F1- Giovanni Minardi “ Top teams can’t afford to make missteps”

giovanni_minardi.jpg'– Sport season has begun. Along with Formula 1, even Italian championships such as Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth and Formula 3 have risen the curtain with the first race on Valencia track.

Waiting for the F1 GP in Bahrein and the Italian series which will take place in Hungary the next 6th of May, we’ve had a chat with the manager from Faenza Mr Giovanni Minardi, who is very busy in following up the young italo-canadian pilot Nicholas Latifi in the Formula 3 European Series and the talented Davide Rigon , the Italian pilot who, with the Monza Blancpain Endurance GT Series race, marked his return to competitions after a terrible accident occurred one year ago in Istanbul: “ First of all I’m very happy to see Davide back to races after a hard year and I’m so satisfied with what he’s done during the week end in Monza. He hasn’t lost his strength and, during qualifications, he’s been so unlucky, because he has twice found red flags on track and, in his best lap, after getting the two best splits, he has been slackened by slower cars in the last sector. On Sunday, despite he had never driven this kind of cars under the rain, he has been the fastest on track. I think his debut has been very good, he just missed the podium. The team should improve the pit-stops. I think that, even in this Championship he will play as a protagonist.”
With the races in Australia, Malaysia and China, Formula 1 World Championship has started. What is your opinion about top teams?
The general level of Formula 1 World Championship is getting higher and higher, that means that not only one team behave like a leader. In the first three races we had three different winners. In China the Mercedes, after showing a great competitiveness in qualifications and some problem during the race, has shown to have found a solution to tyre consumption. From now to the end of the season, we will see an interesting fight. We will soon see Red Bull fighting for the first place as well, just like the Ferrari who, starting from the first races, will run with a B-type car.
We’ve seen higher level performances. How this can affect the fight for title?
This will surely affect that because we have more teams who can strive for the score zone. No doubt they will be the ones who will hold the balance of power. We’ve seen that in Malaysia, with Sauber-Perez second place and in China with the two Williams in the top 10. Than we don’t have to forget Lotus, Force India and Red Bull. From half of the season on, we will also see increasing gaps between the top teams and the others, even if the last ones can bother the former. For sure top teams can’t make mistakes.
As a Minardi, you have often worked with young Italian pilots. How can you explain the lack of Italian pilots in Formula 1?
Unfortunately, this is probably a matter of money. In Italy we have fast and Formula1worthy pilots, but what is important nowadays is money more than talent. Unfortunately in Italy teams, firms and car companies usually don’t spend money for young pilots. Ferrari set up FDA program, we will see the results of this plan only in some years.
This year Minardi Management has updated itself focusing on sport consulting. What led you to take this way?
The market. The budgets needed to race are very high, so it’s very hard nowadays to find resources on the market. Therefore I think it’s very important, both for parents ( who are his first sponsor) and pilot, to rely on a person who deeply knows the surrounding and gives important advices. This is very important, especially if a pilot comes from the world of kart. It’s a one-shot advisory to “enter” the future and, if the pilot grows up, it will probably turn into a management.
Just with the Canadian Nicholas Latifi you have started the new season. What kind of pilot do you think he is and what are your expectations from him?
This is his first season in the world of Formulas after two years and a half in the world of kart, so I expect him to improve within a season. As I’ve seen since first tests, he doesn’t lack talent.
The young boy has passed from kart to Formula 3. What should he work on and what are the obstacles he might have to face?
The gap is quite big and, first of all I think he should have to travel as less as he can in order to be not so tired at important races. He should also work on his physical and mental preparation together with his engineers and carefully learn how to analyse a track. Time is not enough and work is so much.
In Valencia started the Italian Formula Abarth and Formula 3 Championships with 11 cars per series. Is this due to crisis or to other matters?
No doubt this is mainly due to crisis. In this series there is lack of Italian pilots as well, we go back to what I said before. Unfortunately our country is suffering the crisis more than others but I think Federation, teams and we ourselves, who haven’t managed to get more young pilots, can always work better and better.
……what is more in Europe there are a lot of preparatory series (maybe too many). How important is it for a young pilot to make the right choice?
Other series are suffering as well. The choice of championship is very important because it is necessary to spend a lot of money to race, so wasting money is never positive. The choice of Championship and team is the starting point to enter the world of Formula 1 in a fast and good way . This is very important, especially today because the age of pilot is getting down and down and a mistake could be fatal. Since it’s very hard to have a second chance, it is also important to be ready to make a great step forward.
………so it’s basic to be familiar with the surrounding. What are the main aspects to be considered before making a choice?
As far as the Championship is concerned, a pilot should firstly consider his background. What is important is not to be in a hurry, going on step by step and planning all things in advance. We should focus on the performances of the pilot throughout the season and should not be concerned of running the same Championship. Going from a category to another one without having a proper technical knowledge doesn’t help anyone. As far as the choice of a team is concerned it is necessary to know both team’s awards and staff. It is important to know every single person who works in a team (engineers and mechanics).