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F1 | HONDA IS LEAVING, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THEY CONFIRMED THE INITIAL PROGRAMME. MANY SCENARIOS ARE OPENING”

The news came like a bolt out of the blue. The Japanese company announced its withdrawal at the end of next season, leaving both Red Bull racing and Alpha Tauri without a supplier.

“Certainly for those directly interested it was not unexpected news and they will already be moving on a number of fronts,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi reached by telephone at Mugello where he is involved in the ACI Sport Racing Weekend.

Honda’s departure is the result of the new Concord Agreement which allows everyone to leave Formula 1 with only a year’s notice without having to pay a penalty. Honestly, it’s not a good sign for the paddock. This news has blown everyone away, even if it was part of the initial plan by the Japanese who had stated right from the start their stay was up to 2021,” continued the manager from Faenza.

Honda is ready to end a cycle that was certainly not easy, even if they had started to reap the rewards with Red Bull which must now knock on the doors of Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes. “This decision opens many scenarios, one of which is the change of strategy by Mercedes with a programme directed solely at supplying engines. Mercedes could sell its team.

In addition to the supply by Mercedes, the other channel could be the return of the Renault Power-Unit which from next year will be in the World Championship with the Alpine brand. “The relations between Red Bull and Renault were not the happiest for which the collaboration had an abrupt ending but at this time anything is possible” Honda’s exit could also be read as the failure of the hybrid era “The reality is that in this moment there are no news constructors interested in entering the world championship and from 2021 we will have only three engine producers. Not the best for the image of F1,” concluded Gian Carlo Minardi.

F1 | MONZA, MUGELLO, IMOLA. GIAN CARLO MINARDI “SOURCE OF GREAT PRIDE”

It is official. In addition to Monza (6 September – Italian Grand Prix) and Mugello (13 September – Grand Prix of Tuscany) Italy will also have another round.

Imola’s Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit will host once more a round of the Formula 1 World Championship 14 years after the last round won by Michael Schumacher in 2006 with Ferrari, in front of Kimi Raikonnen and Robert Kubica.

Three grands prix on three different circuits must be a source of great pride for Italy. The inclusion of Imola gives me much pleasure both as a Motorsport enthusiast and as President of the ACI Sport Speed Commission on Circuits. It’s certainly a circuit that I’m very fond of since I live barely 14km from the Circuit and, not by chance, we chose it as the venue for the Historic Minardi Day.

We have given a major, as well unique, show of strength managing to make up for the lack of others without having to resort to a double grand prix on the same circuit which, in the case of Silverstone, could become even triple. This is a solution that I honestly don’t appreciate.commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

The Circus will return to the track alongside the Santerno River during the weekend of 1 November, a week after the Portuguese Grand prix, the other novelty together with the Eifel Grand Prix which will be run at Nurburging on 11 October.

F1 | GP HUNGARY, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “MERCEDES OVERWHELMING. EXCELLENT VERSTAPPEN”

Here in Budapest Mercedes showed all its overwhelming power in both the chassis and the engine. They were perfect in both qualifying and the race showing supremacy that is more unique than rare. With Hamilton they took the luxury of stopping for a final tyre change three laps from the finish crossing the finish line with a lead of more than 8” on Verstappen and also setting the fastest lap, leaving only five drivers at full laps.

We have to go back to the Williams era to find similar overwhelming power.

Not only do Hamilton and Bottas have a car bordering on perfection but Mercedes manages to also supply excellent material to its clients as we saw especially in qualifying. Let me be clear, I am absolutely against the clones and the assemblers because they go against the logic of the constructors’ championship.

Congratulations to Red Bull that gave a great show of strength, above all after Verstappen’s mistake in the warm-up lap. A second place, maybe unexpected, that rewarded both the driver and above all the whole team for the excellent work done. Albon is indecipherable after paying a gap of more than 1” from his team mate.
The two McLarens were missing in this grand prix but most probably their chassis was not suitable for this particular circuit that is very slow.

Chapter Ferrari: I would not give too much importance to the mistake (if we can say this) of strategy on Leclerc with the choice of the red tyres since the weather forecasts were put aside. This was shown by the result achieved by Vettel who finished in sixth place, a lap behind McLaren.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | Gp Austria, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI THE 5th FORCE”

The Formula 1 world championship started again with a “bang”. The grand prix showed all the problems tied to a championship that started four months late between reliability problems, mistakes by the mechanics and a certain nervousness by Vettel and Hamilton, the latter certainly helped by the marshals who decided to give him a 40’ penalty for the start of the race.

The grand prix was distorted by 4 safety cars (this had not happened in a while), just as seeing only eleven cars cross the finish line. All the teams had problems, except for Ferrari that however saved the weekend thanks to a great driver, a good strategy and a lot of luck.

Ferrari was the only team not to improve its lap time compared to the previous edition despite running with the same mixes and showed problems also on the engine front as also emerged from the times by Alfa Romeo and Haas. Beyond the result Ferrari is the championship’s fifth force behind Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point, paying a gap of more than 1” second from the top. The result in qualifying certainly reflected better the real forces at play.

It was a pity for Albon. He was the only driver to keep up with Mercedes, helped by an excellent strategy by Red Bull’s men on the wall. The work was thwarted by the collision with Hamilton who was then rightly penalized.

Unfortunately, we lost one of the protagonists right from the start, Verstappen.

Congratulations to Lando Norris who reached his first podium at 20 years of age with a McLaren in good shape, even if I did not understand the strategy used by Sainz. I hope that this is not the beginning of a political and not clean ploy in regards to the Spaniard.
Honestly, I also did not understand the strategy used by Alfa Romeo with Giovinazzi which was remedied under the safety car with the Italian managing to finish in ninth place in front of Vettel.

There was another mistake by Vettel who was nervous when he came to Austria. I did not understand his declarations during the press conference that went against what we had read up till then and had never denied by him.

This will be replayed in a week’s time, even if with different mixes. There really is little time with a lot of work to do.

In the next few days I want to discuss the clones with you which should race in a separate championship.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP AUSTRIA, MINARDI “IT FINALLY STARTS”

Tomorrow it finally starts after the very long lockdown. It will be a restart full of variables starting with the weather forecasts that promise rain for Friday.

We are faced with a situation that is anomalous and new for everybody with a calendar that at the moment is made up of 8 rounds compressed into two months with the Italian grand prix scheduled for September 6.

It starts again on a track characterized by heavy braking and demanding bends where the gas will be open to the max for 78% of the lap. It is a considerable challenge for the drivers who have been practically stopped since the March tests except for some sporadic outings on the track.

Red Bull will take to the track after the wins in the last two editions but Mercedes is still the car of reference despite the reliability problems that emerged during the Barcelona tests.

The teams have had little time to work on the developments that were initially planned and they will restart from the winter tests that highlighted great competitiveness with the cars enclosed within a gap of barely 1.7”.

Amongst this season’s anomalies we have to also add the change of colours of some drivers with Carlos Sainz’s arrival in Ferrari, Ricciardo’s in McLaren and Sebastian Vettel momentarily on foot.

We will also have to watch what will happen inside the paddock considering the significant financial problems of the teams (see Williams and McLaren) and also on the part of Liberty Media.

There is a lot of meat on the fire but one thing is certain. At 11.00 am tomorrow, Friday, the motor will roar once more.

Gian Carlo Minardi

MINARDI M192 | GIAN CARLO MINARDI’S DEBUT IN “HIS” IMOLA

Sunday May 7, 2017, Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit. This was certainly another important date in the history of the Minardi Team and especially for Gian Carlo Minardi.

Since we began this trip amongst the cars from Faenza many of you fans have asked us to tell the story of the Lamborghini powered Minardi M192 but we deliberately waited.

As we said, May 7, 2017. Why this date rather than go back to May 17, 1992, the day of the M 192’s debut in the Formula 1 World Championship at the San Marino Grand Prix (the 5th Grand Prix)?

We are again at the Santerno circuit but the occasion was the second edition of the Historic Minardi Day, the event created by Gian Carlo Minardi together with his brothers and brought to the track alongside Formula Imola.

Collector and driver Fritz van Eerd made available to Gian Carlo Minardi the M192-Lamborghini (ex Fittipaldi. Zanardi and Morbidelli) who thus made his absolute debut at the wheel of one of his cars. In fact, we discovered that before then Gian Carlo had never wanted to try one of his cars.

The circuit’s pit lane and terrace were full of fans and the Gian Carlo’s exit from the pit was accompanied by a roar and applause.

“It was a magic moment and I must thank my friend Frits van Eerd. This event will stay in the history of the Historic Minardi Day, also because I’m sure I set the slowest ever lap at the wheel of a racing car,” remembered a smiling Gian Carlo.

The racing car designed by Aldo Costa mounted a Lamborghini engine-gearbox group and is characterized by a highly visible front wing inspired by the Jordan (which proved to be rather unstable).

This solution was the main cause of the performance problems of the car as it was extremely hard to find a good compromise between slow and fast, while on some circuits such as Hungaroring and Spa it was downright undriveable.

At high speed the front wing loaded too much forcing penalizing choices on the set up to avoid under steer at speed. In view of the Italian GP in Monza the team decided to take a step back and returned to the design of the M191 and the balance of the car changed radically.

Not coincidentally, on that weekend Morbidelli took 10th place on the starting grid while in Japan Fittipaldi took a deserved 6th place.

It was a car with major potential, unfortunately created badly, but it is still in the hearts of many fans. Since May 7, 2017 there is also another reason.

MINARDI PS01 | FERNANDO ALONSO’S STAR IS BORN

Fernando Alonso(ESP) European Minardi PS01 – Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne, Australia 2nd-4th March 2001

For the 2001 season Minardi wanted to produce a car with the weights moved as low as possible, based on the experienced gathered from the previous season’s car.

The PS01 was created with a low nose cone and with a rather square shape, combined with a strongly spoon shaped wing and pull rod front suspensions.

However, these suspensions penalized the car’s aerodynamic development in a season in which it would have been an advantage to raise the nose cone to reduce the negative effects connected to the new aerodynamic limitations introduced by the Federation.

Even from the aerodynamic point of view the rigidity of the suspension with the layout of the pull rods revealed all its limits. The arrangement of the radiators always lying forward with a view to always being able to create low sides was unprecedented.

Minardi also introduced a second version of the titanium cast gearbox casing in the August trials in Monza and made its debut in Germany with Fernando Alonso. The experiment was repeated in Hungary with both drivers and used in the race only by Tarso Marques (who had come back to Faenza). The new gearbox, again created by CRP, was even lighter and stiffer compared to the first version introduced as an absolute novelty in Spain in 2000.

  • L-R: Fernando Alonso(ESP), Tarso Marques(BRA) Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying, Spa Francorchamps 1 September 2001 DIGITAL IMAGE

Furthermore, the B version made its debut in Germany with a much more compact rear section and with a wheel base that was 28mm shorter.

The 2001 season also saw Fernando Alonso’s debut in Formula 1 when he stood out on his debut in the Circus with an encouraging 12th place in Melbourne. At the Malaysian GP of March 18 Alonso scored another good result but his 13th place was three laps behind the winner… Marques took a satisfying 9th place in Brazil, as he also did in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The last round of the season on the Suzuka circuit in Japan again saw Fernando Alonso as the great protagonist. The driver from Asturias ran the whole race at such a high rhythm that it was described as “53 qualifying laps”. Unfortunately, the final 11th place did not properly express the happy combination of man and machine in that race but remained n exceptional result taking into account that the speed performance of the Minardi was inferior due to the low power of the Cosworth V10.

Despite all the team’s efforts the 2001 season was filed away with zero points but there remained the awareness of having introduced Alonso’s talent to the international audience with the Spaniard after passing onto Flavio Briatore’s court as Renault’s test driver the season after.

Fernando Alonso(ESP) European Minardi PS01 – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka 12 October 2001.

MINARDI M02 | NEW TECHNOLICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND ATTAINING 250 GP

Gustav Brunner designed an innovative racing car for the 2000 season. The M02 presented a lower and more pointed nose cone, compact sides, high exhausts and a slimmer central part of the car’s body.

A further improvement compared to the M01 was represented by the new totally titanium gearbox produced by CRP in Modena which had extremely limited dimensions and introduced in the Spanish GP.

Furthermore, during the season Minardi introduced two other new developments. The first was the first F1 racing car to adopt set down brake callipers and the never before seen double U shape of the rib to ease the entry and exit of the driver from the cockpit.

Once again the car’s weak point was the engine, the V10 Cosworth which was renamed Fondmetal. With a more powerful engine and adequate development the Minardi M02 could have placed in the middle of the standings.

After the positive start to the season the financial support of Telefonica grew (the livery changes as well) which continued to support the Spaniard Marc Genè who was joined by the Argentinean Gaston Mazzacane with Luca Badoer called back to Ferrari to continue in his role as test driver.

In the opening Grand Prix of the season in Australia on March 12 Genè took the M02 to 8th place with Mazzacane repeating the result on May 12 at the European GP at Nurburgring. At the A1 Ring in Austria the Spaniard once again finished in 8thplace.

On August 27 on the occasion of the Belgian GP between the ups and downs of the Ardennes the Minardi Team crossed the finish line of 250 GP.

During the season the Minardi Team again placed in the top-10: Mazzacane was 10th at Interlagos and on the home track in the temple of speed in Monza where Marc and Gaston crossed the finish line in 9th and 10th places respectively. Thanks to these results the Minardi Team once again took 10th place in the Constructors’’ ladder in front of the Prost of Alesi and Heidfeld.

Unfortunately the season was marked by the discovery of Rumi’s incurable medical condition which forced him to sell his shares, with Paul Stoddart as the new purchaser.

MINARDI M01 | NURBURGRING, BETWEEN JOY AND PAIN

The Minardi M01 designed by Gustav Brunner after his period in Ferrari represented a very ambitious project for the team from Faenza. Unlike the racing cars that had preceded it the car presented no component that came from a previous model. The whole car was new.

Both the hub-holder and the guide box were cast in titanium, while the gearbox casing was represented a pioneering work of magnesium casting. The rear of the M01 was undoubtedly the most successful part from the aerodynamic point of view with the engine hood and the side appendages that improved the air flow in front of the rear tyres.

On the drivers’ side Gian Carlo Minardi and Gabriele Rumi, who joined the company in 1997, called to Faenza Luca Badoer who had put himself on show in 1996 before becoming a point of reference in the development of the Ferrari and at his side was the Spaniard debutant Marc Genè, supported by Telefonica.

Badoer did not disappoint the expectations by showing all his technical and speed values, especially during the European GP run on the new Nurburgring on September 26

  • Minardi M01 Lunch

Under pouring rain that contributed to reducing the differences between the major and minor team by lowering the influence of the power of the engines, Badoer took his M01 into the top placings achieving fourth place in front of Ralf Schumacher in the Williams, Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR and his team mate Genè by setting impressive times which brought him closer to Barrichello in the Stewart (3rd).

The dreams for glory of both Luca and the Minardi Team were shattered by the failure of the gearbox during the 54th lap, 13 laps from the chequered flag, which forced him to park the racing car on the side of the track. The Spaniard relieved the team’s morale by giving the team its first world championship point with 6th place the finishing line.

This wonderful race was a comforting demonstration of the quality of both Luca Badoer and the Minardi M01 which once again had only the engine as its Achilles heel.

However, the two eighth places in the San Marino GPs on May 2 by Badoer and the Canadian GP on June 13 by Marc Genè should also be remembered.

MINARDI M195 | FAENZA RAISES ITS NOSE CONE

After the positive season in 1994 which ended with 5 points to its credit and tenth place in the Constructors’’ Championship the Board of Directors decided to raise the bar by giving priority to a more powerful engine which would have given greater guarantees for the leap in quality.

The choice fell on the Mugen-Honda with the Japanese who made themselves available. After having made all the preliminary agreements and with the work already started for the definition of the details of the engine to be installed in the new racing car Honda announced that its engines would go to Ligier owned by Flavio Briatore. Minardi stated a long legal action against the manager from Cuneo and his team which ended only on the occasion of the British Grand Prix on July 9 with the lump sum refund for the damages suffered and the cancellation of Minardi’s residual debt in regards to the Cosworth owned by the same Briatore.

The design of the M195 had to continue in any case and for the 1995 season it was decided to fall back on the usual Cosworth engine, the 3000 cc Ford ED V6.

Designed by Aldo Costa, the M195 was the first Minardi with a high nose cone and made its debut in Interlagos in Brazil on March 26 in the first of the 17 rounds on the calendar.

The design of the flanks and the air intakes of the radiators will be taken up by the 1997 Ferrari F310. Created with a new front wing with step that traced the pan section, this solution was gradually abandoned between the GPs in Spain and Monte Carlo. Furthermore, the M195 was characterized by the exhaust of the hot air on the upper part of the flanks (similar to the first McLaren Mp24), a solution that was also abandoned after the French GP.

The major developments in 1995 on the sporting front were the retirement of Michele Alboreto from F1 after having started his career with the F2 Minardi in 1982 winning at Misano and the arrival of Luca Badoer beside Pierluigi Martini with the latter giving way for Pedro Lamy starting from Hungary.

The season was run fast with a number of placings in the top 10: 8th place with Badoer in Montreal and Hungary, 7th Martini at Silverstone and Badoer 10th, 9th by Lamy at the Nurburgring and Badoer in Suzuka and Lamy’s 10th place at Spa-Francorchamps.

Just when it was thought that the season would end with no points, on November 12 in Adelaide the Portuguese driver took 6th place (after having started in 21st place on the grid) behind Mika Salo in the Tyrrel, a point that once again placed the team in 10th place amongst the Constructors.

During the end of season tests on the Fiorano track of November 25 and 26 another young driver was called, Giancarlo Fisichella, who would make his debut in the Formula 1 world championship with the Minardi team in Melbourne on March 10, 1996.

MINARDI M191 | THE FERRARI ENGINE CAME

April 5 1990 was another historic date for Gian Carlo Minardi and the Minardi Team. It was announced that from the 1991 season Ferrari would supply its 12 cylinder engine to the Minardi Team. For the first time in its history Ferrari supplied one of its components to another team.

The Aldo Costa designed M191 became the first car in history to mount a Ferrri client engine. The chassis, built around two small drivers such as Pierluigi Martini (68kg) and Gianni Morbidelli (65kg) presented a reduced and extreme body. The car was born and entirely developed around the engine from Maranello and the Minardi gearbox. During the season it benefitted from significant aerodynamic and technical development. It was an extremely expensive car that heavily committed the team from the technical point of view.

The M191’s Achilles’ heel was the gearbox, created in house which proved very fragile. Constantly, the clutch broke after a few race laps forcing the drivers to continue on without.

Despite this the car stood out constantly reaching the top 10 in qualifying in the last eight GPs of the season (from Hungary to Australia) achieving two fourth places (at Imola and Estoril with Martini) and a total of six points and 7th amongst the Constructors of the 18 teams entered.

As stated, the season’s first great satisfaction came on April 28th on a Sunday strongly conditioned by the rain. On the home track, the third round of the season, Martini achieved a real masterpiece placing 4th at the end of a race run after the 20th lap without the clutch and therefore with the nightmare of breaking the gearbox and without being able to stop at the pits to change tyres. It was a true triumph.

With this result the trust in Ferrari was also rewarded, having brought the only car with a Ferrari engine across the finish line on the darkest day for the cars in red with Prost out in the formation lap and Alesi stuck in the sand at the Tosa bend immediately after the start. The same situation occurred in Montreal with the M191 no. 23 which crossed the finishing line in seventh place with the only surviving Ferrari engine.

On July 15th, on the occasion of the British Grand Prix, the Minardi Team crossed the finish line of 100 grands prix, finishing in 9th place. The 1985 Brazil GP was a distant memory.

F1 in the time of COVID-19 | Silverstone tries to double MINARDI “ I can’t see the change of direction as feasible”

Fernando Alonso(ESP) European Minardi PS01 – British Grand Prix, Silverstone 15 July 2001 – DIGITAL IMAGE

The world of Motorsport, and not only, is in an uproar and we read almost every day new proposals to try to save what can be saved. The Formula 1 Circus does not absolutely seem to want to take into examination the idea of cancelling the 2020 season. With the Canadian Grand Prix we have reached seven rounds that must be rescheduled but now we are coming to important hours for France and the months available continue to shrink. China and Monte Carlo have already cancelled their events for the season.

The most recent idea to try and save the season comes from Stuart Pringle, the manager of the Silverstone circuit which, according to the calendar, should (the conditional is compulsory) host the world championship during the weekend of July 19th.

“It will be very difficult to carry out this solution as firstly the aspect of safety must be considered. The escape routes must be designed according to the direction of the travel of track, which will be followed by the issue of the homologation of the circuit and on a historic track such as Silverstone any such change of direction is not so fast,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi interviewed by www.Minardi.it

“A few years ago the Adria circuit had taken into consideration the creation of a private championship alternating races from one direction to another. What stopped the project was the safety factor tied to the positioning of the escape routes and obtaining the double homologation of the system. For this very reason I do not consider the idea proposed by Silverstone to be feasible,” concluded Minardi.

F1 | Gp Australia, MINARDI “Thursday, the first challenge”

CWell here we are, between controversies and unknown factors all the teams got to Australia, the stage for the first round of a long and demanding season, even with the unknown factor of “COVID 19” .

Despite the closing of the Albert Park Hotel near the track and the staff placed in quarantine after having recorded its first positive case to Covid-19 the weekend of racing is still confirmed even if the Premier of the State of Victoria admits that all could change in an instant.
Teams and drivers arrived in Melbourne after only six days of testing, not enough to define the forces in the field but enough to fuel various controversies.

The first race of the season will be run on Thursday with the Federation called in with the first most complex and in-depth verification of the regularity of all the cars. Any disputes could start from there.

Under the magnifying glass there are the World Champion Mercedes, with Red Bull that could be asked, under the regulations, for an explanation of the grip of the rear bracket that last year FIA had retained regular but also Racing Point, the well built “clone” of the 2019 Mercedes that surprised at Barcelona.

The verifications will also be the testing ground for knowing if there has been an end to the secret agreement between the Federation and Ferrari which the seven teams without Ferrari engines did not like with Red Bull’s Marko using tough regarding on FIA.

Controversies aside, Melbourne will be the opportunity to tidy things up and to understand the real forces in the field. At Barcelona we witnessed a very interesting compaction of the field with all the cars enclosed in a gap of barely 1’15”. And if this is so we expect a great tussle. Mercedes is still the team to beat, even if reliability is an unknown factor. We will see what will be the response of RP’s Perez and Stroll.

We expect a weekend full of uncertainties, including on the weather front with some rain expected in Friday but a sunny Sunday. The only certainty is with the tyres, the same as last season, with the teams that have practically confirmed their 2019 strategies. Ferrari and Red Bull have opted for 9 sets of the C4 Softs, like last season and with Mercedes which will have 10 available, one more than to 2019.

It is a track of traction and braking with little grip since it is a purely street asphalt which could easily see the entry of the safety car.

In brief, there are all the premises for experiencing and enjoyable weekend full of developments. Qualifying will start at 7.00am and the Grand Prix at 6.10am (Italian time live on Sky Sport F1 HD).

Gian Carlo Minardi