The two days of tests on the Budapest track as well as bringing Robert Kubica on track for a official appointment with Renault, the debuts by Luca Ghiotto with Williams and Charles Leclerc (an FDA driver) in the Ferrari and without forgetting the great work completed by Antonio Giovinazzi during the free practice in the Hungarian Grand Prix and at Barcelona for the Pirelli tests also brought attention back to the problems of young drivers to put a place in the top racing category.
With the departure of the Manor team before the start of the season the places available for this year’s world championship decreased to only twenty. It is certainly an ever tighter funnel for the many young drivers climbing the pyramids of the training categories until they reach the new Formula 2.
This time the person feeding the debate was Gunther Steiner. The Haas Team owner – in his second season the F1 –and currently in seventh place on the constructors’ ladder – emphasized the lack of small team such as Minardi which in its 21 seasons was able to launch many young drivers who then went on to confirm their skills in the top teams and writing their names in the winners lists.
“Minardi’s DNA was that of always working with young drivers, beginning in Formula 2 and carrying on this attitude even into Formula 1. However, Minardi worked and wagered non only on young drivers but it also trained mechanics, press officers, technicians and engineers that then found places in the most prestigious teams”
“I have been saying for years that Formula 1 lacks personalities with the will and the capacity to wager on the young by bringing new faces into the paddock. Recently we have witnessed only the important changes of team colours. Personally I established an agreement with Bologna University which advised us of the most deserving students to be placed into the Minardi team structure,” continues the manager, “The top teams that aim for the world title must have in their teams drivers already trained. It is up to the other teams to take on the task of finding or giving experience to the young drivers of the future by finding the perfect mix of experience and talent. Therefore it is vital supporting a Junior Team” remembered Gian Carlo Minardi interviewed at the microphones of the www.minardi.it blog.
In his analysis the manager and chief engineer of the American team commented “When Minardi was there he was almost happy to be last because he knew that he had the duty to bring young drivers into Formula 1. He would surely have preferred being further ahead, but he could live with that because it was their business model.”
Against this the manager from Faenza remembered the successes achieved by his team such as the seventh place in the 1991 world championship and the efforts made by them to make its debut in Brazil on April 4th, 1985.
“In its history Minardi won many important placings despite limited financial resources and even more restrictive regulations. I lived a period in which the starting grid was made up of more than the current ten teams and with points given only to those who finished in the first six places.”
“In addition, we did not have the same protection in the supply of engines and tyres which, as I always said, are black and round. When we finally got the opportunity of having important engines such as the Ferrari (we were the absolute first team to become clients for Maranello) we achieved seventh place in the constructors’ ladder. Other teams needed more years to achieve the same results.
“In order to make our debut in 1985, we had to build our turbo engine (Motori Moderni) fighting against the official houses. In order to continue our adventure in 2000 we bought old Cosworth engines (relabelled Fondmetal at first and then European) whereas today the technical regulations oblige the constructors present to supply more than one team and identical specifications for all in regards to the supply of tyres,” concluded the ex constructor.