F1 | GP USA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “RACE RUN ON THE EDGE OF HUNDREDTHS OF A SECOND. VERSTAPPEN HAS MATURED”

One of the best if not the best grand prix of the season with two drivers who crossed the finish line with a gap of less than a second after fifty six laps. It was a race that was run on hundredths of a second. On one part of the track Mercedes was faster while on the other it was Red Bull. Congratulations also to the organizers to bring to 400,000 people to the circuit over the three days, setting the new record.

Congratulations also to Red Bull that got all the strategies right with Verstappen who showed once again that he wants to win this title at all costs. The friction with Hamilton helped him grow and mature. Once more he worked to bring home the best result possible, the win.

The excellent work by Red Bull was completed by third place with Perez who, as a good wingman, did not attack Verstappen at the start and ended the race with an “off” Valtteri Bottas. He will go to Mexico strengthened by this result, as well as having helped the team in the constructors’ ladder.

The result was also a good omen for Ferrari with Leclerc and Sainz placing their cars ahead of their direct rivals, McLaren.

Two precious points also for Tsunoda on the Sunday that saw the retirement of his team mate Gasly but above all for both the Alpines, the direct rivals for fifth place. A thrilling end of the season can be expected with duels raced on the edge of a few points.

Yet again absurd strategy by Alfa Romeo denied Giovinazzi the satisfaction of entering the points zone in favour of Sebastian Vettel. Antonio had the pace to take the pint but once again the team wanted to favour Raikonnen who made a mistake at the end.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP TURKEY, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “VERSTAPPEN AND HAMILTON CAN BE SATISFIED”

Valtteri Bottas finally managed to fully respect  Mercedes’ programme, in other words to take points away from Max Verstappen, and helped the team to win heavy points for the constructors’ ladder that it continues to lead ahead of its direct rivals Red Bull. As a professional he carried out his job by taking an important win despite it being the final act of his adventure with Mercedes, In the near future it will certainly be hard for him to achieve these results again.

It was a very positive second place for Max Verstappen. On paper he was supposed to be the favourite but Red Bull certainly did not shine. It was a grand prix of the number two drivers. Just like Bottas, Perez achieved his task by completing the podium by putting his Red Bull ahead of both Leclerc and Hamilton.

On this Sunday the British driver was not perfect, even if fifth place must be seen in a positive way considering the penalty of ten places on the grid. The two contenders for the title can be satisfied. Only six points separate one from the other.

It was a positive weekend for Ferrari as well that consolidated third place amongst the constructors. Leclerc brought home the best result possible, making excellent times, as did Carlos Sainz, the protagonist of a good comeback. The Spaniard was the protagonist of many overtakes. Too bad for yet another mistake during a pit-stop that cost him one position at least. In all the track conditions they have confirmed they are the third force behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

It was a quiet weekend for McLaren that had to settle for Norris’ seventh place while the gamble adopted by Ricciardo did not give the hoped for results.

Despite the penalty, which I believe was correct, Gasly brought home more points for Alpha Tauri by finishing the Turkish GP in sixth place. He must be careful however because I have seen him too nervous in recent races. His points are essential for the team condisering Tsunoda’s current difficulty.

After being excluded from Q3, just like Raikonnen, Antonio Giovinazzi just missed out on the points by finishing in eleventh place ahead of his team mate.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP RUSSIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “ONE OF THE BEST SEASONS. AN ERROR IN EVALUATION BY A GREAT NORRIS”

Once again the rain gave us a weekend full of excitement starting with an absolutely atypical qualifying session with Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and George Russell occupying the first three places and with Lewis Hamilton decidedly subdued and also the protagonist of a fairly serious mistake.

In the race the arrival of the rain during the final stages upset the finishing order that seemed defined with Norris launched towards his first career win. Lando let us see all his talent, supported by a fast growing McLaren. Unfortunately, the decision to stay on the track with the slicks did not pay off and the seventh place did not do him justice. It was an error of evaluation that will serve him in the near future.

It was the same situation also in Ferrari that on the one hand celebrated the podium with Carlos Sainz while Leclerc has to be satisfied with fifteenth place. The position certainly does not reflect the potential expressed. The decision not to re-enter the pits at the right moment to try and attack Bottas and Ricciardo with the intermediates did not pay off.

Well done to Mercedes’ people on the wall who called in Lewis Hamilton who thus celebrated his hundredth win. A new record that will be hard to beat, even if these milestones are meant to be broken. Max Verstappen’s second place was decidedly positive after having started from last place. The weather was a great help to him as well considering that the Red Bull was not in top form here in Sochi. They managed to make to maximize the result by limiting the damage in regards to its direct rival.

Without any doubt we are witnessing one of the best seasons in recent years, both in competitiveness and the variability of the forces in the field. On the one hand the “old men” such as Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikonnen who are making the most of their class and experience and on the other hand the young drivers are looking in with great determination. In between is Hamilton who wants to show at all costs that he is still the strongest.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | ITALIAN GP, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “WEEKEND IN MICHELE’S NAME”


With these values it truly takes very little to alter those results that seem already written and defined. It all began with two mistakes in the pits that brought Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen together at the first after the relative stops. Neither of the two wanted to lift his foot off the peddle and, as a spur of the moment comment, I would say that the blame is fifty-fifty. In the first lap they had already given each other a “small kiss”.

The tension between these two drivers is certainly very high and FIA should go into damage control to bring them back onto the right path. This tension then deprived us of the two main protagonists but at the same time gave us a wonderful and very tight grand prix with six drivers within the space of just eight seconds. There was no lack of penalties, as in the case of Perez who “gave” third place to an excellent Bottas who has started from the back of the grid. Full points for McLaren. With the double and the fastest lap by Daniel Ricciardo in the last lap the team strongly consolidated third place amongst the constructors, at Ferrari’s expense.

A wonderful weekend has ended with ACI that wanted the presence of the eighteen medals winners from Tokyo at Monza. The celebration Saturday morning with which the Parabolica curve was named after Michele Alboreto was moving and I had the great honour of being beside President Sticchi Damiani, Jean Todt, Matteo Binotto and Michele’s family.

There was a great friendship with Michele. He began and ended his career in open wheels with the Minardi Team, giving me the first and only win. He took the last point of his career at the Monaco Grand Prix at the wheel of the M194. We had been making many plans aimed at the growth of young drivers. We are carrying out this project with the school that bears his name, collecting important results with ACI Sport.

Once again Monza has given an important signal. This Grand Prix deserves continuity. And to conclude this extraordinary weekend, as of today the high chicane at Imola takes the name of the Fausto Gresini curve.

In two weeks the tussle will start up again with the Russian GP.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BELGIUM, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THE ALLOCATION OF THE POINTS HITS A WRONG NOTE”

There was safety in first place and this was protected. The decision not to run was smart as visibility was practically zero. The long winding row of cars had to lengthen to try and catch a glimpse of something as even the rear lights of the cars were no longer visible. Maybe this decision came a few hours late but I also understand the need of the organizers to start the race to protect the economic part. At times it is too easy to criticize.

Honestly the only negative point for me was the allocation of the points. Williams certainly hit bingo with both the cars in the points and Russell on the podium behind Verstappen but in so doing this may may have distorted  the constructors’ ladder (and therefore the attribution of the television rights to the teams) and the race for the world championship.

All this takes me back to 1985, again on the occasion of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. On that occasion we had a completely opposite weather with completely abnormal heat. The road surface had been completely relayed in the days preceding the race. The power of Formula 1 powered by the turbo engines had blown away the new surface creating a situation of great danger.

On that occasion the weekend was suspended from the Friday and subsequently recovered in the month of September. With today’s calendars it is impossible to think of a similar solution.

Therefore, I am 90% in agreement with the decision taken. What is lacking is the 10% linked to the allocation of the points. All that remains is to look forward to Holland.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP HUNGARY, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A TEAM VICTORY FOR ALPINE BUT THE PENALITES WERE NOT CONSISTENT”

The weekend that just finished will be hard to forget in a hurry for both Esteban Ocon and Alpine’s absolutely unexpected win and for what happened at the first curve. Valtteri Bottas and then Lance Stroll played bowling with their rivals and scored a strike. It was a rash manoeuvre by the Canadian who tried to make up six places braking (so to speak) on the grass, colliding with Leclerc who in turn crashed into Ricciardo. The race was absolutely compromised also for Max Verstappen who in two grands prix managed to gather only one point.

In Hungary we witnessed an unpredictable grand prix even if the restart after the red flag with only Lewis Hamilton on the starting grid while all the other cars restarted from pit-lane will stay in the annals of the world championship. The many times champion gave his all and reached the finish line exhausted. From last position he climbed up to third place on a track where it is hard to overtake setting off a wonderful duel with Fernando Alonso. Nando showed all his worth by managing to keep him at bay for four laps which were essential for Ocon to take the win ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

With the last two grands prix the championship has livened up. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes took the leadership again at Red Bull’s expense but anything can still happen. The gap between the two contenders for the title is not so big, even though Mercedes gave a demonstration of its competitiveness, safety and reliability, even if they made some mistakes.

It was a weekend that also highlighted how essential it is to put otgether a single work group for the whole season since once again we did not have uniformity in the decisions and penalties.

Bottas and Stroll got away with only two points on their drivers’ licenses and relegated five positions down the starting grid at Spa-Francorchamps while Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikonnen paid with a stop and go plus 10 seconds for speeding in pit-lane and the collision with Mazepin. In my opinion the marshals used a light hand with Hamilton as well. His behaviour in qualifying, at Perez’s expense, was punishable. For a similar manoeuvre Fernando Alonso paid five positions on the grid compromising his championship.

It was a good grand prix but the result was distorted at the start even though we must congratulate Alpine for a historic win. Important points also came for Alpha Tauri and especially Williams who were skilful in taking advantage of the situation.
After a break of a few days we will go towards the second part of the season which, due to the health emergency, we do not know how long it will be.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP GREAT BRITAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “HAMILTON AND VERSTAPPEN MUST CALM DOWN”

The first kilometres of the Silverstone Grand Prix were very hard, maybe too hard for Verstappen who tried to defend the leadership at any cost with the conclusion that he finished violently against the barriers at the Copse on the first lap after a collision with his direct rival.

I do not feel like putting all the blame on Hamilton but it could have been an accident with serious repercussions for Verstappen whose body absorbed more than 50Gs deceleration.

Besides the 10” penalty assigned to Hamilton I believe that the marshals should have summoned both drivers because I have the impression that it is going beyond a simple scuffle of the track.

It was not as if the championship were already finished beforehand but this zero points will rekindle the world championship considering that that Lewis reduced the gap to only eight points.

Behind the British driver was placed a perfect Leclerc, the author of a real masterpiece with a Ferrari that is certainly inferior to Mercedes and Red Bull. With the harder compounds it was not as competitive as Hamilton with the Mercedes but he squeezed his car to the full taking a result that was certainly unexpected on Thursday morning.

A different but interesting weekend has ended. I am convinced that the programme of the sprint race must be absolutely repeated but with a review of the format. I am a supporter of pole position taken with the fastest lap but the sprint race can be an interesting starting point for both the public and the teams and drivers, especially if the points system is extended to involve not only the first three finishers.

Gian Carlo Minardi

#F1SPRINT, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “ THE FIRST WAS GOOD, BUT…”

Pole position won with the fastest lap is something irreplaceable but as a first experiment the sprint race passed the test.

They were 17 very tight and exciting laps as Formula 1 should always be, especially Fernando Alonso’s comeback. His first lap was spectacular. Starting from eleventh place he took

However, I am of the opinion that some expedients must be taken. In order to increase the spectacle the points at stake should be increased to encourage the second tier drivers to take a few more risks, transforming these 100 kilometres into a real race rather than qualifying. In doing so we will have two grands prix, one a sprint and one regular, over the weekend, leaving the task of assigning pole position to qualifying.

Now it will be interesting to see tomorrow’s grand prix too to have a full panorama.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP AUSTRIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “RED BULL AND VERSTAPPEN PERFECT”

Repeating e result only a week later is not taken for granted but Red Bull managed to repeat Max Verstappen’s pole position and win by dictating an unsustainable pace leaving Bottas’ Mercedes more than 17” behind but this rises to 46” in comparison to Lewis Hamilton (fourth across the finish line) who was slowed down by a problem in the rear of his W12.

At this moment the Dutchman is in great shape accompanied by a Red Bull that does not miss a beat and the combination with Honda is an absolute winner, just as it is with Alpha Tauri that gathered another two points thanks to the ninth place with Gasly.

Carlos Sainz’s comeback was excellent and brought the team an important fifth place after finishing ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (seventh with the McLaren), also helped by the penalty to Perez for the collision with Leclerc, even if Lando Norris’ third place was a masterpiece that consolidated his team’s third place in the constructors’ ladder.

George Russell’s excellent race is also to be highlighted. With his Williams he fought with Alonso’s Alpine for tenth place after having taken the fourth row on the grid in qualifying. He would certainly have deserved the first point for the season but the eleventh place does not cancel his excellent performance.

In two weeks they will go to Silverstone and Mercedes must try to resolve its problems if it wants to keep the world championship alive. It will be the stage for the first qualifying race, a real novelty for Formula 1.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP STYRIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI

Max Verstappen won and dominated the Styrian GP by putting onto the track all the dominating power of his Red Bull against Mercedes’ direct rivals.

The Dutchman is driving very well without making the slightest mistake and showing great peace of mind which until last year was Lewis Hamilton’s calling card.

Red Bull is growing race after race and, finally, the excellent chassis is accompanied by a just as excellent engine even if I do not believe it is the best of the lot yet.

On the other side, Hamilton once again made the difference in Mercedes but he paid a major gap that must make Toto Wolff’s men think. He did very well by making the pit-stop in the penultimate lap to take the point for the fastest lap. This shows that every point will be fundamental in the fight for the title. With the third place Bottas won the personal duel with his direct rival in Red Bull, Sergio Perez, so finishing his main task in light on the constructors’ championship.

With the sixth and seventh places Ferrari once again finished behind McLaren and Norris as well as confirming the gap from the two top teams. The difference in the times is always important. I do not believe that the result would have changed without Leclerc’s mistake in the first lap.

At most that the driver from Monte Carlo may have finished ahead of his team but no more. With his mistake he ruined the race for Gasly who was forced to retire. The weekend was partially saved for Alpha Tauri by Tsunoda. With tenth place behind Alonso and ahead of Vettel and Raikonnen he limited the damage with Alpine’s direct rivals.

Fernando has changed gears since Monte Carlo and again here in Austria he managed to keep ahead of Ocon who must be content with fourteenth place. It was a good result for Lance Stroll as well who brought his Aston Martin to 8th place (12th Vettel) and behind the two Ferraris.

In a week they will race again, even if the weather conditions could change since rain is expected. After which they will move to Silverstone. The season is getting going with Red Bull always the leader on the

F1 | GIAN CARLO MINARDI “GASLY DESERVES THE HIGHEST MARK”

We are ready to experience the seventh weekend of a world championship that is giving us a lot of satisfaction, starting with the wonderful duel between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. We come to Austria which will be the setting for a double race in which the most important variable will be the tyres since for the Austrian GP the C2 will be replaced by the sifter C5.

On paper the track favours Red Bull, just like Paul Ricard should have favoured Mercedes, even if the results on the track told us another story. We are faced with a very hard-fought season where very little is really needed to overturn the result.

Once again the challenge at the lead will be between the seven times British champion and the Dutchman, while the number two drivers will be able to play for third place on the podium, as well as playing a decisive role in the fight for the constructors’ ladder.

Naturally this also applies for the teams behind them. To date Pierre Gasly deserves the highest marks for the season he has raced but the team is not supported by its number two driver as happens amongst its direct rivals from Aston Martin to Alpine. If Yuki Tsunoda does not reset himself accompanied by a dose of humility it will be very hard for Alpha Tauri to keep fifth place. It needs the contribution of both drivers to reach its objectives for the season.

After the double zero points the people in Ferrari must try to react so as not to worsen the gap from McLaren. They could defend themselves in qualifying while on race pace the gap widens.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP FRANCE , THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “CHAOS IN MERCEDES. A STEP BACKWARDS BY FERRARI”

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

THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MERCEDES IN DIFFICULTY’”

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