drive the best car of the Championship. He has always optimized all the points he scored. He did a great job since the beginning, when he became the official driver of a Red Bull which was undergoing a changing process, trying to get the most of the regulation changes. In this respect, it was not so good even for Fernando Alonso. After taking some wins alongside Renault, the Spaniard moved to the McLaren where he had to deal with a very performing Lewis Hamilton, before becoming a Ferrari driver when the Scuderia had already won everything and was about to close an era. Now, along with the team he’s working to start a new era, which is not easy at all, considering the world championship’s high level.  I think that Fernando is the best driver of the Championship, even though he has got less than he would have deserved, so far, because of some wrong choices and, more in general, some situations which were not managed in a right way. In this first part of the season he brought out the 110% of his potential. He was very able to recover from low positions, as it happened in Canada. Unfortunately the points zone missed in Malaysia and Bahrein will have an impact on his season.

Lewis Hamilton made a stunning debut into F.1. The Englishman was able to get the better of the world champion Alonso by delivering excellent performances. He won the title the following year, when he was McLaren’s main driver. The English driver has got less than he would have deserved, as well. He’s a very fast driver, even during qualifying sessions. He suffered the decline of his ex-team. His team mate Rosberg has been undervalued, but he has high speed and resolution as a part of his DNA. The German driver has paid his dues time after time. The Englishman has certainly the toughest team mate ever.

As far as Kimi Raikkonen is concerned, we can say that he’s a completely reborn driver. Now he is maybe more determined than he was in 2008, the year he won the world championship at the wheel of the Ferrari. It was so good for him to leave F.1 for 2 years, he’s also in a very good shape. His Lotus was designed in a very good way and he has been so skillful in finishing in the points almost always. He will certainly be the 2014 F.1 season’s market-man.

Finally, there’s Jenson Button. He was able to bring a sweeping change to his career by winning the title at the wheel of the Brawn GP. Victory gave him that self-confidence he lacked, but I think he’s the most vulnerable driver among the 5 world champions. If he wants to win, he has to get the most of some situations, like being performing in the wet, even if he has an excellent tyre management. He’s an honest worker and a very good professional driver, however, even if he has a competitive car, he has more difficulties than the other champions.

F.1 mid- season: the stock of the situation by Gian Carlo Minardi

With the Canadian GP F.1 has entered the second half of the season. Teams and drivers are getting closer and closer to the season’s turning point which traditionally marks a division between top teams and second-tier teams, which has not enough financial resources to carry out the car development work, having also to start to develop 2014 turbo engine project which will bring much (expensive) news into F.1.

The Championship ‘s progress is more or less the same as it was in 2012; Red Bull is the standing’s leader and the Ferrari is just behind it. The Italian team has some regrets; if Fernando hadn’t finished outside the points zone in Malaysia and hadn’t driven a not so brilliant race in Sakhir, he would have had more points at this point of the season. The F138 showed to be very performing in the long run, but it’s still not as performing as rivals in qualifying.

Mercedes has delivered fluctuating performances, so far. The German team after the Monaco GP showed to have partially solved tyre degradation issues which affected it during the past season. The three-star-squad can probably play gooseberry in the future. In the first part of the Championship Lotus was very performing and we saw Raikkonen driving aggressive races. The squad is third in the World Championship and fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, but I don’t know if they have enough financial resources to develop 2014 turbo engine project. Depending on the development of turbo engine, a tight cooperation between engine supplier and race car constructor will be needed.

Force India continues to deliver great performances. The Indian squad is fifth ahead of McLaren and confirms to be a valuable outsider and a fearsome opponent. On the opposite, the Woking-based squad took a quite bad start of the season. The English team is reorganizing its internal structure and is maybe thinking about 2015 racing season, when Honda will become its official engine supplier.

After the Australian GP and Bahrein, the Toro Rosso managed to always get points finish and is now 7th in the Championship. The Faenza-based squad’s driver Jean-Eric Vergne will probably move to Red Bull if Webber leaves the squad at the end of the season.

This year’s Championship is influenced by tyre management. The solution adopted by the Pirelli to make each GP more and more spectacular maybe won’t give benefits to the Italian tyre manufacturer who will necessarily have to take technical measures. What is perplexing me is the performance gap between drivers of the same team. At Silverstone teams will test new tyres whose lateral part has been modified. We’ll wait for tyre testing to be made, so we’ll see if teams will all agree with new technical amendments.

Canadian GP – Up & Down

After the Canadian GP has taken place at Montreal. Gian Carlo Minardi takes some votes on the drivers

Sebastian Vettel 9 – There is nothing more to say. If he hadn’t made those two little mistakes he would have deserved a 10.

Fernando Alonso 8.5 – He didn’t dishearten after driving a disappointing qualifying race. He drove an aggressive race, setting good lap times.

Lewis Hamilton 8 – He was very performing in qualifying and during the race. Despite he had some tyre issues; he was able to give Fernando a hard time before and after being overtaken by the Spaniard. Three world Champions got a podium finish. They fought against each other to entertain us.

Jean – Eric Vergne 8 – He was so good at leading his Toro Rosso to the Top 6, which I consider a very good position, since in the past it marked the zone points limit. He was very competitive both in qualifying and during the race on every kind of tyre.  He didn’t make any errors.

Paul Di Resta 7 – He deserves a good vote because he was determined. He has to share his success with his team which is 7th, ahead of McLaren.

Felipe Massa 7 – Despite he made a serious fail to be such an experienced driver, he drove an aggressive race, recovering several positions. After the terrible accidents occurred in Monte Carlo, we have to understand him. He scored important points.

Valtteri Bottas 7 – He drove an excellent qualifying race. He’s giving a non-performing Maldonado a hard time.

Nico Rosberg 6.5 – After a fabulous win in Monte Carlo, we were expected him to be more performing. He suffered Pirelli tyre degradation more than his team mate.

Webber, Maldonado and Raikkonen are unsatisfactory. The Finn gets excited when he drives a performing car but he’s non-performing when he has to face hard times.

Minardi “Yes to F.1 tests but with a rookie driver alongside the regular one”

Finally. It took a scandal like the one involving Pirelli-Mercedes-FIA, to talk about test introduction during F.1 racing season, again. According to rumours, in 2014 4 test sessions to last 2 days each will be conducted on European tracks.

I am very satisfied with this choice. As I’ve been saying for a long time it would be very important, for every team to deploy a rookie driver, alongside the regular one”, says Gian Carlo Minardi who, after launching several young champions into F.1, continues to focus on the drivers of tomorrow, who represent motorsport’s lifeblood.

After a fuss has been made, it was inevitable, but paradoxical at the same time, thinking about cutting down costs by eliminating tests and replace them with simulator sessions, indoor practices and wind tunnel tests. I’ve been saying that for many years, now, finally, the matter has been raised again. Certainly F.1 has to try to limit costs instead of forbidding” ends the manager and current supervisor for Ferrari Driver Academy, “let’s see what is going to happen next weeks”.

Monaco GP – Up & Down

Nico Rosberg – 10. He never put a wheel wrong. His race pace was unbeatable; he set a stunning qualifying time. He’s standing comparison with his teammate who is considered as the Championship’s best driver. He deserved victory.

Lewis Hamilton – 8. He drove an excellent race, but he took an imperfect start.

Mercedes – 10.  Besides tyres testing, the German team demonstrated to be capable to strive for the win. The team has the best driving duo in terms of performance, race speed and points.

Vettel –Webber – Red Bull – 8. They accomplished their job; they handled Friday issues at best. If they manage to finish 2nd and third even when they’re not at the top of their potential, rivals have something to be worried about.

Adrian Sutil – Paul Di Resta – Force India -8. The Indian team is one of the most dangerous outsiders; once again both drivers finished in the top 10, nibbling away important points to Alonso. They do a very good job and deserve the position they hold now.

Jenson Button – 7. The Englishman is fighting tooth and nail; he’s experiencing a difficult moment. He got an unexpected position at the beginning of the weekend.

Sergio Perez – 6. If, on the one hand, he deserves some penalties because of his impetuousness, on the other hand he made good passes and shoot-outs. He doesn’t want to be a second class driver, but he still has to gain so much experience.

McLaren – 7. Despite the English team is facing a difficult moment, they managed to take home important points. If Perez hadn’t been so impetuous, both drivers would have finished in the top 10.

Fernando Alonso – 5. When Button, Sutil and Perez overtook him, he was too compliant. After driving many brilliant races, it happens to drive a less good race; the Monaco weekend was not so exciting for the whole team. Anyway the team scored 6 points which are so important with regards to the standing.

Ferrari – 5. The team is regretfully because it didn’t manage to get some extra points. It happens to have a difficult weekend, but it will be so important to analyse the whole weekend.

Jean – Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso – 8. Vergne qualified in the top 10; during the race he kept a top 10 position. The Italian team handled a good strategy. Their car has been finishing in the top 10 since a few races; the team still keeps the seventh position to the standing.

Lotus – Kimi Raikkonen – 7. Thanks to a very performing car, the team continues to drive good races. The Finnish drove a too defensive race, obstructing Perez too much.

Romain Grosjean – 4. The team cannot make so many mistakes in a single racing week end. The team has to think over it. I hope Valsecchi will have the chance to draw attention on himself.

Minardi “Monte Carlo should set a trend”

With the free practice sessions, the racing weekend in Monte Carlo has officially started. This GP is rich in history and well known all over the world, as it offer a stunning scenario due to its breathtaking geographical location. You can love or hate Monte Carlo’s street circuit, in any case it is not an ordinary track and qualifying is so important, since overtaking is almost impossible despite KERS, DRS and Pirelli tyres.

Monte Carlo has one more feature that makes its circuit even more unique: racing enthusiasts have the chance to get close to their racing idols and see cars running among buildings and almost touching side walls “It’s not an ordinary track. We race here to entertain the audience who has the chance to see racing cars zipping through the narrow streets of the circuit at 250 km per hour” says Fernando Alonso “The track is a very particular one, as much as the race. We drive a lonely race, since it’s very difficult to overtake. The real battle is the one against time on Saturday and against on-track mistakes on Sunday. During the race drivers have to take car’s mechanical parts under control and avoid crashing against guard rail”. Alonso’s thoughts are echoed by Gian Carlo Minardi, the man who helped the Spaniard to enter F.1 “The atmosphere you have the chance to experience in Monte Carlo is never experienced in any other circuit all around the world. Despite all the barriers which make you feel like being inside a cage, you feel you can touch cars with your own hands. You just tremble to the rhythm of engines. People have the chance to pass by Motorhomes and be so close to their idols. It’s really incredible!!”

The GP in Monaco should be taken as an example to try to bring racing enthusiasts and sponsors closer to F.1. A great amount of money is involved in the world of F.1, but despite that, even F.1 has been affected by the crisis. Many teams won’t be able to stand comparison with top teams to bring the development process of the cars to the end and develop the 2014 racing season’s plan. At the same time, they’ll have to “sell” their seats to the best offerer who is preferably supported by nations. “From this point of view F.1 has to rejuvenate. Between ‘90s and 2000 it was almost impossible to get a pass paddock. It was an honour for sponsor companies to attend F.1 racing events and they were very interested in the world of Circus. Now everything is changed and I think F.1 has to open itself outwards. A race enthusiast wants to have the chance to get close to his idols and cars. Monte Carlo should set a trend”, says Minardi “In Spain on Thursday afternoon, you had the chance to visit paddocks by adding an extra pay. Paddocks were so crowded. TVs have always been privileged from this point of view, as they pay rights. I think that it would be interesting if enthusiasts could have the chance to experience a F.1 day, as far as possible, without disturbing teams’ work. This would facilitate the entry of new sponsors into F.1. Today you see always the same people inside paddocks, along with professionals. F.1 should have been taken to a more human level”, ends the manager from Faenza.

Monaco GP – Preview

I’ve experienced so many races in Monaco in my whole life, but unfortunately I’ve never experienced Montecarlo’s night life. I spent my days and nights at the box, as we used to have dinner with friends and sponsors in our Motorhome on the harbour.

The F1 GP in Monaco has always been an exciting racing week end both for specialists and for enthusiasts, who have the chance to be so close to cars. The atmosphere you have the chance to experience in Monaco is never experienced anywhere else. Despite the crush barriers that make you feel like being inside a cage, you feel you can touch cars with your own hands. You just tremble with the engines. People have the chance to get so close to teams’ Motorhomes and see their idles. It’s really incredible.

This racing weekend has many unknown matters, which are mostly linked to soft and super soft tyres and to the absence of a leader. Many drivers will make us live an interesting racing weekend. Ferrari showed to keep a faster pace during the race, but the team will have hard times if it doesn’t have a good qualifying race, where it’s so easy to make some mistakes. On the other side we have a Mercedes which is so good in qualifying on soft tyres. If they manage to get the pole, they’ll drive a good race at least until the first pit-stop. I’ve heard they almost solved long run issues. Then we have a very competitive Lotus and a Raikkonen who could be a dangerous threaten for rivals. We don’t have to forget Red Bull even if it complained about Pirelli tyres so much. I don’t agree with Pirelli’s decision to change rubber just in the middle of the racing season. I do agree with Lotus and Ferrari. Common consent would be needed to change technical regulations.

Among outsiders, the most dangerous is Force India. The Indian team could score some important points. McLaren hasn’t displayed its maximum potential, yet. Due to its features, the Montecarlo street circuit requires a high downforce level, while a car’s total weight is less important since the most important thing is to finish the race. Cars will be modified to prevent clashes.

Let’s hope weather won’t affect on track performances. At this point of the season teams are working hard to get ready for the second half. 2-3 pit-stops are expected. It’s a short track and the asphalt is non-abrasive and neat. Pirelli tyres performance has always been so good in these circumstances, even if one of the most important things will be to choose the right moment to pit.

Spanish GP – Up & Down

Together with Gian Carlo Minardi, let’s take some votes on the Spanish GP.
Fernando Alonso: 10. – No doubt he’s top of the class. He prepared for the event by analyzing GP2 races and taking a walk around the track. He made an excellent pass which will go down in history. He’s a step ahead of any other driver and won the Spanish GP, driving a car which has a good potential during races but it’s not the best car in the Championship, yet.
Kimi Raikkonen: 9. – He drives his car in an excellent way and has a very good tyres’ handling. His cold-heartedness makes him be the driver who has to be defeated.
Felipe Massa: 8. – He was seriously penalized in qualifying. He scored a podium finish starting from 9th and he drove an exciting race. He will help Ferrari so much. He’s leaving hard times behind him.
Nico Rosberg: 7.5- 8. – In qualifying he kept Hamilton behind him for the second time. He finished 6th driving a hard race which was affected by tyres’ delamination. Let’s hope they’ll manage to sort out problems as soon as possible.
Paul Di Resta: 7.5. – Both him and the team are handling an excellent racing season and the fifth place in the constructors’ championship is a clear proof of the Indian team’s brilliant performances. They’ll have to go on like that.
Daniel Ricciardo: 6.5. – Good race, Toro Rosso is getting better and better to try to defend the 7th place in the constructors’ championship, but it won’t be easy at all.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber: 6. – When not all the pieces of the puzzle are in their right place, the team doesn’t handle a good strategy and the drivers lack that leadership power to guide the team. Anyway, they deserve a 6 because they’re so fast during practice.
Jenson Button: 6. – He’s so comfortable on hard tyres, just like his McLaren.
Sergio Perez: 6. – The Mexican driver has improved his performances over the past two races. He’s recovering, this is the reason why he deserves a 6.
Esteban Gutierrez: 6. – He deserves a 6 even only for setting the fastest lap during the race. Even when he raced in the GP2 Championship he alternated good races to on-track mistakes. We have to let him work. This is the reason why I always point out the importance for young drivers to take pre-season testing. He didn’t have the chance to prepare for the season at best. It would be unfair to vote him down without giving him the chance to show his potential.
Pirelli: NC. –  It’s time to revise the project. 80 pit stops per GP are too many. It’s also a matter of safety. 6-7-8 pit stops per car per race are really too many. Pit Stop time to change tyres is too short.

Spanish GP – Preview

The first European GP has always been very interesting, because all teams bring to the race many technical upgrades. The Barcelona GP will be raced after a three-week-break, during which teams had time to analyze all data gained from the first four GP.
Pirelli will make the Spanish weekend even more interesting by bringing to track a new kind of hard compound, which will be so similar to the one used in the final part of the past racing season. Since it’s a brand new compound, teams didn’t have the chance to test it during winter testing, so suspense will increase. As an exception, teams will also have an extra super hard tyres set at their disposal during free practices, so they can run more laps and test new upgrades.
I’m expecting to see Red Bull-Ferrari and Lotus fighting for the win. If Alonso hadn’t had a drawback in the last race, he could have fought for the first or second position. Lotus has been handling Pirelli tyres in a very good way, the car is so competitive and the Finnish driver is very good at managing it. Much attention should be also focused on McLaren and Mercedes. The Walking- based team handled good races on hard tyres, especially Button. They are this start of season’s little disappointment and I think they worked hard over the last few weeks to try to sort out problems.
Force India, which is ahead of McLaren in the overall standing, shouldn’t be underrated, along with Toro Rosso. They’re surpassing Williams which is in trouble at the moment. Even the Faenza-based Team will bring several upgrades to the race.

Spanish GP Schedule
Friday May 10th
10:00 – 11:30 Free Practices 1; live on Sky Sport F1 and Rai Sport 1
14:00 – 15:30 Free Practices 2; live on Sky Sport F1 and Rai Sport 1
Saturday May 11th
11:00 – 12:00 Free Practices; live on Sky Sport F1 and Rai Sport 1
14:00 Qualifying; live on Sky Sport F1 (13:00) and Rai 2 (13:45)
Sunday May 2nd
14:00 – Spanish GP: live on Sky Sport F1 (12:30) and Rai 1 (13:10)