F1 | GP ABU DHABI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “RED BULL’S WIN IS POSITIVE IN LIGHT OF 2021”

We have come to the end of a season that at the start of the year was impossible to predict but Formula 1 was united and managed to put together a good calendar with seventeen grands prix with which it was able to give us great races and major moments, all wrapped up in an incredible domination labelled Mercedes.

This final round also gave us a great emotion with Max Verstappen’s pole position and the win in front of the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton.

It was a Red Bull that grew strongly in the final part of the season which bodes well for next year. Only a few reliability problems, together with the retirement in the previous grand prix caused by Leclerc’s collision with Perez, denied the Dutchman the satisfaction of taking the title of vice-champion but at the same time this saved the reputation of Bottas who today paid a gap of 15 seconds.

Once again Hamilton showed his qualities by firmly taking third place despite a less than perfect state of health dictated by Covid-19. The situation of his contract still remains to be resolved and an eventual divorce would create a real tsunami in the circus.

This was a championship that was able to give us excellent growth by McLaren that won its duel with Racing Point for third place and a Renault on the rise as shown by the fastest lap time set by Ricciardo in the last lap.

The only sore point is this Ferrari. It failed to go beyond sixth place in the constructor’s’ ladder (never this bad since 1980). There is a lot of work to do in Maranello and very little time considering that the number of days of winter testing will be reduced to three.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SAKHIR, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A MORTAL SIN TO LOSE PEREZ. RUSSELL DID NOT MAKE US REGRET HAMILTON’S ABSENCE”

This F1 world championship never ceases to give us incredible emotions. Once again we witnessed a grand prix full of twists and turns with the final placings uncertain up to the final lap on a track that, at least on paper, could have passed into anonymity.

Leclerc’s collision with Perez, which also involved the innocent Verstappen, gave us the first spark which forced the Mexican driver to a crazy comeback that ended with his first career win.

Applause certainly goes to Perez. After his retirement a week ago and despite his uneasy position, he showed great determination and cold bloodedness. It is a mortal sin to see such a motivated and strong driver in difficulty for 2021.

The mistakes made by Mercedes during the pit stops that (almost certainly) cost Russell his first win were also incredible. After having dominated free practice on Friday he closed qualifying in second place barely 26 thousandths of a second behind Bottas. At the start he did not let himself be intimidated, taking the race lead immediately and completing the grand prix without making the slightest mistake and overtaking beautifully and decisively many times despite a situation that was not easy even for him. He did not make us regret Hamilton’s absence and confirmed he is a top class driver. He gave the answers that were expected of him. Today’s performance could make Mercedes’ President, faced with Hamilton who has not yet signed the new contract, think.

It was a pity that Leclerc and Hamilton were not in the game as well. With the departure of the driver from Monaco there was no basis with which to compare Sebastian Vettel’s absolutely disappointing performance. The German driver made a lot of mistakes. Who knows if Racing Point, next Aston Martin, is still convinced of the choice made…

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY MINARDI “MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS. NEVER LET THE GUARD DOWN AND FIA MUST INVESTIGATE THE EXPLOSION”

Motorsport is dangerous” We must never forget this.

We have undoubtedly seen first hand the gigantic steps that have been taken on the safety front and today we must say thank you for the Halo and the Hans, as well as all the rescuers. It is important to continue to work on this road without lowering the guard.

We had not seen such a frightening accident in decades and luckily everything went well. Grosjean was skilful and reactive managing to get out of that ball of fire in 20” but FIA must absolutely investigate the causes that set off the fire.

The grand prix was, to say the least, eventful, seasoned by the collision between Stroll and Kvyat after the restart and ended with the Canadian overturning but without any harm to the driver. For Racing Point it was surely an unlucky Sunday considering Perez’s retirement a few kilometres from the chequered flag due to the failure of the Mercedes power-unit.

It was a body blow for them considering the possibility of taking third place in the constructors’ ladder vanish and it is now firmly in the hands of McLaren thanks to today’s fourth and fifth places by Norris and Sainz.

It is a real shame, as well as absurd, that a driver fighting for fourth place in the world championship (Perez is fifth behind Ricciardo) will not be on the grid next year.

It was a grand prix based on the tyre strategy with many stops which rewarded Lewis Hamilton (95th win) ahead of the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Albon who returned to the podium. In Red Bull they are deciding about Albon’s fate and it will not be an easy decision since at this time it would be useless to break the balance inside the team. Verstappen is the first driver and needs a right hand man who brings the highest number of points to the team.

With today’s performance Ferrari definitively raised the white flag for taking new positions on the constructors’ ladder. Leclerc’s tenth place (1 point), the result of Perez’s retirement, is really too little. Next weekend we will see the second step in Bahrain (the penultimate round) but on a new configuration for the world championship which can be compared to an oval with a lap time that could be lower than a minute. This situation is even more unfavourable for the SF1000.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP TURCHIA, IL PUNTO DI GIAN F1 | GP TURKEY, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “9/10 FOR THE GRAND PRIX”MINARDI “GRAN PREMIO DA 9”

We file away an exciting weekend from which yesterday’s difficulties resulted in a grand prix that rates 9/10, full of suspense from the first lap to the last. Zero instead for the organizers who wanted to resurface the circuit against everyone’s opinion.

Hats off to Lewis Hamilton who once again gave us proof of all his talents by mathematically taking his seventh world championship, reaching Michael Schumacher, and his 94th win. Despite a difficult start from sixth position he reacted by managing the race in the best way possible despite a car that was not at its best today. He chose to stay on the track in spite of the worn tyres, confirming himself as the leader within the team, finishing the race with a pit stop less than all the others (as did Perez).

It was a pity for the mistakes by the young drivers Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc who handed third place to a perfect Sebastian Vettel.

The German driver put together his best performance in two years, assisted by a good strategy. He was maybe the only one who did not make the slightest mistake, optimizing the SF1000 to the fullest, a car that is certainly not yet ready to win despite the steps forward. In normal conditions all the limits in regards to the very fierce competition emerged.

With Hamilton and Vettel there were eleven world championships on the podium. Between them was an excellent Sergio Perez. Despite a stupendous performance he is still a driver without a contract for 2021. Unfortunately, this is the nonsense of our sport but I am sure that we will soon find an arrangement.

In front of the two Red Bulls was Carlos Sainz’s McLaren. I have always maintained he is an excellent driver and team man. Once again he brought home vital points for the team. An excellent purchase by Ferrari as I already pointed out a number of times.

In a peculiar year, and certainly not the best for Formula 1, these grands prix rehabilitate our sport, which is still the best.

Gian Carlo Minardi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP EIFEL, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI

The latest grand prix ended under the sign of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who put away his 91st career win and rightfully entered into legend by equalling Michael Schumacher’s record. The gesture by Mick who gave his father’s helmet to the British driver was emotional.

It was a more than deserved win, even if it is not very proper to make these comparisons since in Schumacher’s era the championships were made up of a lower number of races. Hamilton confirmed he is a great champion and ready to equal the German also in the number of championships won but just as lucky since when there is a problem with the car it happens to Bottas.

Very good also Max Verstappen who tried to keep up with the Englishman’s pace, taking the podium ahead of Ricciardo’s Renault which is growing.

Renault’s result can be a good omen for the future after the announcement of Honda’s withdrawal, even if it still has reliability problems as we saw with Ocon and Norris.

We must also highlight the good performance by Antonio Giovinazzi who brought his Alfa Romeo Racing into tenth place taking the third point for the season. Antonio is showing he deserves to be confirmed by defending his place from the attacks by Sebastian Vettel.

On the Ferrari front Leclerc was able to patch things up with the flying lap in qualifying as he showed on Saturday with the fourth time but he could do nothing in the race where he could not go beyond seventh place.

The grand prix ended with seven cars in the first seven places and it took a new step forward to the conclusion of this anomalous season. In two weeks (October 25) the circus will go to Portimao in Portugal for GP number 12.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 |GP RUSSIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THE PENALTIES FOR HAMILTON WERE CORRECT”

The regulations must be studied and I am surprised that at these two mistakes by a six times world champion like Lewis Hamilton. After the penalties I saw him disheartened, even if he tried to set the fastest lap but this time Bottas did not want to give him a thing.

His bad day certainly favoured the Finn and Verstappen, as well as having given us spectators a finish that had not yet already been defined.
The grand prix slipped by without too much excitement, on a track that is decidedly anonymous and does not exalt the quality of the drivers.

Effectively there was no driver in particular who put himself on show. Certainly Valtteri Bottas made himself the protagonist of a perfect Sunday during which he did nothing wrong followed by a good Max Verstappen.
I

t was also a good race by Sergio Perez who shows with results on the track that he deserves to stay in F1 despite being badly dumped by the team.

It was a difficult weekend Ferrari as well. I do not find it correct to be satisfied with Leclerc’s sixth place. The small updates introduced at Sochi were useful but the road is still long.

In two weeks we will arrive in another historic track like Nurburgring before touching two tracks which are new to this Formula 1, Portimao and Imola.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | TUSCAN GP, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “I DO NOT LIKE THIS F1”

I do not like this F1 because it wants to favour the spectacle, even to the detriment of safety as we saw on the occasion of the first restart at the re-entry of the safety-car. There have been modifications to the regulations without having tried them beforehand, causing accidents and chaos. In this circumstance the drivers have no fault.

Mugello passed the test and showed how the drivers are no longer used to racing on historic circuits with the gravel immediately after the curbs. Twelve cars crossing the finish line had not been seen for a long while and certainly they do not tell the real forces at play correctly, even if I am pleased at Albon’s third place with Red Bull. Good also Renault with Daniel Ricciardo.

Once again Mercedes toyed with its rivals. They were immediately able to gain a two second advantage at every restart which they then managed, lap after lap. They have unique strength, as shown also by the fastest lap set by Hamilton at the very end.

Ferrari’s agony continued, finishing in the points zone thanks to the many retirements. Otherwise both Leclerc and Vettel would have remained outside the top-10. Compared to the other teams it is not carrying out updates. Most probably they want use all the developments allowed at one go to remedy a project that was completely wrong. Therefore the ordeal will still continue.

However, F1 must not do “go back to square one” as this is not good. They cannot continue changing the regulations which, amongst the other things, also destabilizes the reading of the race.

Formula 1 will now stop for two weeks before moving to Russia.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | ITALIAN GP, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A CRAZY RACE BUT A DESERVED WIN FOR ALPHA TAURI”

After Monza 2008… Monza 2020 – Excellent Pierre Gasly and all the Alpha Tauri team that guessed the right moment to carry out the pit stop. The grand prix was certainly as anomalous as it was fantastic after it was shaken up by the red flag when Magnussen went off the track.

I honestly thought this was an excessive decision since it did not seem to me that the Haas was in such a dangerous position but the marshals “invented” something that livened up a GP that had the final result practically already written. The mistake by Mercedes and then by Alfa Romeo with Giovinazzi completely overturned the pace and the race’s final result.

It was an incandescent finish with a nice comeback by Sainz who crossed the finish line second behind the Frenchman. It was an incredible result that rewarded his work. It was also a great result for Honda that most probably used two different strategies: very conservative with Red Bull and more aggressive with Alpha Tauri. Such a great difference in performance could not be explained otherwise.

The new regulations could have penalized the two Mercedes but in the end everybody suffered except those directly involved, as Hamilton showed in his incredible comeback from last place to seventh at the finish with a race pace 2” faster than all the others.

It was a black day for both Ferrari that also has to deal with reliability problems and Red Bull. Very good McLaren with both Norris and Sainz. It would have been a deserved win. This must make the people in Ferrari think. McLaren is the confirmation that you can come out of the abyss and climb back up the ladder quickly.

In a week we will go to Mugello, a new track on a weekend that could be conditioned by the rain.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BELGIUM, THE PPOINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “ALL ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPT”


The Belgian Grand Prix on the fascinating Spa-Francorchamps track has also ended. It was an anomalous race for Spa since it slid away without any major incidents with the exception of Giovinazzi’s accident that involved the guiltless Russell.

It was a Grand Prix run according to the script with Hamilton’s win ahead of Bottas and Verstappen. The script relegated the two Ferraris to mere extras. Leclerc and Vettel paid a gap of 2” per lap… Indeed, during Leclerc’s pit stop the mechanics had to put air into the valves. Most probably there had been a leak.

Once again the two Mercedes played “cat and mouse” with their direct rivals. They can do anything they want since they can count on total domination that we certainly did not discover today.

In the light of this weekend it will not be easy for Maranello to lay the foundations for a reconstruction, even if I do not understand all the silence by the top management. At this moment Binotto has been left completely alone. In a staff of more than a thousand people I do not understand how there is nobody to take all the responsibility or to come forward to review the plans for the future.

In the light of the current regulations even 2021 is already lost…

It was a pity about Sainz’s problems with the Power-Unit because he could have been one of the protagonists seeing Norris’ good result (seventh at the finish line). It was a good race by Gasly as well, eighth and ahead of the two Racing Point cars.

And now we await the two grands prix in Italy, Monza and Mugello…

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “AN ERA HAS ENDED”

Spa-Francorchamps will be the first grand prix after the signing of the new Concorde Agreement but above all it will be the first weekend without Williams in the hands of its founder. With the change of ownership an era has ended, that of the so called garage-owners.

I regret this step since we fought together in 1996 to safeguard the intellectual property of the team, taking sides against the clones.

Concerning this very issue, I understand the step backwards by Williams and McLaren (Mercedes customers) but honestly Renault’s change of course concerning Racing Point surprised me, especially after the many complaints that led to the sanction (both monetary and points), even if in the end the car remained the same. A monetary amnesty…

We are faced with somewhat bizarre scenarios and decisions, such as the idea proposed by FIA to ban the “party mode”, starting with the Monza GP, as if this were enough to stop Mercedes’ domination. FIA thought to intervene in one of the most complicated areas, the one connected to the electronics in which teams can count on the work of 30-50 engineers against the 7-8 of the Federation. It seems to me that I am witnessing an impotent Federation in the face of an attempt to reorganize the regulations.

Coming to the grand prix, last year we witnessed Leclerc’s first win, ahead of Hamilton. A year later I do not think it possible to hypothesize a similar result since we are faced with an incredible domination and supremacy. The only one who can try to oppose them is Max Verstappen with Red Bull.

On August 31 last year Antoine Hubert left us and I think it proper to send a thought to both him and his family. Motorsport remains a dangerous sport, even if it has made great strides on safety but Spa-Francorchamps 2019 reminded us that we must not let our guard down. A 22 year old young man with an important career ahead of him lost his life in that accident.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SPAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “IS IT STILL F1?”

Once again we witnessed a grand prix run at a pace at least 7” slower than qualifying (1.22 against the 1.15.584 of Hamilton’s pole). Bottas and Hamilton went below the 1’20 barrier only in the final laps with the Finn setting the best time after the change of tyres with 1.18.183 on the very last lap thus taking the extra point

Honesty I find this quite unacceptable. This is certainly dictated by the management of the tyres since, after having found the right peace of mind and after having lessened the petrol, the two Mercedes drivers raised the pace considerably, with only Verstappen trying to oppose them but he paid the price in any case with a twenty two second gap at the finish.

Once again the race and the management were perfect for Hamilton who outclassed his team mate who was the protagonist of an error at the start that cost him dearly in terms of time and distracted by the attack by Stroll and Perez (fourth and fifth at the chequered flag).

It was a weekend to forget for Ferrari with Leclerc’s retirement and Vettel seventh but lapped. At least he took his task to the finish without making any mistakes.

We have six finished only grands prix but we are faced with a season that practically has almost nothing more to say. We are reliving the golden years of Williams with Mercedes that manages to lap practically everybody. Only the top three, Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas, crossed the finish line having completed all the laps…

In the middle of the field it was a good performance by Sainz and Gasly who brought important points to McLaren and Alpha Tauri respectively. On the other hand, both Renaults finished outside the pints.

Gian Carlo Minardi