Max Verstappen went from words to deeds. After the difficult weekend in Singapore, he declared that they would have been ahead in Suzuka and that there was no problem. And so it was.

In Japan Red Bull returned to dominating with the usual tranquillity, relegating the first of the rivals, Lando Norris on a good McLaren, to more than 19 seconds behind. Seconds that rose (and went back to being so) to forty-five seconds in the case of Ferrari, fourth across the finish line with Leclerc.

After fourteen laps Verstappen’s lead on Norris was already ten seconds. At that point the Dutchman only had to administer the race, lapping more than 1” slower compared to his fastest lap (1:34.183 against 1:35.247 Lando Norris – 1:35.611 Lewis Hamilton – 1:36.187 Carlos Sainz). Without overdoing it, he won easily with a 19” second lead, also safeguarding the car.

It would be interesting knowing what happened in Singapore because such a problem cannot be resolved in so little time. Red Bull’s only real problem at the present time is Sergio Perez. The Mexican suffers fearfully the personality and competitiveness of Max Verstappen who confirms he is a “driver killer”. Today Perez again made a series of mistakes which are unacceptable from a Formula 1 driver, especially one as experienced as he is.

It was only a question of time, as it will be for Verstappen. Red Bull mathematically won the constructor’s title in Honda’s home. An important result also from the marketing point of view for both Honda and Red Bull itself.

Ferrari finished in fourth place and the result confirms its current potential, behind McLaren in outstanding form which can count on two young drivers, one of which is an excellent rookie: Oscar Piastri celebrated his first podium finish. He suffered a 17” gap from his teammate, but the strategy also intervened. From this emerges a positive image of a cohesive team that respects team orders. They are strongly on the rise and can still become a troublesome antagonist with six rounds remaining. They currently occupy fifth place, only 49 points from Aston Martin which did not go beyond eighth place with an anonymous Alonso. It was another race to forget for Stroll.

With 4th and 6th place Ferrari gained four points on the ladder at Mercedes’ expense taking the gap to only twenty points, but with this McLaren nothing can be taken for granted.

Also noteworthy was Liam Lawson’s good performance, finishing his third grand prix in eleventh place ahead of his teammate Tsunoda. Eleventh and twelfth place which gave no points to Alpha Tauri, but which highlights the Australian’s technical value. Despite Ricciardo’s and Tsunoda’s renewals Lawson earnt conformation as the reserve driver for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri. An important sign for the starting drivers.

The next round is in two weeks with the Qatar Grand Prix.

Gian Carlo Minardi


On a weekend conditioned by a less than perfect Red Bull, we saw a very tight grand prix with four cars in full battle for the win. It was a very tactical race such as could be expected considering the characteristics of the Singapore track and during which there was no lack of turn arounds.

Ferrari surprised everybody by taking pole position and a win worthy of the best years. Carlos Sainz was the protagonist of a fantastic race in which he did not let up not even a millimetre to the competition despite a risky strategy.

There is a wonderful friendship between Sainz and Norris and they know each other very well., considering their past in McLaren, but I do not believe that in the final laps he willingly slowed down to give Lando the possibility of having the DRS to defend himself from the very aggressive Russell. At that moment he did not have complete control of the tyres having already raced more than 40 laps on the hards.

Mercedes attempted an aggressive strategy to try and overtake Ferrari and to aim at the win. Unfortunately, Russell made a serious mistake. In that moment in which he was marked by Lewis Hamilton he was determined to overtake him, and at the same time was trying to overtake Norris. At the 59th and 60th laps he was the protagonist of two fantastic laps putting pressure on his rival, and he approached too long and ended the race against the barriers leaving the podium in Lewis Hamilton’s hands. A serious mistake, which is part of racing, especially in such a tight race.

What happened in Red Bull remains to be understood. It inexplicably suffered a blow on a track which, on paper, was favourable to it. It remains to be understood is whether the cause is to be found in the introduction of the TD018 – the latest change in progress – or if there were technical reasons.

Once again, the pre-race predictions did not occur and this is certainly a positive aspect for the show.

Well done Lawson who with ninth place gave important points to Alpha Tauri and Kevin Magnussen which reached the top ten thanks to Russell’s exit. To be noted is also the good performance by Alpine with Gasly in sixth place behind Max Verstappen and ahead of Oscar Piastri’s McLaren. From Ocon’s retirement to the introduction of the VSC Mercedes’ decision to bring its two drivers back onto the track which giving us such a heart gripping finale.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Formula 1 left Holland to come to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, the fifteenth round (fourteenth after the cancellation of Imola) of the World Championship, the last round in Europe.

It is a very fast track where the aerodynamic load is decidedly less important with the tyres highly stressed.

Stability in braking and traction while coming out of the two chicanes, such as the Parabolica now named after Michele Alboreto, and the Grande, are the factors that put the tyres to the hardest test on this track, even if the lateral loads felt in the fast bends must not be underestimated. Pirelli has opted for the three softest compounds, PZero White Hard C3, PZero Yellow Medium C4 and PZero Red Soft C5.

Last year the first ten cars adopted eight different strategies, for this reason we can expect anything. One exception, the competitiveness of Max Verstappen who is charging towards the tenth win of the season, which would mean the new absolute record for the highest category.

After Hungary, Monza will be the setting of the new test of the new qualifying format “Alternative Tyre Allocation” in which the drivers will have the compulsory compound for each session: the hard in Q1, the medium in Q2 and the soft in Q3. I think it proper to make these experiments considering the possible changes for the future which have already given us an excellent show in Hungary. It will be interesting to see it in action on a circuit with decidedly different characteristics.

If in Zandvoor we saw Fernando Alonso with the Aston Martin once again on the podium behind the leader of the world championship it will be interesting to see what happens in Monza. Up to now, there has been no continuity behind Max Verstappen. We have seen a good alternation between Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari. Ferrari must try to recover after the uncompetitive Dutch weekend, saved in part only by Sainz’s fifth place.

Too little.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.
27.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Despite the three-week summer break, Red Bull and Max Verstappen confirmed they are unbeatable in every track condition. Once again Verstappen took home the win without making the slightest mistake, outclassing his team mate on whom questionable tactics were adopted.

The 5” penalty on the Mexican helped Gasly (third across the finish line), who was also penalized, but thanks to the many pitstops and the red flag waved at the end, he managed to recover.

We are certainly experiencing a new era of Formula 1. In the past this grand prix would never have restarted. Precisely for this reason I believe it is wrong to compare results and statistics.

It was also an excellent performance by Fernando Alonso who found himself in second place on the podium. At the restart he tried to worry the leader who, as always when needed, put on show his worth and that of his car. In any case, he can console himself with second place and the fastest lap of the race.

Without the Dutchman we would have witnessed a hard fought and extremely lively world championship with a lot of interchange. Behind him we saw once again Aston Martin after a less favourable period. Fifth place for Carlos Sainz who once again put in difficulty his teammate who was the protagonist of a mistake in free practice. The retirement cancelled the mistake in the pitstop.

There were also mistakes by McLaren, but both Norris and Piastri managed to recover to still finish in the points zone. There was also a nice comeback carried out by Lewis Hamilton, sixth behind the Ferrari driver.

In Holland the New Zealander Liam Lawson made his debut with Alpha Tauri, finishing a difficult race despite absolutely absurd rules which do not allow training. Tsunada’s performance was also positive. With regard to the team, I was particularly pleased with the combination of the name “Minardi” in anticipation of the next change. It will not happen, but it would have been nice. Adding together the 340 GPs run by Team Minardi to those of Scuderia Toto Rosso and Alpha Tauri, we are talking about a reality that ranks fourth overall. Staying in Faenza, I am very pleased with the arrival of Laurent Mekies. I hope this can be a good omen for leaving last place behind them.

Gian Carlo Minardi



We have entering into an intense weekend full of events: at Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari International Circuit there will be the 7th edition of the Historic Minardi Day which, between the track and the paddock, will see more than 400 cars of which more than 20 are historic Formula 1 cars and in Holland the 13th round of the F1 World Championship will take place.

And this year too there will be a maxi screen inside the Imola Paddock to follow the Zandvoort weekend (qualifying and race) to experience it within the Minardi Day.

On the F1 front we are about to enter the second part of the season after a three-week break. It will be interesting to see what new developments the teams will bring onto the track to try and counter Red Bull’s domination, even if I believe it is practically impossible.

Very interesting on the other hand, is the challenge for second, third and fourth places in the constructors’ championship which currently sees Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari fighting it out.

This period of the year was historically characterized by the announcements by the drivers, but this year all the attention is turned towards the signing up of technicians and engineers which the teams are trying to take away from their direct rivals.

If Binotto should effectively go to Alpine, I am sure that many technicians currently in Ferrari will follow him. And they will not be second rate technicians or new additions.

F1 is coming to a particular circuit characterized by 14 bends and a straight of just over four kilometres with a narrow track. Pirelli has brought the hardest compounds (C1-C2-C3). In the race space should be given to the C1s and C2s.

They will go back to the traditional format of qualifying, while in Monza the compound imposed for each session will be imposed once again.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Imola to experience two intense days under the banner of Motorsport.

Gian Carlo Minardi


If, on the one hand, we have a Red Bull that is absolutely beyond the limits of which we will (probably) never know (as shown by the fastest lap set in Budapest), there are great variations behind Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman is certainly making the difference. Without him we would be watching a championship with five/six different winners. For this reason, in view of Spa-Francorchamps the real question is: Which will be the second force?

Since the first grands prix we have seen radical changes from second to sixth place, due to the management of the tyres, weather conditions and, obviously, the developments of the car. It is not an easy to predict the name of the second place, above all in view of a long and demanding circuit such as Spa.

Today we have McLaren as the second force. At the start of the season, it was Aston Martin, then overtaken by Mercedes, with the introduction of the B version. Who is missing from the roll call is Ferrari. Let us see if they will be able to patch things up. They are passing through a moment of discomfort, as we can see from the strained faces. It will not be easy to recover.

Among the things we are seeing is an exciting competitiveness in qualifying, with the drivers enclosed within a handful of tenths of a second. A situation that changes drastically in the race.

It will be interesting to follow Sergio Perez as well, after his third place in Budapest. The Red Bull driver came from the last five unexciting rounds.

To try and avoid the rain, this year the round in Belgium has been brought forward, even if the forecasts talk about temperatures of 17-19°C with the possibility of showers. All this reminds me of an anecdote:

On 2 June 1985 the Belgian Grand Prix should have been run precisely in Spa-Francorchamps (it was the first year in the world championship for us), but the race was suspended because the asphalt crumbled as the cars passed, making it all very dangerous. A situation created by both the high heat and the newly laid street surface. The GP was later recovered with Piero Martini finishing in twelfth place with the M185.

It will be interesting to see what will happen on Sunday, and also Saturday afternoon with the sprint race on such a long (the longest of the championship) and demanding track.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Hungary was the setting for the new qualifying format which saw the drivers face up to three sessions with the imposed compounds. A new experiment which requires further verdicts, but I find the signs decidedly positive. It can have a future. We saw a wonderful tussle on the edge of hundredths of a second. In Q2 sixteen cars were enclosed within a gap of barely 7 tenths of a second. In Q3 ten cars in little more than half a second with Hamilton, Verstappen, and Norris in 85 thousandths. It is easy to see surprises as happened with George Russell who went from the “rags” to “riches”. I am curious to see it repeated in Monza.

As far as the grand prix is concerned, what can I say? Max Verstappen was superlative, supported by a great Red Bull- They confirmed they are absolutely unbeatable. Verstappen crossed the finish line 33.7” ahead of Lando Norris, an excellent second place with McLaren, confirming the excellent evolutionary step already seen in Austria and England.

Oscar Piastri confirmed what I have been saying for some time, he is growing from race to race, above all since the World Championship has come to the tracks he already knew. More, now that he is also supported technically. He is possibly lightly punished by the strategies in favour of Norris, an English driver in an English car.

Too bad for Lewis Hamilton. With the imperfect start he denied himself the podium finding himself quickly behind not only Verstappen’s Red Bull, but also the two McLarens.

Sergio Perez completed his task, considering the car available to him. After a disastrous Saturday he recovered the podium, the minimum result. His teammates domination has probably demoralized him. Friday’s mistake was very serious, on the first lap on a wet track. A driver who aspires for the world championship cannot make these mistakes.

An equally serious mistake by Charles Leclerc in pit lane, even if it cost him little considering the 70” gap (which would have been 65 without the penalty) paid in regard to Verstappen. In any case, if you want to play for the world championship you cannot trip over such trivialities. A mistake also by the team, with the left rear. There is certainly great nervousness in Ferrari. The team cannot find a way out.

Today Red Bull also inflicted a lesson and moral, technical, and sporting slap to everyone with a pitstop that finished in 1.9” (Ferrari made 2.6”), to which must be added the best lap of the race by the Dutchman in 1:20.540. The only one to fall under the 1:21 barrier was Lewis Hamilton, the best of the others, who stopped at 1:21.601. Lando Norris 1:22.178. Charles Leclerc 1:22.469.

Now we only have to wait for Spa-Francorchamps before the summer break.

Gian Carlo Minardi


We have come to Hungary, the eleventh round of this world championship which, apart from the (practically) unchallenged domination of Max Verstappen (with 8 wins) and Red Bull (10 wins), has given us a number of upheavals of the forces in the field.

If at Silverstone we saw a competitive McLaren which allowed Lando Norris to take second place and his first podium of the season (with Piastri fourth), in Austria the podium went to Ferrari with Leclerc who then slumped in England. Even earlier Mercedes had leapt over a good Aston Martin, being able to finish on the podium five times with Fernando Alonso in the first 8 grands prix, presenting itself as the second force of the world championship. The position currently occupied by Mercedes. Instead, Monte Carlo gave us Alpine’s exploit with Esteban Ocon’s third place.

It will be interesting to see if, on the slow Budapest track, traditionally characterized by high air and track temperatures, these forces will be confirmed or if we will once again see a change, even in preparation for the second part of the season. If the drivers’ ladder is defined with Verstappen launched towards his third title, on the constructors’ side there is great uncertainty behind RB.

Exactly the uneasy situation of Alpha Tauri (currently in last place with only two points) led to the dubious change of steering wheels between de Vries and Ricciardo.

The Hungaroring will be the setting for new qualifying, with the drivers to the various sessions with compulsory compounds (Q1 Hard, Q2 Medium, Q3 Soft). It will be interesting following it in light of the near future.

Gian Carlo Minardi


We saw a good grand prix with a marvellous public, as usual under the banner of an unstoppable Max Verstappen who can afford to let his tyres skid at the start, losing first place in favour of a very good Lando Norris to then calmly recover in the space of four laps.

From what we saw yesterday in the first laps, in addition to legitimizing more and more Red Bull, this let us understand how much this young man has matured, only two years ago he would have made Norris run to retake the lead of the grand prix quickly. This time he kept his cool and recovered a bit at a time to overtake him four laps later.

Undoubtedly, we must also applaud McLaren and its flagbearers, Norris and Piastri. Coming onto the well-known tracks Oscar’s performances have grown considerably. At Silverstone he too could count on the important updates and only a touch of bad luck tied to the entry of the safety-car denied him the satisfaction of his first podium in Formula 1.

A podium that was occupied with great obstinacy by Lewis Hamilton with Mercedes who consolidated second place in the constructors’ ladder at the expense of Aston Martin that seems to have lost its initial shine. Probably the scheduled developments of the car are not enough to keep up with the direct rivals.

Certainly, McLaren’s result on a truly demanding track such as Silverstone can relaunch them in the second half of the championship.

It was instead a step backwards by Ferrari with Leclerc and Sainz who finished ninth and tenth respectively behind Albon’s Williams. In the warm track conditions (as already happened in other occasions, including in Austria during Saturday’s sprint race) the SF-23 shows all its difficulties passing from the highs to the lows.

Amongst other things, I believe the Ferrari Power-Unit is not up to the level of Mercedes and Honda and has some problems as Haas’s failures showed despite the not demanding air temperatures.

We just have to wait to see what will happen in Hungary in two weeks, a traditionally very hot track with a very slow layout.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Having said goodbye to Austria Formula 1 has already arrived in Silverstone, England. With some exceptions, historically it is a track for the English teams and here it will not be easy to annoy Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

But it will be a good testing ground for Ferrari after the positive result achieved last week, to verify if there will again be a further step forward. Certainly, the weather conditions could play an important role since the SF-23 was in trouble in low temperatures.

At this moment Ferrari must aim at recovering the gap from Aston Martin and Mercedes to try to take second place in the constructors’ ladder. I do not see any other goals.

The drivers themselves must work together in this direction. In the ladder Carlos Sainz is ahead of Charles Leclerc but both cannot aspire to any trophy. For this reason, they should be free to fight it out on the track, having as sole objective the most points for the team.

Mercedes and Aston Martin seemed in difficulty in Austria. Silverstone will be a testing ground for them as well, to verify if that was only an isolated episode. The situation for McLaren is different. With the introduction of the new car Lando Norris took fourth place. This weekend Piastri will also be able to count on the updated car. It will be interesting to follow their work.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the 2024 calendar was made public, made up of 24 grands prix, starting on March 2 and closing on December 8. Running on Saturday will be nothing new for Formula 1. In fact, the 1985 South African grand prix was already run on Saturday. Next year Italy will again be able to count on Imola and Monza. We will get to work immediately to recover what it was not possible to do this year due to the flood.

Gian Carlo Minardi


As was easy to expect, Red Bull and Max Verstappen hoarded away the points with pole position, the win in the sprint race and in the grand prix, as well as the fastest lap (snatching it way from Sergio Perez) with a pitstop on the last lap and mounting the softs.

With this move, which was also a little arrogant considering that even the team was against it, he wanted to give a moral slap to his teammate and Ferrari.

Ferrari showed an improvement, especially in regard to its direct rivals Mercedes and Aston Martin (not perfectly at ease in Austria). Both Leclerc and Sainz were protagonists of a good race and a solid weekend, particularly the Spaniard who fought with Perez trying to repeat Saturday’s result.

Too bad for the 5” penalty for having exceeded the track limit just when he was behind his teammate. Otherwise, he would have been able to keep third place. Excellent second place for Leclerc (paying however an average 5 tenths of a second gap per lap from Verstappen), even if the “stain” from the sprint race remains, finishing only in twelfth place.

Ferrari must work on precisely this issue: consistency to avoid running once more into Saturday’s problems with a cold track. They must run to become the second force of the world championship. It is useless and illusory to think anything else.

Sergio Perez took third place, but he is still passing through an uneasy period. There is an abyss between him and Verstappen, even if he may have the excuse of a not perfect physical condition.
We saw McLaren again with Norris who had a car with many new innovations, unlike Piastri with the traditional car. Fourth place is a good omen for the near future. Silverstone will be an important test for them as well.

Before we say goodbye, I would like to give some thought to the track limit rule. Perhaps it is time to think that not all rules are good on all tracks. It is really a scandal to award all these penalties in one weekend. It needs to be reconsidered, especially in view of the numerous penalties imposed five hours after the checkered flag concluded as a result of the complaint filed by Aston Martin that subsequently involved Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon, Esteban Ocon (as much as 30″), Logan Sargeant, Nyck de Vries (15″) and Yuki Tsunoda.

Gian Carlo Minardi


In an anomalous track such as Montreal, a semi-street circuit characterized by long straights and major braking, we saw an intense grand prix with fourteen drivers at full throttle and only four who paid a gap of a lap. The positions from seventh to tenth place were decided in a sprint.

For the first time in the season the first five drivers were enclosed within little more than 21”. Sergio Perez could have been there too, but he decided to make a pit stop to take out the fastest lap (and the point).

If first place was certainly not a surprise, with Max Verstappen equalling Ayrton Senna on the number of wins (scoring his 41st win and “giving” the team its 100th victory), the positive note of the ninth round of the World Championship was the reawakening of Ferrari which put up its best race with Leclerc and Sainz in 4th and 5th place respectively.

Beyond the final positions, they were protagonists of an important stint, especially with the “mediums”, then passing onto the hard, completing the seventy laps with only one stop. Making them smile were also the excellent times recorded (the first five practically lapped almost identically), as was the 18” gap paid by Charles compared to Verstappen. Too bad for the mistakes in qualifying that forced the two drivers to start from the middle of the grid. Recovering in these conditions of high competitiveness is not easy.

It was a very nice tussle between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso who were separated by a handful of seconds for all the grand prix. Nando’s overtaking the English driver was nice. A Mercedes that, since Monte Carlo, continues to improve and grow.

Montreal was not the best race on the part of Red Bull but, despite this, they won. This says a lot about the quality of the Dutchman who has decidedly has an edge over Perez. Without Verstappen they probably would not have won the last 3-4 races. He is certainly making the difference and he creates an unbeatable combination with the team.

It will be interesting verifying the competitiveness and compactness of the performances seen today in Montreal at the permanent circuits such as Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps which will close the first part of the season.

Gian Carlo Minardi


We are coming from an exciting week with Ferrari’s win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the 499P setting pole position, fastest lap and, of course, the win with the #51 interrupting Toyota’s domination of the last five years and taking its wins in the category to nine.

In a little more than a year Antonio Colletta and all his staff and the AF Racing Team have given life to a winning project, managing to hit back at a superpower after an absence of 50 years. We hope that this enthusiasm can also reach all the F1 team, so as to find once more that planning and peace of mind to try and get back on top.

The F1 world championship is the land of Red Bull, and it comes as favourite even in Canada, on a semi-street circuit characterized by long straights, braking and acceleration. The asphalt, with little grip, usually improves with the more laps covered. The weather forecasts however predict rain for Friday and Saturday. Precisely on the tyre front, Pirelli will bring the softest compounds with C3, C4 and C5. Presumably the C5s will be used only in qualifying.

Unlike most tracks, in Montreal only about18” are lost in the pitstops and this too will influence the choice of strategies.

We have reached a third of the world championship and the teams are trying to do their best to limit the gap from the uncatchable Red Bull. It will certainly be interesting to follow qualifying which, up till now, has given us stronger emotions, thanks to the good competitiveness of all the cars enclosed within a limited gap. At least in a fast lap. The scenario then changes in the race. Right now, we have Mercedes that is growing, having taken second place at the expense of Aston Martin (currently third) ahead of Ferrari and Alpine.

Gian Carlo Minardi