Formula 1 returns to Las Vegas after forty-one years. This time it is not to race on a circuit set up in Caesar’s Palace’s carpark but in a real city circuit with all the pitfalls a street circuit of this type hides connected to the runoffs and the entry of the safety car onto the track.

Added to this is the unknown factor of the weather given the forecast for very low temperatures which will affect the performance of the tyres and the strategies. We are talking of a grand prix that is 310km long, a track of more than six kilometres (6,201m) with a 2km long straight.

Formula 1 returns to the capital of Nevada, a city that is alive 24 hours a day. I am certainly curious to follow and observe how the whole weekend will develop. Everything is new and therefore unpredictable. Among other things, to reconcile the various time differences, the race will be run Saturday evening (7.00am Sunday morning Italian time).

There are still two rounds on the calendar, many points to be awarded and important positions at stake in both sporting and economic terms.

We have Ferrari which must make up 20 points on Mercedes and intense duels between McLaren and Aston Martin and Alpha Tauri and Williams for seventh place.

I will approach this weekend with a lot of curiosity to then make the evaluations calmly, but the main aspect remains the sporting one.

Gian Carlo Minardi


© Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Interlagos and Brazil gave us one of the most exciting weekends of the whole season, starting from qualifying with a Q1 that saw 20 drivers enclosed within a second, an exciting sprint-race full of overtaking and a grand prix that did not disappoint with all the drivers very close in times. Luckily the rain, (which came only in the five minutes of qualifying, although very intense) did not overturn the plans, and above all the hierarchies and the rankings.

The usual Verstappen won, but once again Mercedes demonstrated that it is in the right direction, taking not only second place with Lando Norris, but also taking home the fastest lap of the race. Norris crossed the finish line with a gap of only 8 seconds. Certainly, an important and positive result which shows their progressive growth. Step by step, they are getting closer to Red Bull.

A decidedly important sign in light of the future. Without the difficulties at the start of the season they would have been in the middle of the fight for second place in the world championship. As of today, they are the real second force of the world championship.

It was a very nice duel for third and fourth place between Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, finishing with the Spanish driver’s Aston Martin barely 53 three thousandths ahead. We saw all the experience and skill of Fernando who had found the precise point to recharge his batteries, in this way he managed to keep a safe distance from his direct rival. After a few grands prix in difficulty, here Aston Martin managed to get to the heart of the matter, as the Lance Stroll’s return to the points zone showed.

Ferrari must understand what happened to Charles Leclerc during the warmup lap, but Carlos Sainz’s sixth place can be seen in a positive light considering that they managed to reduce slightly the gap from Mercedes to twenty points. Mercedes was not able to go beyond eighth place with Lewis Hamilton, suffering from Russell’s retirement. There are still two grands prix left, with a little bit of luck and skill, Ferrari can aspire to achieve its personal result.

With ninth place Yuki Tsunoda brought the gap from Williams to seven points. Again, a positive result for Alpha Tauri that after Singapore has confirmed it is in constant growth.  Too bad for what happened to Ricciardo who was hit by the tyre lost by Magnussen which damaged his rear wing. Despite the lap difference, he managed not only to reduce the gap. but to come back to thirteenth place thanks to a high pace. He could have fought for Stroll’s position. Even for them there are positive signs while awaiting the last two rounds.

Now we wait with trepidation to know and see the event and track in Las Vegas.

Gian Carlo Minardi



The Grand Prix of Brazil, the 21st round of the world championship, third last of the 2023 season and third of the four rounds in the Americas scheduled in these five weeks. Certainly a real tour de force for the participants, but also for the spectators. On the weekend the schedule also changes as it hosts the sixth and last sprint race. At the moment we have a lot of quantity, but quality has probably been lost.

I believe it really is too intense as a programme and I hope that the necessary evaluations will be made at the end of the season, on both the “short race” and the number of GPs.

Formula 1 has arrived in Interlagos, a particular circuit that is run anticlockwise (one of the few), and one of the shortest of the season with its length of little more than 4 kilometres, which stresses the tyres with nine left hand bends and five right hand to which is added the very rough asphalt. The choice should fall on two stops, but the weather, which in this period quickly changes from dry to wet, could also influence the strategy.

Many teams, one of them Ferrari, will find it hard to finish the season without incurring new penalties. Therefore, they must decide when to change the components, opting for the most favourable track for a possible comeback. Interlagos might just be a choice, unlike the layout of Las Vegas.

The fight for the support positions has been rekindled, between Mercedes and Ferrari for second place among the constructors and between McLaren (in great shape) and Aston Martin for fourth place. At this time Aston Martin is the team in most difficulty, both in terms of the performance of the car and on the driver front, since it is fighting with only one driver, given Stroll’s difficulties.

In Mexico, in particular, we saw an Alpha Tauri in great shape which recovered a number of points on the ladder, catching up with Alfa Romeo and taking itself to only ten points from Williams. At this moment the points lost by Tsunoda weigh heavily, but there is still time to recover. Considering the start of the season, reaching seventh place would be a very important result.

Gian Carlo Minardi



In front of such a disarming supremacy in terms of both speed and above all reliability, and the competitiveness of Verstappen and Red Bull, I do not know what the direct rivals can do in the near future. Perhaps the only solution is to retire Adrian Newey.

We are faced with two planets: one the absolute property of Red Bull. And then there are all the others who fight to grab the support positions. Max Verstappen is driving with extreme calm, running all the laps within a space of 1-2 tenths of a second. This time the fastest lap slipped from his grasp, only because they did not expect the final push by Lewis Hamilton, an excellent second place.

A big applause goes to McLaren. They are probably the only team that at this moment can approach the performance of Red Bull. After being constantly competitive, inexplicably they got qualifying wrong with both cars, to then recover masterfully in the dace. Norris managed to climb back from fifth place, also finishing ahead of George Russell, in this way giving a present for Ferrari which, with the 3rd and 4th place of Leclerc and Sainz confirmed the twenty-two-point gap from Mercedes.

It was decidedly a positive weekend for Alpha Tauri and Daniel Ricciardo as well. Fourth in qualifying and sixth place in the race are excellent results, above all in terms of points. Too bad for Tsonoda’s mistake. With the failed attempt to overtake Oscan Piastri, he nullified the excellent work up to that point, and the possibility of bringing further points to the team. The car has certainly grown, especially after Singapore. Then it is up to the drivers to solidify all the occasions. At his second grand prix after returning from the incident, Ricciardo made himself the protagonist of an excellent weekend.

Sergio Perez confirmed he is not alert and calm. He certainly would have wanted to achieve a very different result in front of his public, but despite this “zero” I do not believe his future is far from Red Bull.

In a week they will return to the track, in Brazil, which will also be the scene for the last sprint-race of 2023.

Gian Carlo Minardi


While Formula 1 is ready for the stop in Mexico City for the nineteenth round of the world championship, the Circus is wondering about the future of the Sprint race. Created in 2021 to increase the spectacle, particularly in the programme for Saturday, up to now the mini-GP of 100km has failed to meet expectations.

As often happens on these occasions, they seek alternative solutions aimed at improving the show. Among the ideas there would be the use of an inverted starting grid, the creation of a championship apart with points and a dedicated prize pool as an “incentive” for the drivers. We wanted to ask Gian Carlo Minardi what he thinks about it.

The sprint-race was created with the intention of increasing the show. Today this expectation has been strongly unsatisfying. At this moment the format does not help. It is only a lesser copy of the Grand Prix, without adding anything more as we saw in the last two rounds in Qatar and Austin,” commented Minardi.

The sixth and last sprint-race of 2023 will take place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. “There also needs to be a constant weekend programme, without having to go crazy remembering the format for the single grand prix.

“Furthermore, the sprint creates another problem. Only one hour of free practice for setting up the cars is too little, especially when thousands of a second make the difference from one qualifying session to another.

“When a driver lowers his visor the only goal is the win. I do not believe that there is any driver who saves himself with a view to the Sunday race. For this reason, I do not see the need to having to add a separate prize pool, or dedicating a ranking to it,” continued the manager from Faenza.

“Perhaps they can increase the points up for grabs, but at the moment I do not have the recipe. We are faced with an incredible domination on the part of Red Bull which will be hard for the rivals to end. Let us not forget that the history of Formula 1 is full of winning cycles. It is part of this sport. And you certainly will not stop it by creating a separate championship or putting mind blowing figures up for grabs.

“Now we get to the Mexican Grand Prix, I do not think there are any doubts on the leadership, but all the interest will be directed behind Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

“In front of his public, Sergio Perez must find the proper peace of mind. I was left very annoyed with the booing aimed at Verstappen by the American public. I hoped that fanaticism was part of other sports. I hope that they will be more gentlemanly in Mexico.

“In Austin, McLaren completed its comeback at Aston Martin’s expense, while Ferrari took its gap from Mercedes to 22 points (aided by Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification).

“The challenge will be between these four teams, each one with its own objective to achieve. We will wait and see who will be the most skilled. It will also be interesting to follow Alpha Tauri which comes from a very favourable GP in Austin,” concluded Gian Carlo Minardi.


We file away one of the most tactical races of the season. Once again Verstappen took the win (and his fiftieth personal win in his career) after having started from the sixth row. It was not an easy and agile a win like many others, having crossed the finish line little more than two seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Once again, the Dutchman and Red Bull took both the grand prix and the sprint race, leaving only the “crumbs” to the rivals.

It was a decidedly positive weekend for Mercedes and McLaren with Lewis Hamiton who took second place, consolidating second place amongst the constructors for Mercedes which draws ahead not only of Ferrari, but also McLaren that finished third today with Lando Norris. Hamilton reduced the gap from Perez for second place on the drivers’ ladder.

Ferrari did not go beyond fourth place with Carlos Sainz, but the real news was the diversification of strategies between the two drivers. A choice that I find absolutely correct. I am convinced that fourth place was the best result they could have aimed for. At the most, they could have brought home fifth place at Sergio Perez’s expense. Nothing more. Precisely for this reason it was right to try something different between Leclerc and Sainz.

Also to be pointed out was Tsunoda’s excellent tenth place, to which is added the additional point for the fastest lap set in the last lap. Excellent management of the race and the result optimized considering they find themselves in a battle with practically all the car manufacturers.

[Update] With the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc for technical irregularities related to the flat bottom, the final standings are turned upside down with Ferrari nipping a few points on Mercedes thanks to Carlos Sainz’s third-place finish. Sergio Perez stretches over Hamilton among the drivers. Yuki Tsunoda climbs up to eighth place bringing the Alpha Tauri to just two lengths behind Haas, while for the first time Williams driver Sergent enters the top-10.

Too bad for Fernando Alonso. He started from pit lane and had to retire due to a problem with the car when he was in the top ten-

Gian Carlo Minardi


The Formula 1 world championship has arrived at the Austin Circuit in the Americas, the home of the United States Grand Prix, the 19th and fifth last round of the season.

For the first time in its history, it will also host the sprint-race (scheduled for Saturday at midnight, Italian time, editor’s note, the GP will start at 9.00pm Sunday), which will be preceded by only one hour of free practice and the Shootout qualifying.

Pirelli, which has available to the teams the C2-C3 and C4 compounds, has drawn the attention to the asphalt detached from the track which could cause problems of anomalous overheating of the tyres. One more variable to be considered in the strategies.

With the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles in the hands of Max Verstappen and Red Bull respectively, all the attention is focussed on the duels between Mercedes-Ferrari and Aston Martin-McLaren. Amongst the four the team from Woking is the one passing through the best moment and is only twenty-one points from fourth place. An objective that is not so hard to reach also considering that Aston Martin is fighting with only one driver, Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari will not bring anything new, having decided to block the development t of the SF-23. The direct challenge with Hamilton and Russell must be based solely on the strategies and the correct set up of the car.

In recent days the rumours about the future of Sergio Perez have taken the stage. Currently the Mexican is not experiencing one of his best moments, but the results on the track do not represent his true potential.

He must find his peace of mind and the statements by Helmut Marko have certainly not helped him in this sense. At the moment second place in the world championship does not seem to be at risk, but he will have to be careful not to make mistakes. From here to Abu Dhabi there are still many points at stake and Lewis Hamilton is only 30 points away. Losing second place would be the equivalent of a debacle.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Formula 1 should be the maximum expression of Motorsport, but it is decidedly losing ground. We saw an intense weekend strongly characterized and conditioned by the penalties for exceeding the track limits, to which was also added the aggravating safety factor connected to the curbs.

I had the impression that the problem of exceeding the track limits is due to the layout of the track and the curves which are not optimal and lead the drivers to make mistakes. There really were a lot penalties and assigned to nearly all the drivers. Furthermore, the problem related to the curbs was added. All these aspects should be evaluated very carefully before issuing the approval.

We are in the presence of a track that must be subjected to careful analysis.

We always talk a lot about safety and then they force the drivers to also carry out four stops, carrying out four qualifying style stints as is shown by the Verstappen’s best time, barely a second slower compared to the pole position. All this goes against the safety of the drivers themselves who crossed the finishing line exhausted. Sargeant did not hold up. On the one hand, it is correct to set the maximum number of laps for each tyre to avoid unpleasant events, but on the other hand a dangerous situation was still created. This is not good.

Analysing the results on the track all the compliments are for Piastri, winner of the sprint race and an excellent second place in the GP, ahead of his teammate Norris. He absolutely does not look like a rookie. He did not make the slightest mistake despite never having raced on this track. McLaren confirms it is great form and it is preparing to overtake Aston Martin on the ladder.

It is certainly not a surprise, but Verstappen took out his third straight world championship, rightfully entering among the greats of history.

George Russell was also very good. From last to fourth ahead of Leclerc’s Ferrari. As Lewis Hamilton admitted, the seven times world champion exaggerated, compromising his race irreparably,

He was one of the very few on the soft tyres and had to recover quickly, but he also damaged his teammate who in any case was very skilful in recovering to reach the foot of the podium.

It was a difficult weekend for Ferrari which ran the race with only one car following Sainz’s problem which was discovered only an hour before the start. The regulations require refuelling the cars for the race only at a certain time. At that point it was too late to remedy the inconvenience on Sainz’s car which had been suffered during the sprint race. The gap from Mercedes increased slightly.

Aston Marting was also under the weather. Ok, it races with only one driver (Fernando Alonso), but it is not an easy car to drive.

Alonso’s mistake confirms this. Faced with this McLaren fourth place is at risk.

Gian Carlo Minardi


In the last few days, the International Federation sanctioned with a press release the acceptance of Andretti Formula Racing as the eleventh Formula 1 team. I find this decision absolutely correct, especially when a team respects all the many and severe prerequisites required.

Let us not forget that the current Formula 1 regulations allow for up to twenty-four drivers on the track, in other words, twelve teams.

I find it hard to understand all this obstruction by Liberty Media and the current teams. Nowhere is it written that those who are already an active part of the world championship must necessarily receive the bonusses. They are conquered on the track.

Let us not forget that in the ‘90s the teams enrolled were well over the current ten or eleven. To get into the top ten of the constructors’ ladder you must fight and invest. The Minardi Team always earned access to the TV rights on the track. When we entered the world championship back in 1985, we fought to earn the right to stay in Formula 1.

Amongst other things, the entry of Andretti will guarantee two more seats. I see only positive aspects from this whole operation, including a growth in the duels on the track to earn precious points.

We are also at the threshold of the GP in Qatar, the seventeenth round. We are in a hot phase of the season which will determine the vice-champion. Red Bull has already taken the constructors’ title and Max Verstappen is one step away (3 points to go) from his third drivers’ title. There is still however a hard-fought battle behind them between Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren.

At this moment Aston Martin is the one suffering the most, also because it can count on only one driver. Fernando Alonso is defending tooth and nail the points won in the first part of the season, but he could use the support of the second driver.

All the teams, with the sole exception of Williams, have confirmed all the drivers, 2024 will therefore be a good test bench for everyone which could open up a few changes.

Gian Carlo Minardi


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