Gian Carlo Minardi: “The loss of Formula 1 is not low noise”

We have left behind only two of the nineteen Grand Prix of the current Formula 1 season, characterized by an epochal change, and we’re almost ready for the third weekend on Bahrain track.

In this beginning of season, we’ve heard and read many – maybe too many – criticisms about this new F1, which is said to have distanced the fans, with a consequent audience reduction, accusing for these damages the new and too silent power units and Technical Regulations.

On the contrary, Gian Carlo Minardi believes problems are coming mainly from other areas: “F1 has undertaken a hard and upward path: maybe too many novelties have been put together too quickly, but I’m sure it will be able to please us soon with great satisfaction. In the first two races we have seen a “compaction” of performances, with as many as 12-13 cars in 1’’. This is extremely positive from a technical perspective, in particular if we think that in Bahrain tests the teams accused a lot of problems”, the Faenza manager comments on “In the course of the next GPs, what now is defined as ‘boredom’ will turn into exciting races”.

Let’s not forget that Formula 1 has always been the highest motoring expression, in which technologies have been then applied into standard cars. “The world has taken a direction and issues like noise pollution and energy saving are themes of the present. Thanks to the resources made available by the Circus, new solutions might be quickly developed. For instance, in Italy all racetracks have to fight against the laws on noise pollution, which limit the activity on the track”, Minardi continues. “I’ve heard in these days that enthusiasts have taken a distance from F1 because the cars don’t make noise anymore. But are we really sure that the problem is the rumble of V6 Turbo? Out of the millions of spectators that have watched the GPs all over the World on Sundays, the ones with a possible right of complaining would have been the fans present at Albert Park and Sepang. All the others have watched the races on the TV”.

With his longstanding experience, Minardi has very clear ideas. “Instead of judging on mere intent, insiders and specialists should concentrate on serious elements such as penalties, their management by FIA and the subjectivity of decision makers. Penalties are the loss of Formula 1. Decisions taken against Magnussen, in particular, and Ricciardo, scare me and damage the F1 environment. Keeping this path, they’ll cancel those possible duels that have been part of the races’ DNA and have contributed to write the history of this sport, besides making the fans falling in love. With present parameters, legendary duels such as Villeneuve-Arnoux (Dijon, 1979) or Piquet-Senna in Hungary would be unconceivable.

Last Sunday, McLaren was heavily penalized for a normal race collision: Raikkonen himself, immediately after the race, admitted he hadn’t understood what happened. We are talking about a hit between a portion of the front right wing and a back wheel. I understand the safety issues, but if we cannot accept this kind of episodes, all we can do is playing with videogames. Regarding Red Bull, sporting delegates have been able to penalize Ricciardo twice – first with a Stop&Go of 10’’ and then with a 10-place Bahrain grid penalty – but he was actually guilty of nothing. The team saw immediately that the wheel wasn’t well-secured and so, before he was back on the track, he was stopped and brought back. Which kind of damage did he create? What scares me more, by the way, is the non-objectivity of delegates in decisions, given the fact that the working team changes at each race. Furthermore, in the same Grand Prix, no decision has been taken regarding Vettel’s behaviour, who squeezed in Nico Rosberg: this was actually a situation of danger”.

The manager from Faenza tries to give his solution to bring the show back and keep the fans close to F1. “FIA has to make a quick intervention, choosing a unique working team which has to be the same for all races. In this way, unpleasant episodes – conditioning the result of the race with non-homogeneous decisions – would quickly be avoided”, Minardi concludes. “And also: let’s not deprive drivers of the emotion of trying a braking at the limit, for the fear of being handed a penalty”.