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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi


This weekend will also see the second round of the FIA WEC, which will stop in Italy at Imola’s Circuit.

For the first time the World Endurance Championship makes a stop in Imola, fifty years after the Mille Chilometri (Thousand kilometres) of Imola race. We are satisfied with advance sales, despite the current uncertain weather. It is important to show the organizers of the World Championship is of interest to the Italian public. We are talking about a calendar of eight rounds and many nations aspire to host it. It is an honour for us.

We are talking about a starting grid of the highest level, made up of 14 car manufacturers, 18e LMGT3 and 19 Hypercars, and the spectacle will certainly not be lacking, starting from Friday. Let us not forget that with the ticket you can go all around the circuit to see the cars in action in all the sectors of the track. In 6 hours of racing (start at 1.00pm) there will be fun to be had.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Imola.

Gian Carlo Minardi


Formula 1 returns to Shanghai after an absence of five years. It practically starts from scratch.

This is why I find myself in line with the drivers who are complaining – Verstappen first and foremost – about the decision to schedule the Sprint race (scheduled for 5.00am on Saturday) precisely in China, with barely an hour of free practice available before the qualifying for the Sprint (starting from 9.30 Friday)

Compared to the last edition we have completely different cars, tyre with 18” rims and asphalt subject to precision grinding, shot peening and sealing to eliminate the unevenness that has developed over time. A further unknown factor. In addition, some drivers do not know it at all.

On the compounds front, Pirelli has brought the C2 (Hard), C3 (Medium) and C4 (Soft compounds). In particular, the front left tyre will be particularly stressed on a track that has two very long straights and significant braking.

Red Bull remains the car to beat, but there could be some variables in the rear. This year there is a clear divide between the top five teams (Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Aston Martin) and the rest of the grid. One person under special observation in Racing Bulls will certainly be Daniel Ricciardo. He must try to come out of his anonymity, to safeguard his past, and above all to help the team to keep sixth place. Tsunoda alone (excellent in this start of the season) is not enough.

As is normal when we move towards the end of a cycle, we are faced with many negotiations behind the scenes, especially with an eye to 2026, which interests the drivers and especially the technicians and the engineers.

WEC. In addition to Formula 1, this weekend will also see the second round of the FIA WEC, which will stop in Italy at Imola’s Circuit.

For the first time the World Endurance Championship makes a stop in Imola, fifty years after the Mille Chilometri (Thousand kilometres) of Imola race. We are satisfied with advance sales, despite the current uncertain weather. It is important to show the organizers of the World Championship is of interest to the Italian public. We are talking about a calendar of eight rounds and many nations aspire to host it. It is an honour for us.

We are talking about a starting grid of the highest level, made up of 14 car manufacturers, including the LMGT3 and Hypercars, and the spectacle will certainly not be lacking, starting from Friday. Let us not forget that with the ticket you can go all around the circuit to see the cars in action in all the sectors of the track. In 6 hours of racing (start at 1.00pm) there will be fun to be had.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Imola.

Gian Carlo Minardi


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

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

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

However, a consideration must be made.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi


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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi


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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi


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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi

Ph @F1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gian Carlo Minardi


ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 26: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 performs donuts on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

We have come to the end of this very long season with another win for Max Verstappen (the 19th in 22 GPs) who “left” only two races for Sergio Perez and one for Carlos Sainz. The Dutchman took home the race’s fastest lap, and also set the record for the number of laps in the lead in a season (1,000).

Red Bul’s supremacy has been incredible. The sum of all the points taken by Mercedes and Ferrari does not reach the 860 points of Verstappen-Perez.

Until the final lap Mercedes and Ferrari fought for the title of vice-champion with Charles Leclerc (second) who tried everything. He really could not do more than that. Unfortunately, Sainz, whose weekend was affected by Friday’s mistake, was missing.

We saw a race without the entry of the safety-car which drew up the forces in the field this season. The gap of barely 17” between Verstappen and Leclerc could let us hope well for next season and can be read positively. Behind him there were three constructors enclosed within a gap of a few seconds. We know with certainty that some time ago Red Bull stopped the development of the car to concentrate on the new “weapon” which the rumours say is another step forward compared to the “RB19”… Faced with this rumour, but above all with the best organized team with the best technician, it is almost impossible to make forecasts.

Certainly, behind them we have a great turnover of performances with Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston Martin setting themselves up as the world championship’s second force. In the end, Mercedes prevailed over Ferrari, with McLaren finishing ahead of Aston Martin.

We are quickly approaching 2024 which will see an even more demanding calendar with 24 GPs. It will begin as soon as Tuesday with the end of season tests in which the teams will take to the track a first-string driver beside a young driver. We have already had a first taste during the first session of free practice with the teams which put up ten young drivers with interesting results.

It will be a long winter not only for the teams, but also for the Federation and Liberty Media which must review some regulations to avoid these continual changes, as well as carefully analysing the penalties, some very dubious, such as the last one given to Perez.

Gian Carlo Minardi
@credit F1.com


Forty-one years later Las Vegas once again hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix on a totally new circuit in both location and layout. A track that lived up to expectations by giving us an exciting race full of overtaking and duels in which the drivers certainly did not hold back.

An eventful initial phase: Verstappen (starting second next to poleman Leclerc) came wide receiving a 5” second penalty; Fernando Alonso spun and struck Lewis Hamilton forcing him to both a pit-stop and a nice comeback.

As it was easy to predict, the safety-car made the difference, especially on the second entrance during the 26th lap with some drivers having already made their stop. One of these was precisely Charles Leclerc who crossed the finish line with the tyres worn more having covered 5 laps more than Verstappen and Perez. The two Red Bull drivers had made their pit-stops precisely in the regime of the SC.

It was a last lap to be applauded by Leclerc who “snatched” second place from Sergio Perez also setting his best performance. It was a result that meant a lot for the driver from Monte Carlo, and also for Ferrari which reduced the gap from Mercedes to only four points. Ferrari completed the weekend with sixth place for Carlos Sainz, he too the author of a nice comeback after a penalty that I did not find very correct, starting from twelfth place on the grid after having finished qualifying behind his team-mate.

Once again, the track, in conditions with little grip and very fast, Ferrari managed to defend a fantastic pole position and second place behind the elusive Verstappen who scored his eighteenth win in twenty-one starts. For the first time, in addition to the title Red Bull placed both drivers in first and second place in the driver’s title.

It was an excellent race also by Esteban Ocon, fourth across the finish line, he too “victim” of the manhole cover and protagonist of a nice comeback from seventeenth place on the grid. From nineteenth place on the grid to tenth place for Oscar Piastri who was penalized by the tyre change. After two stints with the “whites” he had to mount the yellows in the final laps losing a few positions (partially recovered).

Nice comebacks also by Fernando Alonso (9°) and Lewis Hamilton (seventh) despite the initial pit-stop, with the Aston Martin taking 5° place with Lance Stroll.

The Las Vegas Circuit exceeded all expectations, despite an uphill start with problems during free practice which certainly conditioned the weekend of Sainz and Ocon. As always, in the case of new developments, the evaluations will be made at the end of the event. If, on the one hand, the show can be questionable (this is subjective), the circuit demonstrated that it is valid, giving us a lot of overtaking, duels and braking.

We are heading to Abu Dhabi with a hard-fought fight between Mercedes and Ferrari for second place and between Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz tied on 400 points each for fourth place. It is also an open battle between McLaren and Aston Martin for fourth place. The team led by Mike Krack reduced the gap to sixteen points.

Gian Carlo Minardi

@credit F1.com