After Team Principal (Gian Carlo Minardi) and Engineer (Gabriele Tredozi) we could not miss the Driver Pierluigi Martini, the hero who gave the Minardi Team its first world championship point at Detroit 1988 and its first front row at Phoenix 1990 with the second fastest time behind Berger’s McLaren, together with many other important results that became part of the history of the team from Faenza such as fifth place at Silverstone and Estoril, the fourth place in qualifying in Spain and the third fastest time in Australia – with starting grids made up of 27 cars – behind the McLarens of Senna and Prost and in front of Nannini’s Benetton finishing in the points with sixth place, the fourth places set in 1991 at Monte Carlo and Estoril with the Ferrari powered Minardi and the fifth places at Montmelò and Magny-Cours and racing in more than 100 grands prix.
“Detroit ’88 changed my life as a driver but it was just as important for the team. When the call came from Gian Carlo I was racing in F3000. I will never forget that weekend. The M188 was a car so difficult and demanding to drive that the steering wheel had taken away the fingertips from both hands. I finished the race on the strength of desperation. After 23 laps I was in fifth position and when I read on the board on the wall that there were still 40 more laps I didn’t want to believe it but I gritted my teeth. The car, nicknamed the Camel, jolted every time it disconnected from the asphalt and I struggled more to keep it on the road in the straight than in the curves. This was due to the configuration chosen by Caliri,” remembered Pierluigi Martini with satisfaction.
“Minardi chose the strategy of not changing tyres and I crossed the finish line on the canvasses. In the end I also touched the guardrail but luckily I did not break the car. It was our perfect day.”
“Phoenix ’90 was the other great day, with the Minardi on the front row for the first and only time in its history. It was a great lap, even if not my best since I made the best lap in Adelaide the year before with the third fastest time behind Senna and Prost and finished the race in sixth place,” continued the driver from the Romagna.
As the engineer Gabriele Tredozi already did, Martini also highlighted the great technical leap between the M188 and the M189 that ran the first races in the 1990 world championship before passing the baton to the M190.
“There was a great abyss between the two cars. The great leap of the M188 came in the summer of the occasion of the Monza Grand Prix when the car was taken up by Aldo Costa and Gabriele Tredozi who totally redesigned the front suspension which let us make up more than 2” per lap. Previously the M188 jumped on the valleys like crazy. The M189 was the car that gave us the best results, despite the cooling problems that were resolved after the Silverstone Grand Prix.”
Pierluigi Martini concluded his memories with the important result achieved, together with Sala, in the 1989 grand prix at Silverstone, “That weekend was our salvation because, thanks to the fifth and sixth places, we managed to avoid the trap of prequalifying. In the first lap I came back into the pits because the temperatures were once again very high but then, luckily, the problem was solved and that allowed us another incredible comeback”