Gian Carlo Minardi “The truth will be discovered only in Melbourne”

With the 4-day-test session at Barcelona, the pre-season practice stage came to an end. Now, all eyes are on Melbourne circuit, where the first F1 GP will be held. This year, all F1 races will be broadcasted by SKY and RAI and they will be live or pre-recorded. We’ll finally see all cars showing their newest changes.

Once again every squad played hide and seek with rivals, to prevent them to take advantage of new amendments on car development and see their real potential.

“Even the third session of winter testing came to an end. It was so hard, almost impossible to understand something during this four-day-session, as teams were so good at hiding car changes. I had the impression that they tested the modified cars separately, so, only in Melbourne we’ll have the opportunity to see the real changes.

I think tyres will be the protagonists of the first races, as they’re so difficult to manage. In ten days, in Australia, we’ll see cars racing on medium and super soft tyres, which caused many problems to teams and drivers during the last session. In Malaysia, drivers will race on hard and soft. So, in the first two racing weekends we’ll get an overall view of the new Pirelli compounds”, says Gian Carlo Minardi.

“I think Red Bull played hide and seek again; the Austrian team set an interesting time only once, before being on 1-1.5 sec. behind the team on top. If this is true, teams will have to be seriously concerned. 8 cars crossed the line within 1 second; they can even grow up to 16 in qualifying. In Q3 we’ll see an interesting struggle between Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes (which is so lively on a single qualifying lap); Lotus and Williams could join in the struggle as outsiders. The competition level is higher than one year ago, as shown by times, which are so close to the 2012 pole, or even faster.”

“It seems that Ferrari found a good reliability; I’m so pleased to hear Pat Fry and the Ferrari staff saying that they’ve finally found a good match between the wind tunnel testing (virtual reality) and on- track testing(reality). This is so important, especially for a team which has always considered development as its flagship.”

Gian Carlo Minardi “We’re at an interlocutory phase”

The four-day-tests on the track of Barcelona ended up the second pre-season tests session. This session was characterized by bad weather conditions which affected the last day of testing during which teams usually put into practice all the work done, as analysed by Gian Carlo Minardi.

“Teams started to make amendments to be ready for the last session of testing and the first GP. It’s very hard to say if teams used cars to their full potential. What is almost clear is that it is quite hard for teams to manage soft tyres. I still remember what Paul Hembery said when new tyres were introduced; he pointed out the will (or need) to make the race even more interesting”, said the manager from Faenza.

“In the second half of the past season, teams equalized their performances on medium/hard tyres. Drivers pitted according to regulations. Comparing times in the first few laps of the long run with times in the last laps, we could notice sudden performance downfalls within a short time. It will be extremely hard but important to set the right time to pit. So, in the first GP it will be interesting to see different strategies. We’re still living an interlocutory phase and the four-day- testing session was interrupted by bad weather conditions. Generally, the last day of testing shows the results of the work done during the previous days, but this time it wasn’t possible.”

The tests at Barcelona confirmed a compression of times, as 7-8 teams crossed the line within one second.” Therefore, it will be so interesting to see what it will be going to happen during the third and last session of testing (from February 28 to March 3), to be held on the track of Barcelona, again. We will see how much teams will show their cars’ performances; I think they will be going to make separate tests in order to avoid opponents to take advantage of each car’ strengths and weaknesses. We’ll have two GP so close to each other (Australia and Malaysia), and then three weeks after the Malaysian GP, there will be the Chinese GP, where we’ll see amendments.”

The Ferrari gets people to discuss again: “We’re at the end of a cycle. It could be the result of a car built thanks to a cutting edge wind tunnel. Most of the mistakes made in the past season were certainly linked to an imperfect wind tunnel”, ends up the ACI CSAI supervisor.

Gian Carlo Minardi “At Jerez, a first taste of the 2013 racing season”

The 4-day-testing at Jerez finished the first session of the 2013 collective testing. Over the last 4 days we started to know more about the new single- seaters (except the Williams which will be tested at Barcelona), which will be the protagonists of the upcoming F.1 World Championship. As shown, the performance level will be higher.

“The current regulations, which will last till the end of the upcoming season, have been taken to the extreme, At this point it’s so difficult to think up new amendments. The common denominator is represented by very thin sidepods which could cause rear side’s overheating.  All teams got medium-high positions and the Red Bull is a benchmark. The McLaren seems to be a very interesting car, as well as Sauber and Toro Rosso. Good feelings come from the Ferrari, as well. The long runs of the first two days (13-14 laps), during which lap times were less important than other performances, were quite good. I think that the Spanish track was a mean to collect as many data as possible and compare them with the ones obtained by making simulator and wind tunnel tests. This is the way the Spanish tester will help the team. According to his interviews, it seems that the team will have to improve the simulator hardware. Along with Davide Rigon’s contribution, we all hope that they will be able to solve a problem that sounds like a “false note” in the world of F.1. It’s unacceptable not to test cars before running such a long Championship. It is important to reach a compromise in order to give teams the chance to test the turbo engine on track. The turbo engine will be the 2014 racing season official engine; it’s also interesting for the world of production cars. Cars have to be tested directly on track, not only by using a simulator”, says Gian Carlo Minardi.

“Long runs have always been Sebastian Vettel’s prerogative and I think Red Bull has mainly worked on car reliability and race performances, rather than on lap time. Beyond Ferrari good results, it’s difficult to set an on-track hierarchy yet.  No doubt 4 cars are a step ahead of the others, but it will be interesting to see also the steps of the latter. After taking a shaky start on the first two days, the Mercedes recovered in terms of reliability and performance by running almost 300 laps between Thursday and Friday.”

At Jerez teams started to test and improve all the changes made by running hundreds of laps, before working on further revisions to be presented at Barcelona, the track where the second session of the pre-season test will take place from February 19th to 22nd and from February 28th to March 3rd “Pre-season test in Barcelona will be so important, as the Spanish track will also host the World Championship opening tests. Thus we’ll have accurate feedbacks from cars and drivers. With the Barcelona test we’ll get closer to the first GP of the season, so team will get ready to play their ace card”, ends up the manager from Faenza.

Minardi “F1 is going back to ‘90s”

In less than one week, spotlight will be on the F1 World Championship again, as the new cars which will be the protagonists of the forthcoming racing season, will be soon introduced to the audience. Even the top series has been affected by the economic crisis the whole world is undergoing now, as shown by the fact many seats are still up for grabs. The crisis is also shown by the quit of the HRT Team and the many difficulties expressed by other teams.
“We’re going back to ‘90s, when the grid was composed by 18 Squads (mostly private), who had to integrate their budget by choosing rich drivers. Starting by saying that if a driver gets the Superlicenza, then he deserves to race in F1, the impossibility to get enough money through sponsorships, forces a team to choose those drivers who can either rely on the support of multinational companies or on the support of countries which use sport to promote their own products and tourism; their choice is not based on sports meritocracy. Teams’ financial situation won’t be better, as the reintroduction of the turbo engine in 2014 will further increase costs.”
In the last few years, many attempts were made to reduce costs: restrictions and cancellations of private testing and reduction of on-track staff “Strengths have been shifted from one side to the other. Private testing restriction has forced teams to concentrate their resources on new sectors, such as virtual simulation. Moreover, top teams can rely on an in-house team who supports technicians in managing the race. To reduce costs, it should be necessary to have less sophisticated cars, reduce the employment of electronics and aerodynamics and set rules which will help the development of material and technology to be applied on the series production. Anyway, I can hardly understand how costs can be kept under control”, says the manager Gian Carlo Minardi.
Car racing has always been one of the most expensive sports ever. Since a long time ago, all the drivers who made it into F1, could rely on the support of their family and important companies. It’s hard to see a driver pushing forward with his own resources. The revolution FIA is carrying on now is aiming at reducing the number of categories in order to make the talent identification process easier. In the past, we had only few categories: F1, F2 and F3. In F2 there were 4 or 5 constructors and more engine suppliers. That was the right way to emphasize talent. We must have the courage to make some steps backwards, even if it’s not easy. The CSAI has made a hard decision: suspend the Italian Formula 3 Championship with the aim of collaborating with Berger and the FIA to achieve a change.”
Few months before the beginning of National Championships, many teams haven’t completed their staff yet and many contracts still have to be signed “By now, GP2, GP3 and WSR teams have many vacancies. The fact that successful teams haven’t completed their staff yet, sounds like an alarm bell. Furthermore, there is another particular circumstance that should be taken under control: many parents are either buying or becoming part of racing teams to assist their sons’ professional development. No doubt this means certainty to some teams, but, if results didn’t come, they could give up. That is what happened when car companies got into F1. As soon as the crisis started to affect the world of car racing, car companies left the scene, causing problems for the entire system.”

Gian Carlo Minardi: “ The best car got the better of the best team”

The Brazilian GP marked the end of one of the most exciting World Championship in the history of F1, not only for the open fight till the very last second, but also for the role of outsiders, who had a great influence on final result and were podium contenders till the end. Gian Carlo Minardi, interview by website took stock of the past season, analyzing also the Italian F3 and the Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth exciting racing season.
The Brazilian GP marked the end of one of the most exciting world championship in the history of F1.
During the racing season recently concluded, drivers fought till the end and the fight went on even after FIA and Ferrari clarified the “yellow flags” issue. Anyway, the best car got the better of the best team.
Red Bull and McLaren experienced highs and lows throughout the racing season, while Ferrari was the most consistent team.
If we analyze the whole season, we can say that Red Bull had a hard beginning because of tyres issues, but it soon recovered and, together with Vettel, they became a winning combination. Even in the future, it will be the car to beat, but, to the rivals benefit, its Achilles’ heel is reliability, along with driver management and pit-stops.
It is hard for me to judge McLaren, though. It was the most competitive team on hard and medium tyres. The seven wins scored by the English team were strictly linked to these two compounds. Maybe they didn’t handle some internal issues at their best and the diatribe between Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton was trigged since the beginning of the racing season. They had the power to cause problems for the champions, but, because of some inner issues, pit-stop mistakes and unreliability, they didn’t manage to take advantage of their potential.
Ferrari fought for the world title with a non-competitive car, so far from being a leader. The team was able to recover from a hard time, thanks to a brilliant Fernando Alonso who contested his best racing season. Talking about development, the Italian team arrived in Monza having a “borderline” car and contested a defensive second half of the season. In spite of everything, they were able to get a second place finish in the world championship, with a 3-point-gap from the world champion. As far as reliability is concerned, they were the best, while their technical level is, in my opinion, lower than the one of Red Bull and McLaren. The sore point is that Alonso scored no point at Spa and Suzuka because of external causes, while Vettel withdrawals are due to technical issues.
Said that, the last race was like a lottery game, followed by an aftermath. I can hardly understand the reason why Ferrari didn’t ask for an explanation during the race.
What is Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari strong point?
Talking about Red Bull, I would say Adrian Newey, while Ferrari has reliability at its side. The engineer of genius demonstrated to be skilful not only at designing aerodynamics, but also at managing and organising the team. In Brazil, just few minutes after an accident had occurred, they had all damages to Vettel’s car printed out. This feature is also meaningful. We can suppose they could have had many real-time images about tyres consumption and car’ features at their disposal during the race.Thanks to the reliability of its car, Ferrari was able to fight for the world title till the end, scoring important points even in unexpected moments. McLaren scored as many victories as Red Bull, but some pit-stop mistakes and unreliability ruined a season which was successful from a technical point of view. Their strong points were aerodynamics and an optimal management of medium and hard tyres, thanks to which they got good results.
What is the feature the three teams should improve?
Red Bull should work on reliability and on a non-perfect team management.
Ferrari should improve aerodynamics and coordination between team divisions.
McLaren= reliability and internal management issues. We should not underestimate Hamilton’s decision to leave the team while he was still in play for the World Championship.
..Second-tier teams made the final result even more exciting and uncertain.
As I had already pointed out several times during the season, outsiders played a decisive role in the Championship. Alonso lost the title finishing behind two drivers like Maldonado and Raikkonen who were not expected to be two race winners, at the beginning. Maldonado scored a victory in Spain and Raikkonen won the GP in Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes should forget this racing season, instead…..
Mercedes is incomprehensive. They had a great beginning of season, scoring a win in China. Then, they gradually disappeared because of tyres issues. The team is a 2012 racing season big disappointment.
Starting from March 2013, F1 will be broadcasted on SKY. Will the audience get down?
We should wait for the complete TV schedule, as negotiations are still in progress. RAI cannot do without F1 for sure and I think that, if the F1 World Championship will be broadcasted only on SKY, audience will get down and down. In fact, RAI subscribers are millions, while SKY subscribers are only thousands. As a consequence, the two channels will come to a compromise in order to allow Italian spectators to enjoy the show.
Italian drivers did not take part in the most exciting championship. What are 2013 outlooks?
I can hardly imagine some changes for the future racing season. There are drivers like Valsecchi, who, besides winning the GP2 Championship, had also an excellent performance at Abu Dhabi rookie tests. Team and driver are working to take part in the World Championship, but it won’t be easy at all. Unfortunately, as we already know, abilities are not enough. The financial situation is so troubled and I hope he will find the way to demonstrate his talent.
The 2012 racing season was anyway a good season for Italian drivers. Edoardo Mortara, after contesting the DTM Championship, won a title in Macau, Valsecchi won the GP2 Championship, Filippi had a good GP2 season and Rigon with Ferrari…..
We hope Porsche will be Sauber official engine supplier again and Honda will be McLaren official engine supplier again. Only on this condition, high-level drivers will go back to racing. Otherwise we will continue to have drivers supported by big sponsors or even by countries or continents which use motor sport as an advertising means. Nowadays if you want to be a F1 racer you have to spend 15 millions Euros at least…..We hope that, with all technological advances and regulation amendments, F1 will hold again the interest of those automakers who brought along before.
F1 had an exciting and intense racing season, but so did Italian F.ACI-CSAI Abarth and F3 Championships.
As an ACI advisor, I have to pay attention to what happens in the world of car racing. I think to be objective when I say that both Italian F.3 and F.ACI-CSAI Abarth Championships are two high-level Championships. All young drivers who experienced those series, then had the opportunity to race in some series which are so close to F1, such as GP3, GP2 and WSR 3.5. Unfortunately our country is undergoing a deep economic crisis, but the greatest satisfaction is to see a talented young driver such as Riccardo Agostini, who previously raced in F.Abarth and F.3, being so competitive during the WSR tests and handling the F1 Ferrari so well. This means that this chain ensures valuable technical upturns. We’re improving year by year and we’ll soon see sport results, as well.
In our Championships there was a lack of Italian drivers but lots of foreign ones.
Italian Championships are extremely competitive and I want to praise foreign drivers as they are disposed to put themselves at stake. We don’t have problems in terms of quality and our drivers are always able to make a good impression in the most important racing series. So, Italian drivers are not inferior to foreign ones, but they have many problems in finding the economic resources to stand out. Unfortunately, it’s a fight against the world, especially when foreign countries use motor sport as an advertising means.

F.1 – A hard working Rigon at Magny-Cours

In the first day of official test with the team from Maranello, Davide Rigon was unsparing in his efforts to show all his resilience and athletic training in gaining more than 700 km.
Behind the wheel of the F2012 at Magny-Cours, the Vicenza-born driver, who has been at the disposal of the Scuderia for two years, both for sport and business activities, developed an intense schedule, focusing on aerodynamics in the morning and on setup in the afternoon. The aim was to correlate these two areas with the work done at the simulator.
I’ve already been at Magny-Cours two times with other categories, but driving a F.1 car here has been so amazing!”- these were the words Davide said at the end of the day test- “ I was so nervous at the beginning, then, ten laps later, I’ve managed to focus all my efforts on the day schedule: making so many laps has given me the opportunity of improving the feeling to the car and better understanding the differences between working with the simulator and driving a real car. Track features also helped us so much as it’s a very complete circuit from a technical point of view.
I’m very satisfied with Davide’s test. He has done an awful lot of work that will be useful for the car development, completing 165 laps, that are over 756 km.”, says the manager Giovanni Minardi, “ The leg injury experienced in 2011 is now a far memory. He has been constant throughout the day and gathered many important data, the team has been so satisfied with his work. I hope this test won’t represent an end point, but a stepping stone towards a bright future in the F.1. Once again Davide has done a great job as expected. Congratulations!
Rigon finished his day test by completing 165 laps, setting the best time on 1.17.925. The talented Italian driver will race at Nurburgring in the weekend of September the 22nd. He will be behind the wheel of the 458 for the 5th race of Blancpain Endurance Series.

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