F1 »

Minardi: Toyota ahead on reliability, Ferrari has work to do

Giancarlo Minardi has suggested that with less than four weeks now to go and few test days remaining ahead of the curtain-raising 2009 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the end of the month, Toyota leads the field on the reliability front – but Ferrari still has some work to do.

It has been difficult to discern just who is where in the pecking order due to the teams having tested simultaneously at two different circuits – Ferrari, BMW-Sauber and Toyota in Bahrain, and McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Red Bull Racing, Williams, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Force India at Jerez in southern Spain.

Former team owner Minardi admits it is tricky to draw any hard conclusions – and will likely remain so until all the cars take to the track at once Down Under. He did, however, admit to having been impressed by the Toyota's durability and the out-of-the-box performance of Adrian Newey's new Red Bull Racing contender.

“Drawing conclusions after these test sessions is never easy,” the Italian wrote in his regular column for minardi.it, “in so much as every team has its own very precise programme to follow and carry out before Australia. What has caught the eye is that everyone seems to be very close in terms of times on the stopwatch, and we will surely have some nice surprises during the season.

“It certainly won't be an easy year, and everyone still has a lot more work to get through. In my opinion we haven't yet seen the cars' full potential – particularly from the aerodynamic point-of-view – because everyone is trying to conceal things so as not to give away any good ideas to the opposition.

“The final fortnight will give us the best indications, and will allow us to gain more information about the real strengths of each team. Reading the interviews, it appears the drivers prefer to have a balanced car, favouring the distribution of ballast to having the use of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) during a grand prix. With KERS not being compulsory yet, they don't want to risk compromising reliability in exchange for a few more horsepower.

“One very significant aspect which proves how devoted the teams are to keeping weight to a minimum is seen by the fact that all of the drivers are trying to lose weight too. They are endeavouring to exploit every loophole in the regulations with the objective of recuperating several tenths.

“On the subject of reliability, we've seen Toyota slightly ahead of its rivals, with Ferrari still needing to take several steps forward. At Jerez the new Red Bull made its entrance too, with some beautiful – visually-speaking – aerodynamic solutions; on paper it is possibly the team that has come up with the most innovative solutions, both on the chassis and also mechanical side. They still have a few reliability issues, but Sebastian Vettel has put in some good times.”

The 61-year-old had words of scepticism, however, regarding the nascent USF1 outfit, due to operate from Charlotte, North Carolina with at the helm erstwhile Ligier and Onyx technical director Ken Anderson and one-time Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor. Minardi is unconvinced the new squad will ever truly see the light of day.

“Sincerely I don't know how realistic an all-American team based in America would be,” he explained, “mainly due to the higher running costs that they would face. The mentality of racing in America is completely different to the European model, and it's the same for our drivers who decide to set off in conquest of the 'new continent'. In my view they (USF1) are simply trying to exploit the space left empty by Honda and the necessity of increasing the number of cars on the grid.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Giancarlo Minardi at the final Minardi test
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13 race winner

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.