Tag Archives: Minardi

The POINT by Minardi

F1 – GP  Abu Dhabi: THE POINT…by Gian Carlo Minardi…

We saw an exciting GP, with the 4 World Champions occupying the first four places. Fernando Alonso ran a good race; once again the Spaniard was able to make the best use of his car’ s potential; Raikkonen finally made it onto the highest step of the podium with his Lotus.

As we pointed out last weeks, Kimi and Hamilton can play the role of killjoys in the Championship, even if, once again, the McLaren Englishman was deceived by the reliability of his car. On the contrary, reliability still supports the “Scuderia” and helped the Italian team to recover from a difficult weekend. Fernando couldn’t do more than he did. He had a very good start and the strategy was characterized by a lower down-force. The Spaniard was very good in managing the car since the beginning, with the car filled up with petrol. He didn’t make any mistake and the laps he ran looked like “qualifying laps”. He made three points up, which is so important with the racing season coming to an end. He finished second, behind a very performing Raikkonen who scored the 18th good result to preserve the third place in the standing. A good performance also for Sebastian Vettel who, after a big mistake made by his team ( or made by the engine supplier), was able to recover, supported by a very performing Red Bull, but also by luck. Thanks to the safety car two re-starts, the German driver was able to recover from his pit-lane start and managed to finish third. If he had pitted one lap later, everything would have changed. What is more, some cars which were just ahead of him and could have hindered him, got off the race. Therefore, we don’t have to forget the alliance with the “Scuderia Toro Rosso” who made overtaking easier for him.

The closing stages will be exciting, with two drivers technically in the world championship battle. For sure, Fernando will have to make no mistakes and will rely on other drivers’ mistakes. The two Red Bull were weak under pressure. The English-Austrian team has a better  car, but, as far as reliability and team management are concerned, it is second to the Ferrari cars. The Ferrari had many problems in bringing tyres to the right temperature. In re-start and qualifying, the Ferrari gives something to rivals, but later it was able to set some fastest laps In the last lap the Italian car was overreached by Vettel on soft tyres.

We missed the two second leaders, Webber and Massa. The Australian had a messy start and wasn’t able to recover. The Brazilian made a mistake after a clash with the Red Bull driver. He didn’t have enough sangfroid to manage the situation. Webber should have left that position to the Brazilian to avoid penalty. He could have given Vettel a rough ride , as well.

One more disappointing race for Mercedes, out of the score zone, while Williams, Sauber and Force India ran a very good race. Despite a KERS problem, Maldonado ran a very good race. Senna was involved in an accident during the first laps, so he dropped to the bottom of the standing. Unfortunately Perez made some mistakes because of which the team didn’t score important points.

The next two races will be hard to foresee. Drivers will play it hard until the end and those out of the championship battle will act as the balance of power. 

Gian Carlo Minardi

Italian F3


15 days that are so hard to forget for Nicholas Latifi. After a powerfully gained second place in Imola, the young Italo-Canadian driver got up to the highest step of the podium, scoring the first win of the season.

This is a noteworthy result achieved at the end of a sprint race he ran as a leader from the very beginning to the end. He didn’t make any mistake and showed all his great sangfroid in handling the race in a clear-headed way since the depart from the pole.  Even during the trickiest moment of the race, he was able to maintain a very good pace, just as it happened when the safety car got off the track and the race restarted.

That was a brand new situation for the JD Motorsport team driver who was able to face it in the best way, keeping the other drivers bottled up behind him.

We don’t have to forget that this is the very first season for Latifi behind the wheel of a Formula car, after beginning his young career in the Canadian karting. It took only five months for him to get up to the highest step of the podium, scoring a win on Sunday afternoon which marked the end of the seventh race, the second last one of the Italian F.3 European Series, valid also for the tricolour series.

Thanks to the win scored at Vallelunga, Nicholas preserves his 4th place inside the rookie standing and the 7th place inside the Tricolour and European Series’ general standings.

NICHOLAS LATIFI: “This weekend in Vallelunga was probably one of the toughest race weekends for me so far. We were struggling throughout all the sessions to get the car dialled in. After qualifying 6th and 9th I was disappointed and knew that the races were not going to be easy. I was pleased to finish 6th in race one, which gave me reverse grid pole for race three, but in race 2, my race ended early after another driver tried to make a pass when there was no room for a pass. I managed to come away with the win in race 3 which felt amazing, as it was my first win, and my teammate Riccardo finished 2nd so it was a great result for the team.”

MICHAEL LATIFI (Nicholas’ father): “ I’m very satisfied with Nicholas’ race. This win is the result of a great job. Over these months Nicholas has demonstrated his continued progression throughout the races. Coming straight out from karting, we knew that It was not going to be easy , even because he has competed with much more experienced drivers. This win must be a starting point to continue to develop and improve. Now we would like to end the season, gaining another important result in Monza .”

DAVID TENNYSON: “ Nicholas has continually demonstrated his immense driving and racing skills this entire 2012 racing season. Coming straight out of karts and into F3   was a true challenge and I am more than impressed by his progression this
season.  We set realistic goals all year and focused on developing his understanding of the car and how to work with his engineer to optimize car   setup and performance.  The win on Sunday was truly impressive as he  maintained his composure all race and never put a wheel wrong.  The JD team were also flawless in car preparation and professionalism.

GIOVANNI MINARDI: “ First of all I’d like to congratulate Nicholas who, with this win, has reached  the goal he was longing for a long time. I’m sure this is only a starting point and a great boost of confidence to get into the final race in Monza . I’d like also to congratulate the staff who supports  and looks after Nicholas.”

The Point… by Minardi

F1 – Gp  Hungary : THE POINT…by Gian Carlo Minardi

For the first time from the beginning of the season the Gp we saw  in Budapest wasn’t as exciting as the other ones. Everything was so predictable, only two or three overtakings were really dominant, just like the one handled by Alonso on Raikkonen at the beginning of the race, which probably denied the Finn to score a win and the one handled by Maldonado, which cost him a penalty. I think we’re going too far! We want drivers to overtake but even after a slight clash, they are penalised. I think FIA is exaggerating.

Everybody knows that it would have been a difficult week-end for Ferrari and I think that Sunday results represent the current strength of the teams. Once again the Spaniard set his fastest lap at the end of the race, showing a great determination in defending a 5th place, getting the gap down over his direct rivals.

So he can go on vacation after scoring 40 points which are a great success both to him and the Ferrari. But they won’t have to rest on their laurels and there is still much to do. The “family” fight between Red Bull drivers could be a weapon to his benefit, just like Lotus competitiveness and the return of the McLaren. In Budapest we saw an amazing Lotus. If it handles good qualification, it will point straight to victory. We saw also a very good Raikkonen who is constantly in the score zone. Unfortunately they paid off the lack of experience of the pit wall and Grosjean. Spa and Monza will be really decisive, so the second part of the season is expected to be hot and full of suspense.

In the constructors’ World Championship Red Bull is still the group leader, but it hasn’t been flawless. Their performance level was lower than the one of McLaren and Lotus. Webber himself didn’t manage to attack a superb Bruno Senna. Maybe the technical development bordering on the regulations, is having a bad influence on the development itself. The amendments made for the German Gp gave a turn to McLaren and Lewis Hamilton, even if the zero points scored keep him far away from the lead. If the English team maintains top positions, it would be a great help to Ferrari, who is still missing Massa ’s contribution.

The Williams’ Brazilian driver Senna handled a very good race and was competitive throughout the week-end. The Hungaroring’s layout brought out his handling of the car and his clean driving style. He was good and handled a good race till the end. In comparison with seven days ago, the two Saubers didn’t handle a good race, this was just because of an extreme strategy which didn’t pay off. Mercedes hadn’t a good week-end as well. Thanks to Rosberg the team scored one point but unfortunately it can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel with Schumacher.

During this month off teams have the opportunity to set the last improvements. On a technical and fast track like the one in Spa, Lotus is a favorite car because it can make a difference in fast corners

Gian Carlo Minardi

THE POINT…Gian Carlo Minardi

The Gp in Hockenheim was really amazing, so was Fernando Alonso, who made a  masterpiece, especially on the last 20 laps.

His lap time was constantly under 1’20” and his way of driving was very aggressive. The Ferrari is getting more and more competitive and shows it can run a very quick race on every weather condition, narrowing the gap with Red Bull. Three world champions fought for a win on the edge of tenths and the time gap between them was only 2.6 seconds. This means that this season is so hard-won and competitive. They must stay focused until the end for not giving anything to rivals. Each grant will be paid off. Car development will be very important and Ferrari team is proving to be good in this area. They feel also easy at pit stops and the work on different areas begins to pay off.

This is a Ferrari vs Red Bull struggle and Fernando Alonso is fighting alone against Vettel and Webber. Massa had to pay for a negative qualifying result. When a driver starts from a middle row, the risk of clashing is so high, especially in a circuit like this, where a L-shaped corner follows a long straight stretch. Button performances now are as good as the ones at the beginning of the season, this is because he’s behind the wheel of  a restored McLaren. Unfortunately Hamilton was very unlucky. Sebastian Vettel was very nervous, this was reflected by a risky overtaking at the expense of Button. I think officials decision was right because the Englishman was in trouble so he could have waited. The carelessness he committed was not worthy of a world champion. In this way he made an important gift to Fernando.

We’re just in the middle of the race season, so many races still have to be run and many scores have to be won, but fights between drivers and outsiders can be an ace for Fernando’s benefit; the Spaniard’s advantage over Webber is 34 points. As shown by his overtaking on Vettel, Hamilton won’t give up…. Lotus itself could accidentally be a weapon for the Spaniard’s benefit, but next Sunday race is unpredictable.   Kimi performances were not so constant and he was in trouble with hard tyres. Despite everything, including Grosjean mistakes, they’ve just one point less than McLaren.

Awesome race for Sauber. The car performances are getting better and better as shown by a good 5th and 6th place, got up to 4th thanks to Vettel penalty.

In a week drivers will run again in Hungary , where the track is medium-slow, so qualifying and strategy will be crucial. After the summer break Gp will be at Spa and Monza circuits. Those tracks are so important for the final part of the Championship.

Gian Carlo Minardi

F1Weekly podcast # 588

F1weekly podcast number 588 the British GP review with Clark and Nasir. –

The ACI-CSAI and the FDA give a new project focused on young drivers the go-ahead-

Last weekend meeting at the “ Marco Simoncelli” Misano World Circuit was not only a turning point for the the Italian Formula ACI CSAI Abarth and Formula 3 European Series Championships,  but also a great hall for the new project planned by ACI CSAI and the Ferrari Driver Academy in order to support young drivers.

During last Thursday’s collective tests, along with more experienced Formula Abarth drivers, also Antonio Fuoco and Federico Pezzolla, the two kart drivers selected last year by FDA, ACI CSAI and the Federation School, got on track behind the wheel of the two Tatuus FA provided by the Federation itself.

Both Fuoco and Pezzolla competed with the official drivers of the series, running an amazing test session.

“ The one in Misano was the first of four meetings in which even the two cars of the Federation, driven by the three finalists of the Supercorso and by those young drivers selected during the five races of the Italian kart Championship, will be involved ”, says Gian Carlo Minardi, the ACSI-CSAI young driver programme organizer “ A driver is selected by the FDA, so is Antonio Fuoco, while the other one is selected by the Federation School in collaboration with ACI-CSAI, this is the case of Federico Pezzolla. This is a very interesting solution as it gives national fame drivers a chance of exposure during a race week end, driving a training car such as the Tatuus on very important tracks.

Fuoco was able to place among the first positions in qualifying, missing the pole for just few tenths. Very good debut also for Pezzolla, for whom that was the first race weekened behind the wheel of a Tatuus. While Fuoco had already driven that car during winter tests, Federico had only attended the Federation course in order to get a license. Next meeting will take place in Imola and will be followed by Vallelunga and Monza , where only the fastest driver will race. We’re trying to improve step by step and, as a Federation, we’re also trying to find some institutional sponsors who can give us the possibility of supporting young racers”, says also the manager from Faenza .


Formula One

F1 – Gp Silverstone: THE POINT…by Gian Carlo Minardi

Another amazing week-end for Ferrari, even if Red Bull’s car was the best on track. The Spaniard of Ferrari team scored important points and I think he did his best in qualifying. In fact he was the leader throughout the race and his standing is getting more and more interesting.  

With his second place, he has taken great advantage over Vettel and Hamilton, who were considered as the two most favourite drivers at the beginning of the season. But, at this point of the season Webber’s position is getting more and more dangerous. With a second win, the Australian driver  is the third pretender to the title. Once again the win is not as obvious as expected  after qualifying results.

The Ferrari knows that much work still has to be done and, just before the sabbatical month, the team will have to play two other important races as the German and the Hungarian ones. Then, an incredible tour-de-force will begin. For this reason it’s extremely important to maintain a leadership and score points. With the English race, the team from Maranello has obtained his second position in the standing, thanks also to Felipe Massa’s performance who marked his best placing of the season.

In my opinion Lotus is a team we should keep an eye on, because they have again demonstrated they can rely on a competitive car. Unfortunately, once again they’ve missed a chance to put into practice their potential. The team has heavily paid Grosjean’ mistakes, while Raikkonen’s return on track is really positive, even if he need to regain the enamel. They’re so reliable and stable on lap time. If they work to improve strategy, they’ll soon score a win.

I can hardly explain the difficult condition of McLaren team.  At the beginning of the season they were among the favourites, while Button is always in the lowest positions and Hamilton can hardly score points. With a view to the race in Hockenheim, the team is expected to take a great step forward. Maybe they’ve picked out the car’s weakness. Time after time they’ve lost important points and, at this point of the season, they can only rely on Hamilton . Talking about Mercedes, both Schumacher and Rosberg have obtained the maximum. Unfortunately, they still suffer an excessive tyres consumption on track, while they get by in qualifying.

Just few words about the accident in which Maldonado and Perez were involved. The driver from Venezuela often has been among the first on track and, even this time he was just next to succeed. The lack of experience and impetuosity will be heavily paid. What a pity for Williams who definitely deserves more.