Gian Carlo Minardi: “ The best car got the better of the best team”

The Brazilian GP marked the end of one of the most exciting World Championship in the history of F1, not only for the open fight till the very last second, but also for the role of outsiders, who had a great influence on final result and were podium contenders till the end. Gian Carlo Minardi, interview by website took stock of the past season, analyzing also the Italian F3 and the Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth exciting racing season.
The Brazilian GP marked the end of one of the most exciting world championship in the history of F1.
During the racing season recently concluded, drivers fought till the end and the fight went on even after FIA and Ferrari clarified the “yellow flags” issue. Anyway, the best car got the better of the best team.
Red Bull and McLaren experienced highs and lows throughout the racing season, while Ferrari was the most consistent team.
If we analyze the whole season, we can say that Red Bull had a hard beginning because of tyres issues, but it soon recovered and, together with Vettel, they became a winning combination. Even in the future, it will be the car to beat, but, to the rivals benefit, its Achilles’ heel is reliability, along with driver management and pit-stops.
It is hard for me to judge McLaren, though. It was the most competitive team on hard and medium tyres. The seven wins scored by the English team were strictly linked to these two compounds. Maybe they didn’t handle some internal issues at their best and the diatribe between Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton was trigged since the beginning of the racing season. They had the power to cause problems for the champions, but, because of some inner issues, pit-stop mistakes and unreliability, they didn’t manage to take advantage of their potential.
Ferrari fought for the world title with a non-competitive car, so far from being a leader. The team was able to recover from a hard time, thanks to a brilliant Fernando Alonso who contested his best racing season. Talking about development, the Italian team arrived in Monza having a “borderline” car and contested a defensive second half of the season. In spite of everything, they were able to get a second place finish in the world championship, with a 3-point-gap from the world champion. As far as reliability is concerned, they were the best, while their technical level is, in my opinion, lower than the one of Red Bull and McLaren. The sore point is that Alonso scored no point at Spa and Suzuka because of external causes, while Vettel withdrawals are due to technical issues.
Said that, the last race was like a lottery game, followed by an aftermath. I can hardly understand the reason why Ferrari didn’t ask for an explanation during the race.
What is Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari strong point?
Talking about Red Bull, I would say Adrian Newey, while Ferrari has reliability at its side. The engineer of genius demonstrated to be skilful not only at designing aerodynamics, but also at managing and organising the team. In Brazil, just few minutes after an accident had occurred, they had all damages to Vettel’s car printed out. This feature is also meaningful. We can suppose they could have had many real-time images about tyres consumption and car’ features at their disposal during the race.Thanks to the reliability of its car, Ferrari was able to fight for the world title till the end, scoring important points even in unexpected moments. McLaren scored as many victories as Red Bull, but some pit-stop mistakes and unreliability ruined a season which was successful from a technical point of view. Their strong points were aerodynamics and an optimal management of medium and hard tyres, thanks to which they got good results.
What is the feature the three teams should improve?
Red Bull should work on reliability and on a non-perfect team management.
Ferrari should improve aerodynamics and coordination between team divisions.
McLaren= reliability and internal management issues. We should not underestimate Hamilton’s decision to leave the team while he was still in play for the World Championship.
..Second-tier teams made the final result even more exciting and uncertain.
As I had already pointed out several times during the season, outsiders played a decisive role in the Championship. Alonso lost the title finishing behind two drivers like Maldonado and Raikkonen who were not expected to be two race winners, at the beginning. Maldonado scored a victory in Spain and Raikkonen won the GP in Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes should forget this racing season, instead…..
Mercedes is incomprehensive. They had a great beginning of season, scoring a win in China. Then, they gradually disappeared because of tyres issues. The team is a 2012 racing season big disappointment.
Starting from March 2013, F1 will be broadcasted on SKY. Will the audience get down?
We should wait for the complete TV schedule, as negotiations are still in progress. RAI cannot do without F1 for sure and I think that, if the F1 World Championship will be broadcasted only on SKY, audience will get down and down. In fact, RAI subscribers are millions, while SKY subscribers are only thousands. As a consequence, the two channels will come to a compromise in order to allow Italian spectators to enjoy the show.
Italian drivers did not take part in the most exciting championship. What are 2013 outlooks?
I can hardly imagine some changes for the future racing season. There are drivers like Valsecchi, who, besides winning the GP2 Championship, had also an excellent performance at Abu Dhabi rookie tests. Team and driver are working to take part in the World Championship, but it won’t be easy at all. Unfortunately, as we already know, abilities are not enough. The financial situation is so troubled and I hope he will find the way to demonstrate his talent.
The 2012 racing season was anyway a good season for Italian drivers. Edoardo Mortara, after contesting the DTM Championship, won a title in Macau, Valsecchi won the GP2 Championship, Filippi had a good GP2 season and Rigon with Ferrari…..
We hope Porsche will be Sauber official engine supplier again and Honda will be McLaren official engine supplier again. Only on this condition, high-level drivers will go back to racing. Otherwise we will continue to have drivers supported by big sponsors or even by countries or continents which use motor sport as an advertising means. Nowadays if you want to be a F1 racer you have to spend 15 millions Euros at least…..We hope that, with all technological advances and regulation amendments, F1 will hold again the interest of those automakers who brought along before.
F1 had an exciting and intense racing season, but so did Italian F.ACI-CSAI Abarth and F3 Championships.
As an ACI advisor, I have to pay attention to what happens in the world of car racing. I think to be objective when I say that both Italian F.3 and F.ACI-CSAI Abarth Championships are two high-level Championships. All young drivers who experienced those series, then had the opportunity to race in some series which are so close to F1, such as GP3, GP2 and WSR 3.5. Unfortunately our country is undergoing a deep economic crisis, but the greatest satisfaction is to see a talented young driver such as Riccardo Agostini, who previously raced in F.Abarth and F.3, being so competitive during the WSR tests and handling the F1 Ferrari so well. This means that this chain ensures valuable technical upturns. We’re improving year by year and we’ll soon see sport results, as well.
In our Championships there was a lack of Italian drivers but lots of foreign ones.
Italian Championships are extremely competitive and I want to praise foreign drivers as they are disposed to put themselves at stake. We don’t have problems in terms of quality and our drivers are always able to make a good impression in the most important racing series. So, Italian drivers are not inferior to foreign ones, but they have many problems in finding the economic resources to stand out. Unfortunately, it’s a fight against the world, especially when foreign countries use motor sport as an advertising means.