GIAN CARLO MINARDI APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF THE IMOLA CIRCUIT “I AM HONOURED BY THIS OFFICE”

Formula Imola S.p.A., the company that manages the Enzo and Dino Ferrari International circuit announced that today the assembly of the members elected the new Board of Administration made up of 5 members which will remain in office for 3 years and whose appointment will come into force from January 1, 2021 and that the current Board will remain in office until December 31, 2020.

Gian Carlo Minardi, 73 years of Faenza, founder of the Minardi F1 Team has been appointed to the office of President and will be accompanied in their role as Board members by Susana Caroli, 46 years of Imola chartered accountant; Aldo Costa, 59 years of Parma Technical Director of Dallara Automobili; Augusto Machirelli, 65 years of Imola former Director General of Con.Ami and currently business consultant in the management field of “governance”; Valeria Vignali, 43 years of Modena associate Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Environmental Engineering of the University of Bologna.

Gian Carlo Minardi: “I am grateful for the trust that the 23 Mayors of Con.Ami have given me. Now begins an adventure that I hope will bring positive results, those that we all expect because it is an honour to work for the Imola Circuit. I hope to live up to it and to reciprocate the trust that has been given me. I am very pleased to find myself with Aldo Costa again with whom I worked in the Minardi F1 Team from 1988 to 1995 when he held the role of Technical Director. In general it seems an excellent team with important skills. There are all the conditions for working really well. I want to thank Uberto Selvatico Estense for the results achieved under his management and I hope that the friendly relationship that has distinguished us over these years, I as ACI Sport and he as President of the Circuit, will remain solid and that if I need advice, as can happen, that he will be willing to give it to me. There cannot be a future without a past and a present”,

Uberto Selvatico Estense: “At the end of my term which ended with an extremely particular year due to the pandemic which destroyed entire sectors of the economy, let me be allowed to recall the results in terms of organization and management during this long wonderful period. I have had the honour to preside the operational organization and at times only the hospitality of memorable concerts such as those by AC/DC and Gun N’ roses, the WTCC world tourism championship, the World Endurance Championship when it was still called the WEC, nine World Superbike Championships, the ELMS, the world finals of the Ferrari Challenge and the Lamborghini Super Challenge, the Senna Tribute, the 200 Miglia Revival and Minardi Day, the CIV, the Italian Cup, the Exhibition Market by the very talented Brusa, five Motor Cross World Championships, three in Faenza and two in Imola, the Italian Half Marathon and the Cycling World Championships, all challenges won many times against all odds. Above all I spent eleven years focussing on how to bring Formula One back to Imola. I believe that in this final matter that there is therefore a duty for my successor to continue to advocate subsidiarity of the economic benefits of such a major event for the territory and for what I have sown with FOWC and FIA to maintain the result achieved, If he knows how to adequately respond to the requests of the promoters there is no doubt that the Circus will remain in Imola as was announced to me in recent months at the end of an event that came out very well from the organizational point of view such that it received the praise of the drivers and the team managers. Especially now that under my management the circuit is in top shape and substance, thanks to the investments made with the resources of Con.Ami and Formula Imola, new more ambitious projects are also possible. Undoubtedly Gian Carlo Minardi represents a guarantee of success for this objective and for the programme of the Imola City Council to operate with economically sustainable results on the multi-functional aspects of the facility without forgetting its motoring soul. I therefore wish him and his collaborators the great result of being able to restore order to the chaos in which the world has ended up. If he knows how to serve to be able to serve nothing will impede him”.

HISTORIC MINARDI DAY 2021 | THE F1X3 COMES TO IMOLA WITH ALEX CAFFI AND NICOLA LARINI

We are pleased to announce the first big news in view of the edition number 5 of the Historic Minardi Day which will take place over three days from April 9 to 11, 2011 at Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit as has already been announced in recent weeks.

Despite the health emergency that forced the organization to postpone the fifth edition by a year the organizational machine never stopped working to put together an even richer programme for all the fans that will come to Imola.

Thanks to former F1 driver Alex Caffi, who was already a leading player of previous editions of the Historic Minardi Day with the 1974 Ferrari B4 and the 1967 Ensing N179 (ex Clay Regazzoni) with which he won the 2016 Monte Carlo Historic Grand Prix, two F1X3 cars will take to the Santerno track driven by Alex Caffi, together with Nicola Larini which will let fans experience the thrill and the power of a real Formula 1 car with a lap of the circuit.

In fact, the cars managed by Alex Caffi Motorsport derive from the chassis  of the Jordan EJ13 that were brought onto the track during the 2003 World Championship by Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralph Firman, achieving a victory with the Italian driver in the exciting Brazilian Grand Prix and the EJ14 of Giorgio Pantano, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock that got its best results with two seventh places (Monte Caro and Canada) and ninth place in the constructors’ championship.

For further information and to book a lap contact Alex Caffi Motorsport now at this email address: squadracorseangelocaffi@gmail.com

MINARDI M192 | GIAN CARLO MINARDI’S DEBUT IN “HIS” IMOLA

Sunday May 7, 2017, Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit. This was certainly another important date in the history of the Minardi Team and especially for Gian Carlo Minardi.

Since we began this trip amongst the cars from Faenza many of you fans have asked us to tell the story of the Lamborghini powered Minardi M192 but we deliberately waited.

As we said, May 7, 2017. Why this date rather than go back to May 17, 1992, the day of the M 192’s debut in the Formula 1 World Championship at the San Marino Grand Prix (the 5th Grand Prix)?

We are again at the Santerno circuit but the occasion was the second edition of the Historic Minardi Day, the event created by Gian Carlo Minardi together with his brothers and brought to the track alongside Formula Imola.

Collector and driver Fritz van Eerd made available to Gian Carlo Minardi the M192-Lamborghini (ex Fittipaldi. Zanardi and Morbidelli) who thus made his absolute debut at the wheel of one of his cars. In fact, we discovered that before then Gian Carlo had never wanted to try one of his cars.

The circuit’s pit lane and terrace were full of fans and the Gian Carlo’s exit from the pit was accompanied by a roar and applause.

“It was a magic moment and I must thank my friend Frits van Eerd. This event will stay in the history of the Historic Minardi Day, also because I’m sure I set the slowest ever lap at the wheel of a racing car,” remembered a smiling Gian Carlo.

The racing car designed by Aldo Costa mounted a Lamborghini engine-gearbox group and is characterized by a highly visible front wing inspired by the Jordan (which proved to be rather unstable).

This solution was the main cause of the performance problems of the car as it was extremely hard to find a good compromise between slow and fast, while on some circuits such as Hungaroring and Spa it was downright undriveable.

At high speed the front wing loaded too much forcing penalizing choices on the set up to avoid under steer at speed. In view of the Italian GP in Monza the team decided to take a step back and returned to the design of the M191 and the balance of the car changed radically.

Not coincidentally, on that weekend Morbidelli took 10th place on the starting grid while in Japan Fittipaldi took a deserved 6th place.

It was a car with major potential, unfortunately created badly, but it is still in the hearts of many fans. Since May 7, 2017 there is also another reason.

MINARDI PS02 | MARK’S DEBUT WELCOMED ON THE PODIUM

Mark Webber (AUS) Minardi PS02

The PS02 was very different from its predecessor. It was the first racing car to bear the signature of Gabriele Tredozi and the main difference was made up of the nose cone turned up high and the subsequent abandonment of the tie rod suspension in favour of the classic strut system.
Compared to the PS01 the wheel base grew by 74 mm to allow the placement of the B version of the titanium gearbox but especially in function of the greater capacity of the fuel tank which had been increased by 20 litres.

The lengthening of the wheelbase was also necessary for moving the front axle forward in order to further remove from the sides the turbulence coming from the front tyres.
The weight distribution was moved forward with a concentration of 45% on the front axle and the possibility of managing the ballast of 50 kg.

The arrangement of the radiators was somewhat different with the abandonment of the lying position in favour of the more traditional symmetrical groups, in other words, with the radiators for water and oil on both sides.

The PS02 immediately showed it was a more efficient machine in aerodynamic terms, even of the development in the wind tunnel was rather limited during the season with the introduction of only a new diffuser in Austria and the new bulkheads for the front wing, this too modified during the season.

  • Mark Webber (AUS) KL Minardi Asiatech Australian Grand Prix Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2 March 2002 DIGITAL IMAGE

Compared to the PS01 which had showed poor reliability in the transmission group the PS02 proved to be a decidedly reliable car. Powered by the less powerful but reliable Asiatech (ex Peugeot) engine the PS02 used two different systems of electronic switchboards: one for the chassis produced by Magneti Marelli and the one for the engine produced by TAG.

With the departure of Fernando Alonso a new debutant arrived in Faenza, the Australian Mark Webber who was joined by the Malaysian Alex Yoong (who brought a dowry of a number of million dollars to the team) who had been the Spaniard’s team mate from the 2001 Italian Grand Prix.

Mark Webber (AUS) KL Minardi Asiatech
Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 3 March 2002

The season’s most exciting moment precisely on the occasion of the opening race of the World Championship in Melbourne on March 9 (another important date in the history of the Minardi Team). On his home track and his absolute debut in F1 Mark Webber took an extraordinary 5th place which made the fans f the whole circuit explode with joy.

At the start both Minardis manage to pass the fearful crash unscathed. From that moment the racing cars from Faenza continued to stay within the points zone with Mark achieving the first points of his career.

Michael Schumacher often remembered that particular GP that saw him win at the wheel of the Ferrari for one detail: he was astounded by having few people beside him at the moment of popping the champagne bottle, they had all gone to celebrate the Minardi and its fifth place which also joined the German champion. It was a memorable race further reinforced by Yoong’s 7th place.

During the rest of the season the PS02 showed good potential in highly driven circuits such as Monte Carlo. On April 14 at Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit on the occasion of the San Marino Grand Prix the team from Faenza crossed the line of 275 GPs.

The Minardi team celebrate their 275th Grand Prix start. – San Marino Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, 11 April 2002.

At the French Gp on July 21 Mark Webber took 8th place (Yoong 10th) and 10th place in Japan in the final round of the season. On the occasion of the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix the Malaysian’s steering when was entrusted to Anthony Davidson.

Thanks to the points scored in Australia the Minardi Team ended the 2002 season in 9th place which gave them access to the very important TV funds.

In that same season the team decided to build a Minardi two-seater by modifying the chassis of the Tyrrrell 026 to approach potential sponsors. Michael Schumacher himself wanted to drive it to entertain his wife and children.

On October 27 of that year the second “Minardi Day” took place, the first was at the Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit that since 2016 has become the home of the Historic Minardi Day, and a good four of these cars were present, driven by Alex Young, Matteo Bobbi, Giorgio Pantano and by Paul Stoddart.

Mark Webber (AUS) Minardi PS02 – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, 12 October 2002.

MINARDI PS01 | FERNANDO ALONSO’S STAR IS BORN

Fernando Alonso(ESP) European Minardi PS01 – Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne, Australia 2nd-4th March 2001

For the 2001 season Minardi wanted to produce a car with the weights moved as low as possible, based on the experienced gathered from the previous season’s car.

The PS01 was created with a low nose cone and with a rather square shape, combined with a strongly spoon shaped wing and pull rod front suspensions.

However, these suspensions penalized the car’s aerodynamic development in a season in which it would have been an advantage to raise the nose cone to reduce the negative effects connected to the new aerodynamic limitations introduced by the Federation.

Even from the aerodynamic point of view the rigidity of the suspension with the layout of the pull rods revealed all its limits. The arrangement of the radiators always lying forward with a view to always being able to create low sides was unprecedented.

Minardi also introduced a second version of the titanium cast gearbox casing in the August trials in Monza and made its debut in Germany with Fernando Alonso. The experiment was repeated in Hungary with both drivers and used in the race only by Tarso Marques (who had come back to Faenza). The new gearbox, again created by CRP, was even lighter and stiffer compared to the first version introduced as an absolute novelty in Spain in 2000.

  • L-R: Fernando Alonso(ESP), Tarso Marques(BRA) Belgian Grand Prix Qualifying, Spa Francorchamps 1 September 2001 DIGITAL IMAGE

Furthermore, the B version made its debut in Germany with a much more compact rear section and with a wheel base that was 28mm shorter.

The 2001 season also saw Fernando Alonso’s debut in Formula 1 when he stood out on his debut in the Circus with an encouraging 12th place in Melbourne. At the Malaysian GP of March 18 Alonso scored another good result but his 13th place was three laps behind the winner… Marques took a satisfying 9th place in Brazil, as he also did in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The last round of the season on the Suzuka circuit in Japan again saw Fernando Alonso as the great protagonist. The driver from Asturias ran the whole race at such a high rhythm that it was described as “53 qualifying laps”. Unfortunately, the final 11th place did not properly express the happy combination of man and machine in that race but remained n exceptional result taking into account that the speed performance of the Minardi was inferior due to the low power of the Cosworth V10.

Despite all the team’s efforts the 2001 season was filed away with zero points but there remained the awareness of having introduced Alonso’s talent to the international audience with the Spaniard after passing onto Flavio Briatore’s court as Renault’s test driver the season after.

Fernando Alonso(ESP) European Minardi PS01 – Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka 12 October 2001.

MINARDI M02 | NEW TECHNOLICAL DEVELOPMENTS AND ATTAINING 250 GP

Gustav Brunner designed an innovative racing car for the 2000 season. The M02 presented a lower and more pointed nose cone, compact sides, high exhausts and a slimmer central part of the car’s body.

A further improvement compared to the M01 was represented by the new totally titanium gearbox produced by CRP in Modena which had extremely limited dimensions and introduced in the Spanish GP.

Furthermore, during the season Minardi introduced two other new developments. The first was the first F1 racing car to adopt set down brake callipers and the never before seen double U shape of the rib to ease the entry and exit of the driver from the cockpit.

Once again the car’s weak point was the engine, the V10 Cosworth which was renamed Fondmetal. With a more powerful engine and adequate development the Minardi M02 could have placed in the middle of the standings.

After the positive start to the season the financial support of Telefonica grew (the livery changes as well) which continued to support the Spaniard Marc Genè who was joined by the Argentinean Gaston Mazzacane with Luca Badoer called back to Ferrari to continue in his role as test driver.

In the opening Grand Prix of the season in Australia on March 12 Genè took the M02 to 8th place with Mazzacane repeating the result on May 12 at the European GP at Nurburgring. At the A1 Ring in Austria the Spaniard once again finished in 8thplace.

On August 27 on the occasion of the Belgian GP between the ups and downs of the Ardennes the Minardi Team crossed the finish line of 250 GP.

During the season the Minardi Team again placed in the top-10: Mazzacane was 10th at Interlagos and on the home track in the temple of speed in Monza where Marc and Gaston crossed the finish line in 9th and 10th places respectively. Thanks to these results the Minardi Team once again took 10th place in the Constructors’’ ladder in front of the Prost of Alesi and Heidfeld.

Unfortunately the season was marked by the discovery of Rumi’s incurable medical condition which forced him to sell his shares, with Paul Stoddart as the new purchaser.

MINARDI M01 | NURBURGRING, BETWEEN JOY AND PAIN

The Minardi M01 designed by Gustav Brunner after his period in Ferrari represented a very ambitious project for the team from Faenza. Unlike the racing cars that had preceded it the car presented no component that came from a previous model. The whole car was new.

Both the hub-holder and the guide box were cast in titanium, while the gearbox casing was represented a pioneering work of magnesium casting. The rear of the M01 was undoubtedly the most successful part from the aerodynamic point of view with the engine hood and the side appendages that improved the air flow in front of the rear tyres.

On the drivers’ side Gian Carlo Minardi and Gabriele Rumi, who joined the company in 1997, called to Faenza Luca Badoer who had put himself on show in 1996 before becoming a point of reference in the development of the Ferrari and at his side was the Spaniard debutant Marc Genè, supported by Telefonica.

Badoer did not disappoint the expectations by showing all his technical and speed values, especially during the European GP run on the new Nurburgring on September 26

  • Minardi M01 Lunch

Under pouring rain that contributed to reducing the differences between the major and minor team by lowering the influence of the power of the engines, Badoer took his M01 into the top placings achieving fourth place in front of Ralf Schumacher in the Williams, Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR and his team mate Genè by setting impressive times which brought him closer to Barrichello in the Stewart (3rd).

The dreams for glory of both Luca and the Minardi Team were shattered by the failure of the gearbox during the 54th lap, 13 laps from the chequered flag, which forced him to park the racing car on the side of the track. The Spaniard relieved the team’s morale by giving the team its first world championship point with 6th place the finishing line.

This wonderful race was a comforting demonstration of the quality of both Luca Badoer and the Minardi M01 which once again had only the engine as its Achilles heel.

However, the two eighth places in the San Marino GPs on May 2 by Badoer and the Canadian GP on June 13 by Marc Genè should also be remembered.

MINARDI M195 | FAENZA RAISES ITS NOSE CONE

After the positive season in 1994 which ended with 5 points to its credit and tenth place in the Constructors’’ Championship the Board of Directors decided to raise the bar by giving priority to a more powerful engine which would have given greater guarantees for the leap in quality.

The choice fell on the Mugen-Honda with the Japanese who made themselves available. After having made all the preliminary agreements and with the work already started for the definition of the details of the engine to be installed in the new racing car Honda announced that its engines would go to Ligier owned by Flavio Briatore. Minardi stated a long legal action against the manager from Cuneo and his team which ended only on the occasion of the British Grand Prix on July 9 with the lump sum refund for the damages suffered and the cancellation of Minardi’s residual debt in regards to the Cosworth owned by the same Briatore.

The design of the M195 had to continue in any case and for the 1995 season it was decided to fall back on the usual Cosworth engine, the 3000 cc Ford ED V6.

Designed by Aldo Costa, the M195 was the first Minardi with a high nose cone and made its debut in Interlagos in Brazil on March 26 in the first of the 17 rounds on the calendar.

The design of the flanks and the air intakes of the radiators will be taken up by the 1997 Ferrari F310. Created with a new front wing with step that traced the pan section, this solution was gradually abandoned between the GPs in Spain and Monte Carlo. Furthermore, the M195 was characterized by the exhaust of the hot air on the upper part of the flanks (similar to the first McLaren Mp24), a solution that was also abandoned after the French GP.

The major developments in 1995 on the sporting front were the retirement of Michele Alboreto from F1 after having started his career with the F2 Minardi in 1982 winning at Misano and the arrival of Luca Badoer beside Pierluigi Martini with the latter giving way for Pedro Lamy starting from Hungary.

The season was run fast with a number of placings in the top 10: 8th place with Badoer in Montreal and Hungary, 7th Martini at Silverstone and Badoer 10th, 9th by Lamy at the Nurburgring and Badoer in Suzuka and Lamy’s 10th place at Spa-Francorchamps.

Just when it was thought that the season would end with no points, on November 12 in Adelaide the Portuguese driver took 6th place (after having started in 21st place on the grid) behind Mika Salo in the Tyrrel, a point that once again placed the team in 10th place amongst the Constructors.

During the end of season tests on the Fiorano track of November 25 and 26 another young driver was called, Giancarlo Fisichella, who would make his debut in the Formula 1 world championship with the Minardi team in Melbourne on March 10, 1996.

MINARDI M194 | MICHELE ALBORETO CAME TO FAENZA AND REACHING 150 GP

The 1994 season began with the new corporate structure with the entry of the new group of partners led by Lucchini
On the drivers’ front Minardi-Scuderia Italia placed its trust in the very fast and skilled Pierluigi Martini and Michele Alboreto who with the M193B took sixth and fifth places in Monte Carlo and Spain before debuting the new car, the M194, which was presented on the occasion of the Canadian Grand Prix, the sixth round of the world championship.

Equipped with the 3500 cc FORD HB V8 engine, the car was a development of the M193 and had aerodynamic modifications as a result of the new technical regulations adopted after the accidents in Imola and Monte Carlo, some of which were the skid block, the reduction in the size of the diffusers and the flow deviators on the front wing.

Despite the introduction of the new regulation in mid-season which penalized the team from Faenza on the economic front, in Hungary the electro-hydraulic gearbox was tested by Alboreto and from Spa-Francorchamps was fitted in Martini’s car as well.

The M194’s first mark did not take long to arrive: on July 3 at Magny-Cours Pierluigi Martini was once again in the points with fifth place behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s Sauber after having started from 16th place.

During the 16 GPs Minardi took another seven positive results in the Top 10 (in that period the points were attributed only to the first 6 finishers): 8th place in the first grand prix in Brazil, 9th in Canada, 10th in Silverstone, 7th in Hungary and 8th, 9th places in the selective and fast Spa-Francorchamps with which on August 28 Martini and Alboreto celebrated the Minardi Teams 150 GPs and 9th place in Adelaide.

From the penultimate round, the Japanese Grand Prix, the engine hood was introduced.

The tenth season in F1 finished with another 5 points and 10th place in the Constructors’ ladder with 14 teams registered.

 

 

MINARDI M193 – RECORD SEASON. FROM THE “LINK” TO THE FEAR AT MONZA

The M193 was the result of excellent teamwork between Gustav Brunner, who was newly arrived in Faenza, Aldo Costa and Gabriele Tredozi.
As well as the new livery in which Gian Carlo decided to favour white, this was the first single-seater equipped with hydraulic suspension. The regulations required the use of active suspensions and for this reason the people at Faenza designed the M193 with passive suspensions with a view to passing to the active in the following season.

The system provided for an innovative “link” between the front axis and the rear which made it possible to reduce the car’s pitching variations during breaking and acceleration. Unfortunately this innovative solution was short lived since it was banned by the ’94 technical regulations.

1993 was also the year Minardi adopted the first sequential gearbox. The racing car proved to be extremely performing in the races, especially thanks to the Ford HB V8 which was not very powerful but with low fuel consumption which allowed a lower fuel load which saved up to about 10-15 kg of load compared to its rivals with an obvious advantage during the race.

In the first race of the season, the South African Grand Prix on March 14, Christian Fittipaldi took an incredible fourth place followed by two 6th places in the European GP run at Donington Park and at Imola with Fabrizio Barbazza and the 5th place overall on the roads of the principality of Monte Carlo on May 23.

During the 1993 season Minardi showed major growth taking two 7th places (Donington Park and Monza with Pierluigi Martini who had taken over from Barbazza), three 8th places (Montmelò, Magny Cours and Monza), two 9th places (Montreal and Estoril) and 10th place at Suzuka in Japan.

From the British Grand Prix Pierluigi Martini returned to Faenza inheriting Fabrizio Barbazza’s seat and the two drivers quickly showed great feeling. However a misunderstanding probably created a dramatic incident on September 12 during the final metres of a hard fought Italian Gp in Monza.

The Brazilian driver in 8th place in his Minardi collided into the rear of its twin car driven by Martini in 7th place and flew a perfect loop, managing to cross the finish line. The telemetry reconstructed the dynamics: the Brazilian’s car was “sucked” into the wake of Piero’s car and the rear end collision was inevitable, just like the fainting fit that struck Christian’s mother who was present on the pit wall.

At the end of 16 Grands Prix Minardi had conquered 7 points which were worth eighth place in the Constructors’ ladder (out of 13 teams). The M193 did better than its “sisters” M189 and M191 that had stopped with a haul of 6 points. Gian Carlo had top level technical and sporting staff but the economic side was always a concern. At the end of the season Minardi sold two thirds of the team to Beppe Lucchini giving form to the Minardi-Scuderia Italia with Gian Carlo Minardi keeping his role as President and C.E.O., together with engineer Gianpaolo Stanzani.

MINARDI M191 | THE FERRARI ENGINE CAME

April 5 1990 was another historic date for Gian Carlo Minardi and the Minardi Team. It was announced that from the 1991 season Ferrari would supply its 12 cylinder engine to the Minardi Team. For the first time in its history Ferrari supplied one of its components to another team.

The Aldo Costa designed M191 became the first car in history to mount a Ferrri client engine. The chassis, built around two small drivers such as Pierluigi Martini (68kg) and Gianni Morbidelli (65kg) presented a reduced and extreme body. The car was born and entirely developed around the engine from Maranello and the Minardi gearbox. During the season it benefitted from significant aerodynamic and technical development. It was an extremely expensive car that heavily committed the team from the technical point of view.

The M191’s Achilles’ heel was the gearbox, created in house which proved very fragile. Constantly, the clutch broke after a few race laps forcing the drivers to continue on without.

Despite this the car stood out constantly reaching the top 10 in qualifying in the last eight GPs of the season (from Hungary to Australia) achieving two fourth places (at Imola and Estoril with Martini) and a total of six points and 7th amongst the Constructors of the 18 teams entered.

As stated, the season’s first great satisfaction came on April 28th on a Sunday strongly conditioned by the rain. On the home track, the third round of the season, Martini achieved a real masterpiece placing 4th at the end of a race run after the 20th lap without the clutch and therefore with the nightmare of breaking the gearbox and without being able to stop at the pits to change tyres. It was a true triumph.

With this result the trust in Ferrari was also rewarded, having brought the only car with a Ferrari engine across the finish line on the darkest day for the cars in red with Prost out in the formation lap and Alesi stuck in the sand at the Tosa bend immediately after the start. The same situation occurred in Montreal with the M191 no. 23 which crossed the finishing line in seventh place with the only surviving Ferrari engine.

On July 15th, on the occasion of the British Grand Prix, the Minardi Team crossed the finish line of 100 grands prix, finishing in 9th place. The 1985 Brazil GP was a distant memory.

MINARDI M189 | THOSE FANTASTIC LAPS IN THE LEAD.THE CAR THAT OPENED A CYCLE

SThe M189 was born from the wake of enthusiasm of the results achieved in the 1988 season. The car made its debut in the fourth round of the world championship on the occasion of the Mexico Grand Prix, taking the place of the M188B.

Designed by Nigel Cowperthwaite and Tommaso Carletti with Aldo Costa in the role of technical director the car was powered by the 3500cc Ford Cosworth V8. The M189 was the first racing car in which the model of the chassis was not created by hand but worked for the surfaces at the I.De.A. Company in Turin with a 5-axis numerical controlled machine that exploited CAD-CAM technology.

The M189 was entirely designed by CAD and developed in the wind tunnel in Crandfield in England and was also the first racing car to mount rear rocker shock absorbers above the gear box with the hub holders made of welded steel, a solution that was subsequently adopted by everybody.

Particular attention was given to the profile of the wings developed by the former Lotus technician Cowperthwaite. Experiments also began with a high nose cone. The M189 was equipped with the low nose cone but at the same time raised a few centimetres with respect to the bottom of the body. This “step” was the first attempt to favour the air flow in the forward part of the rib, a constructive philosophy that was subsequently adopted by all the teams with the introduction of the high nose cone. The M189’s main weapon was probably constituted by the Pirelli tyres which were particularly perfuming in qualifying but less incisive in the race. They were characterized by a special mix that after the first use allowed the buffing of the surface layer for a second use with performance that was even superior to the first.

The start of the season was not the happiest for Pierluigi Martini and Luis Sala who were forced to seven retirements in as many races with the M189 suffering from overheating problems and the nightmare of prequalifying coming ever closer. The turning point came on July 16 at Silverstone on the occasion of the British Grand Prix where a new arrangement of the heating system was installed and with Martini and Sala who brought the two Minardis into the points, in fifth and sixth places respectively.

GIAN CARLO MINARDI “It was a decisive race for us and the history of the Minardi Team. Those three points allowed the team to not take part from pre-qualifying in the second half of the season which would have meant a great less on the economic level with the loss of the television bonuses and those of the transportation. Piero had a stupendous race even if characterized by a horror start. After three laps he came into the pits because the water temperature was sky high. Taken by the desperation we sent him back onto the track without any intervention on the car and luckily all the parameters fell back into the norm. We never understood what happened but that’s ok”

September 24 at Estoril in Portugal was another incredible date. Martini took Minardi to the lead of a Grand Prix for the first time in its history, controlling the two very fast Williams-Renaults with a stupendous performance and crossing the finishing line in fifth place. To these results Martini added a deserved 6th place in Australia under pouring rain, the 7th and 8th places at Monza and the 9th in Germany and Belgium.

With 6 points to its credit the Minardi team finished in the Top 10 with 20 teams entered for the second consecutive year.

GIAN CARLO MINARDI “The 1989 season was certainly the first of 3/4 seasons in which the Minardi was really fast. 1991 and 1993 come to mind”

MINARDI M188 | THE “CAMEL” THAT CONSECRATED MINARDI AND MARTINI

April 5th, 1985 is the symbolic date for Gian Carlo Minardi and the Minardi Team. At 9.30am of that Friday 35 years ago the Team from Faenza marked its debut in the Formula 1 World Championship on Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro track during the first round of free practice with the sole example of the M185 entrusted to Pierluigi Martini. “Everybody looked at us as if we were Martians,” remembers former mechanic Bruno Valli.

During the 21 years of history in the World Championship there were many other important occasions and one of these was certainly July 19th, 1988. On the Detroit track in the sixth round of the world championship, Pierluigi Martini and the Minardi Team gained their first world championship point with the M188. This was a triumph for the driver from the Romagna who finally asserted himself in the ranks of the true drivers in the highest series but it was especially a reward for the tenacity of Gian Carlo Minardi, the first great achievement since his arrival in F1.

The M188 designed by Giacomo Caliri and nicknamed the “camel” due to its chronic instability should have been a liberation for the team. Unfortunately these expectations were soon disappointed. The racing car with the naturally cooled 3500 cc Ford Cosworth DFZ V8 with a very short wheel base of 2670mm, even if aided by a torsion bar suspension (a solution that would be taken up in F1 only 10 years later) the M188 did not perform and was badly suited to the regular road surfaces. In the first five grands prix the M188 counted three retirements, three did not qualify (Monte Carlo, Mexico and Canada) with Adrian Campos and barely a sixteenth place and eleventh place twice. These results brought about the dismissal of the Spaniard who was replaced precisely by Martini on the occasion of the USA Gp.

The poor results brought a technical revolution with the departure of Caliri whose functions were entrusted to a team of young engineers led by Aldo Costa, Gabriele Tredozi, Tommaso Carletti and Vincenzo Emiliani, the latter charged with redesigning the traditional suspension with helical wheels which, thanks to its geometry, hinged more effectively to the chassis making everything more rigid and improved the behaviour of the car. The lengthening of the wheel base contributed to making the racing car more stable and improving above all the aerodynamic flow. Finally, starting with the Italian Gp, a dynamic dome was adopted to increase the flow of air to the engine.

All these improvements ensured that the racing car achieved better overall performance of a total of about 3 seconds and achieved 7th place in Australia, 8th in Portugal and 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship