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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.

F1 in the time of COVID-19 | MINARDI “The teams have allegedly asked Liberty Media for three months of sabbatical before restarting”

These are delicate days for Formula 1. At stake is not only a Motorsport season but also the future of many teams. Not racing would mean losing television rights and subsequently lower income but this time of worldwide health emergency does not allow drafting long term programmes since we are faced with scenarios that are continually changing.

After Canada, the future of the French Grand Prix scheduled for June 28th is also at risk,

“At this time it must be remembered that the main problem is the closure of the borders and therefore as of today any type of movement is banned, both within and between countries. I smile when I hear that Austria gave the OK to race,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

“Maybe Red Bull is one of the few tracks that can host a grand prix behind closed doors but with the teams unable to move nothing is done. At the moment it is impossible to hypothesize international involvement,”

continued the manager emphasizing that for most of the circuits ticket sales represent the sole income to deal with the huge costs of hosting and organizing a grand prix.

Furthermore, putting into action such a complex organizational machine as a Formula 1 team requires time.

“For this reason the teams have allegedly asked Liberty media for a three month sabbatical from the earliest date. This being the case, the first grand prix would be raced no earlier than September,” was the analysis of the manager from Faenza.

MINARDI “DAS IS A DECOY. I WILL EXPLAIN WHY”

The 2020 Formula 1 season started officially with the first three days of tests at Montmelò. Even if it is hard to guess the forces at play there was no lack of surprises and twists.

In particular the three days put into the spotlight two issues, one positive and spectacular – the Mercedes labelled Dual Axis Steering – and one negative dictated by clones that I want to deal with later.

Despite being at the end of a cycle – from 2021 the technical regulations will be turned upside down – Mercedes amazed everyone with a new development that had never been seen before in Motorsport, the innovated steering system named DAS that is already present in some high end production cars. This was unlike what we had been used to with production car technology passed on to Motorsport and not vice versa. This lets us understand how far Mercedes is technologically and I am sorry that BMW did not decide to enter the Circus because it would have the skill to oppose the domination.

Despite being at the end of a cycle – from 2021 the technical regulations will be turned upside down – Mercedes amazed everyone with a new development that had never been seen before in Motorsport, the innovated steering system named DAS that is already present in some high end production cars. This was unlike what we had been used to with production car technology passed on to Motorsport and not vice versa. This lets us understand how far Mercedes is technologically and I am sorry that BMW did not decide to enter the Circus because it would have the skill to oppose the domination.

This is a project that requires a development time of about 7-8 months and carried out in parallel with FIA which has already declared it legal but at the same time bans it from 2021. Once again the International Federation has shown all the limits to its administration and approval of the regulations. Such behaviour puts the credibility of Formula 1 into serious question. I do not want to believe that they will use the excuse of a matter of safety. Otherwise everything in F1 would become dangerous.

I will stop here for now but in the next few days I will talk to you about the matter of “clones”.

Gian Carlo Minardi

Foto © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images