Five years together. From Formula 2 to Formula 1. We are talking about the duo Minardi-Nannini. In this end of year, we had the pleasure to meet Alessandro Nannini, who very kindly went back to the 80s for a moment and answered our questions. From the first meeting with Gian Carlo Minardi till the arrival at F1 World Championship.
Hi Alessandro, to start this interview let’s come back to the mid-80s. When was the first contact with Gian Carlo Minardi?
The first contact with Gian Carlo Minardi was in 1982, when he proposed me the wheel of his Minardi F2 next to Paolo Barilla, after my win in Abarth Formula. On the whole, I spent with Gian Carlo 5 years: I raced three F2 and two F1 seasons.
In 1986 you, a very young boy, joined Minardi team, and remained even in 1987. Two difficult seasons characterized by many retreats.
Two years characterized by troubles due to Motore Molteni, especially turbo complications. The chassis was good, unlucky the Achilles’heel was the engine, designed by an engineer that I personally consider a real genius. A lot of retreats. The lack of reliability has been a pity. Anyway, the years spent along with Minardi Team have been extraordinary, even more beautiful than my period with Benetton. After all, we are talking about a manager who discovered and launched the best drivers of the last years.
What impresses you in a man from Romagna like Gian Carlo Minardi?
I am “in love” with Gian Carlo. No one has his passion for this sport and he is a real talent to find out drivers. He loves engines. In the last 20 years he has discovered the most talented drivers, as their curricula demonstrate.
The most difficult time of your period at Minardi?
There aren’t. Unfortunately, the engine wasn’t up to expectations, even if , as I said, it was designed by an excellent engineer. The car chassis, instead, was good.
Among Boutsen, Pirro, Herbert and Piquet?
Piquet, three times world champion. From him I learned a lot about the improvement of a car. You can’t win three titles for chance.
We have also a question by a fan of yours. Is there an event that you especially remember?
There would be too many episodes to tell. As I said, those were really amazing years, I got a true fun, I met a lot of girls and, along with Paolo Barilla (F2) we made a lot of mess. As a matter of fact, year after year, we had trouble finding hotels because they didn’t want us as customers.
In 1997 you retired. What do you do now?
Sometimes, I lead the way with Subaru. After spending a lot of time on track, now that I am 56 years old , I am attracted to the soil. But I do it occasionally.