We continue our trip in time towards the United States Grand Prix and after Gian Carlo Minardi we approached Gabriele Tredozi, the engineer from Brisighella who marked his debut in the Formula 1 World championship wearing the Minardi Team colours beginning in 1988
We wanted to experience once more the emotions of Detroit ’88 and Phoenix ’90 from the technical point of view.
“I remember the Detroit weekend very well. It was my sixth grand prix in Formula 1 and I was the race engineer for the M188 number 23 entrusted that up to Canada was entrusted to Adrian Campos and from Detroit to Pierluigi Martini. That weekend Piero climbed into the car for the first time during free practice and he quickly set excellent times that showed he could be in the first ten places when he closed qualifying in sixteenth place. Bringing the car to the finishing line on debut on a street circuit and disjointed such as that of Detroit in sixth place was an extraordinary result, especially because the M188 had a number of problems,” remembered Tredozi.
The Minardi M188 designed by Caliri, nicknamed the “camel” due to its chronic instability was powered by a Ford 3.5 aspirated V8 and its very short wheelbase and the torsion bar suspension (an absolute innovation at the time) were badly suited for irregular road surfaces.
“This was a very rigid car and certainly not easy to drive, particularly on a street circuit. In August, in view of the grand prix at Monza, we managed however to resolve a large part of the problems thanks to an important intervention with the adoption, amongst other things, of the dynamic dome to increase the flow of air into the engine which let us gain two seconds”.
“This development was then transferred to the M189 that made its debut in Mexico (the third grand prix of the 1989 season, editor’s note), also beginning the following season at Phoenix by taking the front row with Martini, who was beaten only by Berger in the McLaren in the final minutes by only a few tenths of seconds,” continued Tredozi,
The Minardi M189 was surely the best car built at Faenza, both in terms of results with 6 points won (5th and 6th places in Great Britain, 5th place in Portugal and fourth place in qualifying in Spain and 6th place in Australia), as well as its performance at speed.
“The generational leap between the M188 and the M89 was important. The chassis was worked for the first time with a 5 axis numerical machine that exploited CAD-Cam technology instead of by hand, with rear shock absorbers to balance the gear box and great attention paid to the profile of the spoilers. The start of the season was not easy due to water cooling problems, but once we modified the system the efforts were repaid with the fifth and sixth places at Silverstone which were followed by other important results such as the front row at Phoenix 90,” concluded the engineer from the Romagna, “They were two incredible results that made Minardi history, achieved also thanks to Martini’s technical skills”.