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Minardi calls on FIA to mandate reserves in Friday practice

Former F1 team owner Giancarlo Minardi believes the FIA should do more to help up-and-coming drivers reach the top flight.
Giancarlo Minardi has called on motorsport's governing body to act in the interests of rising talent as the bottleneck created by F1's stagnating line-up causes those ascending the ladder to the top flight to look elsewhere.

Although there is still a gradual turnover over names on the grand prix grid, former team owner Minardi is concerned that the FIA appears to be doing little to bring on young drivers, especially when it comes to giving them a chance to acclimatise to F1's particular idiosyncrasies. While noting that the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Paul di Resta and Jaime Alguersuari have all be afforded the chance to step up to the top flight in recent years, the Spaniard was forced to do so during the first year in which in-season testing was outlawed, while the other three had to grab precious free practice outings with the likes of BMW and Force India.

While the chance to run a third driver in one of Friday's F1 sessions remains, few teams appear keen to take advantage of it - Team Lotus, Force India and Toro Rosso are the most eager - but Minardi believes that that could change if the FIA intervened.

“Thanks to the preparatory championships, the boys now get ready for the leap and their young age allows them to easily adapt to the methods of F1," the Italian noted, "But we must give them the opportunity to compete and create healthy competition with those who are already there.

"The results of Vettel, Kubica, di Resta and Alguersuari are under everybody's eyes and the FIA should take account of this before all the work that has been done from when they were racing karts becomes absolutely useless.

"My recipe is very simple: force all teams to use a young driver during the first session on Friday morning. Today, some teams do so only out of necessity, but imposing it as a fixed rule means we could have twelve rookies on track at the same time. In this way, the choices of some teams will not be dictated by the budgets brought as a dowry, but by using drivers from the prized list."

Although the matter of in-season testing, potentially in the form of one or more 'young driver' tests, has been raised in recent weeks, and is backed by FIA president Jean Todt, Minardi believes that regular outings for rising talent could lead to a greater turnover on the F1 grid.

"A team that has in its hands a young talent will think twice before renewing the contract of a pilot at an advanced age. Today, the average age is rising because the teams are afraid to invest in a young driver who is unable to test and is faced with many unknowns. At that point, the balance leans toward the experience.“

Third driver opportunities in 2011 have not always been afforded to up-and-coming pilots, with former HRT racer Karun Chandhok getting several outings with Team Lotus, but the likes of Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia have both also been considered by the Norfolk-based operation. While Chandhok enjoyed a brief return to the F1 grid while replacing veteran Jarno Trulli in Germany, the biggest 'success' of the season has been Daniel Ricciardo, although the Australian was 'placed' at HRT by Red Bull after impressing in his regular outings with Toro Rosso, rather than being called up by his original team. Nico Hulkenberg, meanwhile, appears at every race with Force India, and the former Williams racer is heavily tipped to return to the F1 field in 2012.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
20.10.2006 Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Test Driver, BMW Sauber F1 Team, F1.06 - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Friday Practice
Robert Kubica - Renault

Paul di Resta (GBR), Test Driver, Force India F1 Team
23.07.2011- Saturday Practice, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11
08.07.2011- Friday Practice 1, Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Force India F1 Team, Test Driver
08.03.2011- Davide Valsecchi (ITA), Test Driver, Team Lotus, TL11
27.04.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
27.04.2017 - Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 Third Driver
27.04.2017 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
27.04.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
27.04.2017 - Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
27.04.2017 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
27.04.2017 - Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
27.04.2017 - Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 Third Driver
27.04.2017 - Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 Third Driver
27.04.2017 - Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
27.04.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
27.04.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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ferret .

August 24, 2011 11:41 AM

I miss the old Minardi team. Some good talent has started out in Minardi in their days. Despite being tail enders on the grid, they worked even harder than the top teams to be in the sport. Okay alot of drivers had to pay for a seat in the team due to financial reasons, but at least a driver got the chance with the team, even if they were a tail end of the grid! Remember Minardi scoring a point was like a race win to them, and the money they got from a single point paid for their logistics for a whole season at the time. Would love to see Minardi Name come back to Formula one!

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