Melbourne – when the small Minardi Team finished ahead of Toyota
While F1 teams are getting ready to switch on their V6 turbo engines to take part in the first event of the 2014 F1 World Championship to take place at the Melbourne circuit, we would like to recall the past and, to be more precise, the beginning of the 21st century, when, in 2002, a then-rookie driver Mark Webber gave the Minardi Team a fifth-place finish in the opening race.
“I remember that day with pleasure and I’m pleased to see Mark attending the Melbourne round as a spectator”, says Gian Carlo Minardi, “Congratulations to him for his bright career and good luck for his new challenge in the FIA WEC World Championship. He has made his return to covered wheel competitions, where his motorsport career started from.”
Thanks to Mark Webber’s 5th place, the Faenza-based team started the season by scoring 2 points which allow them to end the season ahead of a giant the likes of Toyota “Unlike today, at that time only the top six scored points. To score 2 points in the opening race meant to have some protection against unexpected surprises. To get a top-six finish was something extraordinary, as you had the chance to leave your mark in the standing. On that occasion Mark finished ahead of Toyota. Thanks to that amazing result, we managed to end the season at the 9th place, just ahead of the motorsport giant from Cologne…..Not a bad start for a small team”, continues the Faenza-born manager.
Melbourne was also the place where a certain Fernando Alonso made his debut in the Formula 1 World Championship, alongside the Minardi Team “Our adventure with Fernando started in 2001. During that season Nando showed up his talent by getting several top-ten finishes. According to the current point system, he would have finished in the zone points. We’ve been honoured to have brought to the top series a driver who is playing a very important role in the history of motorsport”, ends the President of the ACI-CSAI Speed Commission.