F1 | GP IMOLA, THE POINT BYGIAN CARLO MINARDI “AN EXCEPTIONAL PUBLIC. THREE DAYS OF CELEBRATING”

It was a sensational weekend both numerically and qualitatively, managing to exceed every expectation. Certainly, the counts are made a few days after the end of the event, analysing both the positive and critical aspects, but, as of today, the positive feedback is plentiful.

My personal congratulations are all directed to the team of Formula Imola that, after an intense month between the FIA WEC and the thirty-year anniversary of Senna, came through the Formula 1 Grand Prix exceptionally well.

Special praise goes to the public that filled the Circuit. As usual they were the “Number 1s” and the real winners of this event. Right to the end they were protagonists of a clean and sporting support by acclaiming and cheering all the drivers.

During these three days there was an atmosphere of celebration, also thanks to the sunny spring weather. One felt the desire to return to experiencing sport and motorsport as it once was.

From the sporting point of view, there was a lack of spectacle on the track in a grand prix won, once again, by Max Verstappen on Red Bull. In the first part of the race, he did what he wanted, managing to then administer the lead despite the problem at the end.

Lando Norris’ race was extraordinary, an excellent second place in a strong McLaren in both qualifying and the race, as did Charles Leclerc, an excellent third. Perhaps more was expected from Ferrari, but the results are in line with the developments.

We saw an important upward compaction in the performances of McLaren and Ferrari, in particular they narrowed slightly the gap from the direct rivals. The fight for the points zone and for the podium is becoming fiercer.

Certainly, Red Bull and Verstappen remain the points of reference. They lapped without problems with a better pace between 3 and 5 tenths of a second better than the competition. This allowed them to manage the race despite the problem.

Mercedes, sixth and seventh across the finish line, grew in line with the other teams.

Monaco is just around the corner, a peculiar circuit, not easy, and completely different from Imola.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP IMOLA, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “APPROACHING A FULLHOUSE WITH 200,000 PEOPLE. WEEKEND FULL OF EVENTS BOTH ON AND OFF THE TRACK AND WITH A FULL FANZONE, IN THE NAME OF MOTORSPORT”

We are in the final phase of the organization, certainly a demanding stage, but we can be satisfied with the great work done on all aspects. From the point of view of the attendance, we are close to the record for Imola, almost 200,000. For the Sunday we are approaching a full house, and the days of Friday and Saturday are growing well.

These are two days full of events, on and off the track, as well as on Sunday, starting with qualifying which promises to be very tight. As per tradition, with the arrival in Europe all the teams will introduce important new technical innovations, the result of the data collected in the first grands prix of the season. Imola is the seventh round, the second quarter of the season.

Red Bull and Max Verstappen continue to be the points of reference, but the gap is definitely narrower. At least on paper, total supremacy by the reigning champions is not expected. In Miami we already saw that they can be beaten, as Lando Morris proved with, amongst other things, his first career win.  Ferrari and Mercedes, like all the others, Red Bull included, will introduce important updates. Hopefully they will also be decisive. By putting pressure on the rival, it is easier to lead him into error.

As a track we have introduced some new developments, according to the FIA guidelines, and the new homologation rules that involved, in particular, the kerbs and a smaller escape route at the Tamburello, Rivazza, Gresini and Acque Minerali bends.

Fan Zone already open on Thursday afternoon

In addition to the on-track activity, there will be no lack of entertainment in the Fanzone, already open on Thursday (prologue with free entry from 1.00pm), with 16 simulators, a Ferris wheel, F1 PitStop Challenge, DJ Set, as well as the possibility of meeting the drivers in autographs sessions on the large stage of the Music Area. Furthermore, a lot of historic F1 single seater racing cars on show in the Fanzone and inside the Motor Valley Area set up to promote the motoring excellence in the Emilia-Romagna Region.

 The weekend programme between Formula 1, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Leonardo Fornaroli and Gabriele Minì

The Grand Prix programme foresees two sessions of free practice from 1.30pm to 2.30pm, and from 5.00pm to 6.00pm, on Saturday the third session of free practice from 12.30pm to 3.00pm which will be followed by qualifying from 4.00pm to 5.00pm. On Sunday the race is scheduled to start at 3.00pm. The race will be run over 63 laps of the Imola Circuit (4,909metres) for a total of 309.049km.

In addition to F.1, on the track there will be Formula 2 with a special eye on Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema), Formula 3 with Leonardo Fornaroli (currently second on with 37 points equal to Browing) and Gabriele Minì (third with 32 points) fighting for the leadership and Porsche Supercup.

A Circuit easily reached by train

Reaching the Circuit from the station is really easy; only 1,500 metres of protected path, all straight ahead, separate the station from the circuit, immediately walking down Viale Andrea Costa (with the new upgraded sections which are greener and more accessible), then crossing through the historic city centre with many initiatives, and finally, entering viale Dante, a treelined stretch that leads directly to the Circuit’s tower. For the event Trenitalia has scheduled special Freccia Rossa and Intercity trains, as well as additional regional trains provided by Trenitalia TPER.

A wide range of parking

For those who come by car or bus, many convenient parking areas have been setup, even close to the entries to the circuit. In addition, three temporary camping areas have also been setup, with compulsory booking until all the places are filled. The map and the directions are on  https://visitareimola.it/evento/gran-premio-di-f1/

There are all the ingredients for experiencing an intense weekend of Motorsport, while then waiting for the 8th edition of the Historic Minardi Day (24-25 August)

 

F1 | GP MIAMI, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “NOW I AM WAITING FOR YOU ALL IN IMOLA. TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE THREE DAYS”

Miami gave us Lando Norris’ first win. An auspicious result not only for McLaren and its fans, but also for all of Formula 1 and for the continuation of the world championship, above all with the arrival in Europe and on tracks that are “as real” as they are historic, such as Imola.

It was a hard-fought grand prix up to the end as shown by the tight gaps: Verstappen (2nd) finished 7” behind Lando, and Leclerc (3rd) little more than 9”.

The contact between Oscar Piastri and Carols Sainz cost the Spaniard a 5” penalty, going from 5th place (16” from the leader) to Perez’s advantage. Once it would have been filed away as a simple race contact, but to conform with the guidelines adopted this season (certainly stricter), they decided to punish the Ferrari driver. Especially in view of the damage suffered by the Australian.

McLaren made (on Norris’ car) many updates that gave more than positive results. We are now waiting for Ferrari’s response. In Miami they already introduced some updates with positive results in anticipation of the important package expected in Imola. Red Bull remains the car of reference, even if it seems to have lost the peace of mind that has constantly distinguished them in recent seasons due to the well-known internal issues. Verstappen, author of the double pole position, the win in the Sprint race and second place in the race remains the fixed point. I think that the Dutchman wanted to satisfy without taking excessive risks.

The other highly awaited team in Imola in two weeks is certainly Mercedes. From what we hear their championship should start right from the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit. With sixth place, despite a car that was not at the highest level, they showed that they had not won 7 world championships by chance, and making the others pay a high price.

This race’s result opens many grand scenarios in view of Imola, with a battle for the win open to two or three teams. Miami gave us an important compaction of the performances.

I should point out that, contrary to what was said in the TV commentary, there are still tickets available for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I hope that Sunday’s result could be a good omen. Supported also by the excellent performance of the Racing Bulls with fourth place – in qualifying and the Sprint race – signed by Danile Ricciardo and Tsunoda’s seventh place in the race. Results that have consolidated the team in sixth place on the ladder-

The weekend also gave us the first positive result for Alpine, which is recovering and growing, with Estaban Ocon tenth behind Fernando Alonso.

The negative note of this weekend, and not just this one, is Kevin Magnussen. Probably the moment has come for a change within the Haas team, both because he is constantly slower than his teammate and because he incurs a penalty in every race. He lost more points on the license that what he has gained in the championship. He seems confused. There are a lot of drivers who, despite winning titles, are “parked” because there are no seats for them in F1. Honestly, between now and the end of the season, I do not see continuity for some drivers now on the grid.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Imola Circuit in two weeks to cheer and support your favourites and to experience a weekend of Motorsport with an intense race programme.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP MIAMI, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “ALL THE ATTENTION IS ON NEWEY’S FUTURE. FERRARI, ASTON MARTIN OR AUDI?”

We are now close to the Miami Grand Prix, the sixth round of the Formula 1 world championship, but all the attention is on the future of Adrian Newey. In the last few hours Red Bull has released a statement making official the exit of the brilliant engineer at the end of the season, after a stay of 19 years and 13 world titles between the drivers and Constructors’.

What will he do now? Newey has always been attracted by important challenges, see Leyton House in the early days, his arrival in Williams when it was on the rise, his move to McLaren, and in 2006 the arrival in Red Bull. In every case his contribution was decisive for the growth of the team. At this point the possible roads are: the titles Ferrari with all its history, or the Aston Martin challenge? And let us not forget Audi’s entry in 2026…

We are at the end of a winning cycle and, as history teaches us, these types of changes are the order of the day. This also triggers new stimuli, new challenges. The Horner case will certainly have given it a push, also because it has been growing day by day.

Right now, all the teams are pretty much focussed on the future, in 2026, taking Red Bull’s success and supremacy practically for granted. Coming to the Grand Prix, McLaren will bring some innovations to annoy Ferrari once again, even if the more important updates will come in Imola. Mercedes is counting on turning its season around with the arrival in Europe.

Just like China, Miami will have a Sprint race.  By now, the track is known to everyone. That is why we will have fewer unknown factors compared to two weeks ago.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP CHINA, THE POINT GIAN CARLO MINARDI “NORRIS AND ALONSO TO BE APPLAUDED”

Max Verstappen won again, but an excellent Lando Norris slipped in between the two Red Bulls. After having taken pole position of the Sprint race, thwarted by the first metres of the race, he was impeccable in the grand prix confirming that McLaren is on the rise and ready to “annoy” Ferrari.

Precisely Ferrari had to settle for fourth and fifth place, the fruit of hard qualifying, which confirmed the difficulty of the Hard tyres, paying a gap of almost half a second from the direct rivals from Woking. Major updates are needed to try and oppose McLaren’s attack and to try and get closer to Red Bull. The infighting between Leclerc and Sainz certainly made people talk, especially during the Sprint race. It was a fair tussle, it will certainly not be the first nor the last, but they will have to try to manage better next time, and above all talk about it within the team.

Verstappen continues to make the difference in Red Bull putting almost 20 seconds between him and his teammate, despite two safety cars. He only missed out on the fastest lap. It was set by an excellent Alonso (1’37″810), seventh across the line and the protagonist of a race, running constantly on the attack. Aware of the limits of his Aston Martin, he played the card of an extra pitstop, covering the final part of the race with a new set of Medium tyres, climbing up to behind Russell, sixth with the Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton also climbed back with a Mercedes showing some signs of growth. Starting from the rear (18th) he finished the race in ninth place, ahead of an excellent Nico Hulkenberg who gave Haas a precious point in view of the constructors’ world championship.

Perez, third across the line, was slowed by the second double stint of the second safety car caused by Stroll’s collision with Ricciardo. Racing Bulls finished the weekend with zero points, also following Tsunoda’s retirement caused by Kevin Magnussen.

There were also signs of recovery from Alpine after a disastrous start of the season with Ocon eleventh across the line. The points box is still empty, but we are beginning to see the fruits of the first developments of the A524.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP JAPAN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A TACTICAL AND TECHNICAL RACE. INCREDIBLE THE GROWTH IN PERFORMANCE IN BARELY SIX MONTHS”

We have left the first fifth of the championship behind and the forces in the field are emerging. Red Bull confirmed it is in command, and unapproachable at the present time. Behind it, Ferrari consolidates second place ahead of McLaren and Mercedes which, at the present time is the “big” most in difficulty at the moment.

They must certainly roll up their sleeves because even today both Russell and Hamilton suffered. Compared to the seven times world champion, Russell manages to make better use of his car. However, it must be considered that the most important developmental steps will be introduced by the Teams only from Imola. It will be interesting following the weekend at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit starting from Friday.

After the debacle in Melbourne, Verstappen and Red Bull came back ahead of everyone, showing all their worth (even if it was never in doubt). In the 51st lap Verstappen also set the fastest lap of the race,

However, a consideration must be made.

Last year the Japanese GP was held in the month of September as the sixteenth round of the world championship. Barely six months later it is incredible to see the developments and the improvements made by all the teams:

In addition to having made the fourth pole of the season, he improved his time by almost seven tenths of a second compared to 2023 (1.28.197 against 1.28.877);

Carlos Sainz (fourth in qualifying) went from his best time in 2023 of 1.29.850 (Charles Leclerc had set 1.29.542) to 1.28.672.

Therefore, Ferrari improves in both qualifying and above all in the long run, managing to halve the gap, even if it is still not enough to worry the leader. Precisely Leclerc built his comeback by managing the tyres very well covering 27 laps with the “yellows” before passing onto the hard “whites”. He went well beyond the window indicated at the start by Pirelli. Once again Sainz demonstrated his quality: with the same car, he is second to none.

We are watching a demanding world championship in which the slightest slip is enough to end up in the rear. On a major track such as Suzuka we saw qualifying with eight cars enclosed within 7 tenths of a second (between Perez – second – and Leclerc eighth there were barely 532 thousandths of a second) and a very technical and tactical race certainly conditioned by the red flag.

In the final laps of the GP Oscar Piastri and George Russell made themselves the protagonists of a fight for seventh position (which ended with the advantage of the Mercedes driver) with Russell finishing in the sights of the marshals. The British driver was certainly aggressive in a point of the track where two cars do not pass, but he was right to try and it was correct not proceeding with a penalty.

Having said goodbye to Japan, the next round will be in China, Shanghai on April 21st, which returns to the calendar after 5 years and hosting the first Spraint-race. The last appearance dates back to 2019.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | JAPANESE GP, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A TOUGH TRACK ESPECIALLY IN THE CASE OF RAIN”

The Formula world championship arrives in Japan and the Suzuka track that is as historic as it is demanding, especially in the case of rain. Due to both the lateral forces and the braking the tyres are put to the test and Pirelli has brought the same compounds used in Bahrein (C1-C2-C3).

I do not expect a lot of changes by the teams which they say have been scheduled for the Imola Grand Prix (17-17 May). Probably Alpine will be the exception since it must try to come out of its anonymity.

Sadly, I have heard that there is still a lot of nervousness that has little to do with sport. As happened two weeks ago in Melbourne, let the track do the talking. After the retirement in Australia Red Bull and Verstappen will try to take quick revenge on their direct rivals Ferrari which will have to watch out for the McLaren duo. Mercedes is now in more difficulty. The predictions would be upset in the case of rain. In that case the driver could make the difference.

After the positive result in Australia Racing Bull must defend sixth place from Haas’ attacks.

Unlike what he had said, Toto Wollf arrived in Japan. Probably the nervousness of others compels him to being more present on the track.

In addition to Alpine, the start of the season has given us a Williams in difficulty, and clearly late with the spare parts so that they were unable to build the third car. It really is a shame seeing these problems, especially when they are linked to such a renowned name and team.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP AUSTRALIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “A BREATH OF FRESH AIR”

The first win of the season and the first double for Ferrari that took advantage of Max Verstappen’s retirement in the best of ways. It was a breath of fresh air for Ferrari (and F1) that said goodbye to Melbourne with a number of positive signs dictated by a competitive car which in the end also set the fastest lap with Leclerc.

The first sign of fragility in the Red Bull came a few laps after the start, even if the problems of Verstappen’s car emerged right from the first bends, probably due to an imperfect assembly. This “fall” does not cancel the excellent start of the RB 20 and the Dutchman who remains the point of reference, but the 56” gap from the leader Sainz suffered by Sergio Perez could represent a further alarming sign.

We saw a tight grand prix for all 58 laps with a nice sequence of laps by the Ferrari and McLaren drivers. Norris made his best performance in the 50th lap, then definitively bettered by Leclerc in the 57th.

Reliability problems also for Mercedes with the retirement of both drivers. I believe the exit from the track in the end was the result of a technical problem because the rear the “bucked” on him.

And taking advantage of the situation were the two Haas which took the points zone with Nico Hulkenberg (9th) and Keving Magnussen (P10). It was an excellent race also by Fernando Alonso ahead of his teammate Stroll. First points for Tsunoda with the RB (8th).

It was also a positive weekend for our young men involved in F2 and F3. Andrea Kimi Antonelli taking fourth place brilliantly making up for Saturday’s mistake. I believe the team still has a good margin for improvement because they were struggling in the straight despite the DRS. Second and third place for Formaroli and Mini respectively. Certainly, a good sign for the future.

Gian Carlo Minardi

[UPDATE] With the 20″ penalty imposed on Fernando Alonso, considered responsible for triggering George Russell’s accident on the last lap, the Spaniard slips to 8th place with Tsunoda 7th and Stroll in 6th

F1 | GP SAUDI ARABIA, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI IS GROWING, ABOVE ALL WITH LOW FUEL. BEARMAN’S DEBUT DESERVES APPLAUSE”

Regardless of the top two on the ladder (Verstappen and Perez), we are faced with a very tight championship in both qualifying and the race, In the end the choice of Leclerc (who opted for a higher aerodynamic charge) paid off, finishing less than 18” from the winner Verstappen, also taking out the fastest lap, taking it away from Lewis Hamilton in the final lap.

This too is a result to be read as a positive sign since it was achieved with medium tyres that had already done 35 laps. In conditions with low fuel Ferrari showed that it has taken a step forward compared to last year, while on a full fuel load it is not yet on a par with the competition.

An excellent performance also by Piastri, as well as Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), while Mercedes under performed with Russell and Hamilton.

Very good Oliver Bearman on his debut in Formula 1 at the wheel of the Ferrari. In qualifying he missed out on Q3 by barely 36 thousandths of a second and in the race, he took seventh place. It was an incredible result considering the very little time available to him. He too set his best performance in the race in the final lap. A positive result for both Ferrari and FDA.  At this point some considerations are necessary.

It was also a positive weekend for Sergio Perez who finished barely 8” seconds from his teammate (which became 13” with the 5” penalty). A noteworthy improvement compared to the opening race of the season.

Tenth place by Hulkenberg is to be highlighted. This is a track that does not penalise those who have load problems and the Ferrari engine has certainly helped them. The situation at Alpine is very different.

Unfortunately, the result did not completely surprise me, since it is a team that has been subject to changes and strong instability for some months. Factors that then had consequences on the results on the track, Alpine/Renault are certainly not in F1 to be in the tail-end…

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP SAUDI ARABIA, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “THIS IS A F1 HIT BY AN EARTHQUAKE”

In a few hours the engines will be switched on. From Bahrain, Formula 1 has landed in Saudi Arabia, on a very fast street circuit that last year gave us one of the most attractive races of the season in terms of competitiveness and overtaking.

Unfortunately, at the moment it is a Formula 1 that makes people talk more for non-sporting and technical matters. Look at the Horner case that continues to hold the stage, to which were added the investigations concerning FIA’s President. These are episodes I do not like, and which are not part of “my” Formula 1 as a fan. I hope that the results from the track return to centre stage, together with the main actors.

We come to the second round of the world championship. It will certainly be interesting to see if the balances that emerged in Bahrain will be confirmed, or if some outsider will manage to cut in. As of today, we have a Red Bull ahead of everyone. Followed by Ferrari as the second force ahead of Mercedes, McLaren, and Aston Martin.

Also on this occasion, the programme has been brought forward by a day with free practice scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday), qualifying on Friday March 8 and the Grand Prix on Saturday starting at 6.00pm, Italian time.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP BAHRAIN, THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI THE SECOND FORCE BEHIND THE SUPER-RED BULL”

All according to the script? Almost. The 2024 world championship began as it had finished in 2023, with Red Bull winning with Max Verstappen, followed by his teammate Sergio Perez, ahead of the two Ferraris.

Verstappen confirmed all his peace of mind in the management of his car and race times. When he wanted to, he set the fastest lap to then manage the lead accumulated over both Perez (22”) and Sainz (25”).

This is precisely the news. As well as confirming itself as the second force, Ferrari confirmed the improvement that emerged during the collective tests in both performance and tyre management. In fact, the 2023 gap was significantly greater (48”).  However, all this is still not enough to achieve a win.

Red Bull did not show all its potential. In race management, Verstappen’s pace was better than his teammate by almost half a second. But, above all, throughout the grand prix he managed the car, choosing when to push.

The continuity of the regulations gave us an upwards compaction of the performances that was seen particularly in qualifying with fifteen cars enclosed within one second. The slightest mistake really is enough to nullify the work. We saw this with Leclerc in Q3. Due to a very slight slip, he did not repeat the time set in Q2 (1:29.165) losing pole position to Verstappen (1:29.179).

The result of the GP reflects what had emerged from the tests with Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin.

At the end we witnessed the exchange of positions in Racing Bull between Tsunoda and Ricciardo. An operation I, honestly, would not have made since Ricciardo had been behind his teammate all week. At least the Australian should have given back the positions to the teammate once he understood he could not have overtaken Magnussen. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

In a week’s time they will go back to the track (always on the Saturday) in Saudi Arabia where higher temperatures than those experienced in Bahrain are expected, with a slight change in the tyre compounds (C2-C3-C4).

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1 | GP QATAR, GIAN CARLO MINARDI “FERRARI IMPROVED, BUT NEWEY HAS TAKEN A FANTASTIC ROAD”

 

We are now close to the first grand prix of the season. It begins in Bahrain with a new programme (just like Abu Dhabi): the engines will start up on Thursday with two sessions of free practice, Friday free practice 3 and qualifying, Saturday 4.00pm the grand prix. This is already the first innovation.

We come to the first round (of 24 GPs) after having seen the three days of collective tests. Three days from which it was hard to draw a conclusion. It starts again from where we left off: A Red Bull in front of everybody. Adrian Newey has taken a different road from the rest of the pack and if everything goes as it should once again there is little all the others can do, also because he has introduced innovations which will be hard to duplicate in short time.

I was particularly impressed by the long runs covered by Max Verstappen on the Friday. He put together many laps at the same pace with extreme serenity and naturalness.

Carlos Sainz had also achieved the same result with the SF-24 the day before (even if the lap times were different), but it is not easy to make comparisons. Ferrari seems to have been born better compared to the previous car.

Another factor that emerged following the tests was the upward reduction of the performances, as well as reliability. Precisely for this reason I expect a very hard-fought Q2.  The cars normally have the same tyres and fuel. Just last year, especially at the end of the season, we had a fine tussle.

At the moment, I find it hard to evaluate the Mercedes. Russell set his best times with compounds that will not be present this weekend, as did Leclerc.

It will be interesting to follow this first round to start to understand the forces on the field and who will be the most skilled in these months, The RD drew attention with Tsunoda and Ricciardo…

But be careful! Eyes are also on Formula 3 with Fomaroli and Mini and the debut of Andrea Kimi Antonelli in Formula 2.

So, we expect a weekend full of Motorsport. Good viewing to everyone.

Gian Carlo Minardi

Ph @F1

F1 THE POINT BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI ON THE 2024 SEASON BETWEEN VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS, FEW TESTS AND DRIVERS ALREADY ANNOUNCED

The new season of the Formula World Championship is now upon us. From Wednesday the engines will start up for the three days of collective tests in Bahrein which will host the first round.
Let us not forget that the grand prix will be run on Saturday March 2 with the programme already brought forward by one day (it will begin Thursday with free practice), just like the following weekend in Saudi Arabia (March 7-9)

READY TO GO. We left behind a season dominated by Red Bull and Max Verstappen (who took his third world title), distinguished by great competitiveness in qualifying by all the grid enclosed within less than a second, particularly in the final part of the season. Compared to 2023 the technical regulations have remained practically the same, but the teams have had a year to fine tune the details. Precisely for this reason I expect further improvement in the performances, above all in the flying lap.

BUT MORE TEST SESSIONS ARE NEEDED. It does not need to be said. The point of reference remains Red Bull. It will certainly not be easy giving interpretations after barely three days of tests, Too few. It is true that there have been no upheavals on the regulation front and the drivers’ line up, but on the other hand, how would it be possible to launch a rookie in such a long and competitive a world championship with only three days of official tests? In the last few days, the drivers have come back to the track using “old” cars to remove the rust of winter, but in no other sport are there such tight limits “on training”.

EVERYBODY IS CHASING RED BULL. As of today, everybody says they are satisfied according to the results achieved indoors, on the simulators, but nobody knows what margin the RB19 still has and how they could have improved with the RB20. From what I hear the Racing Bulls should have made another big step forward compared to last year. It will be interesting to follow these developments.

FROM VIRTUAL TO REAL. The new racing cars have been revealed in a media format. Expressing judgments is practically impossible. We need to see if what has been seen in the photos corresponds with reality. Compared with 2023 we have seen many innovations, the results of continual development. It will be interesting to follow the tests also under this aspect. With only three days with so little time from the first GP, I do not believe they will hide too much.

HAMILTON-FERRARI: As we know all the teams had confirmed their line-ups at the end of the year. We expected a “quiet” first part of the season in this respect, to then go wild towards summer, but the start of this year was anything but serene. Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton thought to stir things up a year early. Honestly, I do not share this action. My DNA is tied to young people. I urged the Federation, through our school, to set a tutoring programme towards the young drivers by also activating collaborations with the various Academies of the Teams, FDA first of all. Announcing Lewis Hamilton today with an eye to 2025 means barring the road to young drivers of your Academy. Amongst other things, it has been two years since a winner of F2 has not found a place in F1, It is true that the arrival of the Hypercar in the WRC world championship has opened new opportunities, but those who set F2 and F3 programmes must be given an opportunity in F1. The seven times World Champion is at the end of his career, but the subject is not tied to age (editor’s note, in 2025 he will be 40 years old). Fernando Alonso has shown that, with the right car, age is only a number. In any case, I hope that this is not only a marketing operation to draw attention away from a non-competitive car. What is certain is that a difficult season will begin for Mercedes and Ferrari under the management of their drivers.

HORNER CASE. I am shocked by this whole situation. At this moment there is a lot of chatter going on which is tied rather to internal struggles between the Austrian and Thai owners. I also do not understand the interest of Ford, the next supplier and partner, since all this has nothing to do with them. I am also surprised by the interest of other parties outside the team. It seems to me that it is a real feeding frenzy that certainly takes away the team’s serenity.

We are approaching a very long new season made up of 24 rounds, with a lot of curiosity and many questions to be answered.

Gian Carlo Minardi