F1 | MINARDI “NIKI leaves us as a Champion, as a great test driver, manager and charismatic man”

Ciao NIKI. Last night we lost not only a Champion and a piece of world automobile history but a great test driver who knew how to make difference in setting up a car when telemetry did not exist, a charismatic man and a successful manager who knew how to make Mercedes great with Toto Wolff.

My memories of Niki are tied especially to his past with Ferrari. I saw him often on the track at the wheel of an F1 car whenever I went to Fiorano.

The Montecarlo Grand Prix now fails into the background but surely Mercedes will want to continue its positive trend by trying to set a new record. Last year’s defeat still hurts and they will want to find quick payback against the menacing Red Bull. Ferrari must deal with the Milton Keynes’ excellent chassis and a determined Verstappen who for a year has not made any mistakes. It will certainly not be easy for Vettel and Leclerc. The mistake in qualifying in Baku by the driver from Monaco will be useful for him in the light of this demanding weekend. I saw him in great form even during the post Barcelona tests and I hope that Ferrari will be able to give him a car to put him into the fight for the top.

We are already in the sixth round. We need positive signs. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be ready to fight it out once again without leaving anything to anyone else.

Gian Carlo Minardi