F1 needs teams like Marussia, says Minardi

2015 F1 season

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Former Formula One team principal Giancarlo Minardi has said the F1 Strategy Group’s decision to block Manor from competing this year using the 2014 Marussia chassis is “absurd”.

Minardi, whose team competed in Formula One between 1985 and 2005, believes F1 will be leaving itself vulnerable if it depends on car manufacturers to provide a small number of teams.

“This situation reminds me of the ’96-’97 seasons,” said Minardi, “when I defended very strongly the importance of small teams.”

“I argued that without teams participating with great passion but limited means – hoping, who knows, to find the right funds for the future – in the last row there would inevitably finite big manufacturers.”

“[This] situation has repeatedly occurred in the 2000s. The manufacturers are not waiting years to grow and achieve positive results; they have commercial and image objectives in the short and tangible consequence of the choices in those years, was that year after year we have lost almost all of them.

Minardi added he hopes the decision to block Marussia from returning as F1’s tenth team can still be overturned.

“I hope that it is not the final decision and that there is room for reasoning. Now as then, this sport needs also all those laboriously take part and hope to find the means for a more glorious sport future.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “F1 needs teams like Marussia, says Minardi”

  1. “The manufacturers are not waiting years to grow and achieve positive results; they have commercial and image objectives in the short and tangible consequence of the choices in those years, was that year after year we have lost almost all of them.”

    Thank you.

    1. Case in point, BMW and Toyota. Their departures amounted to little more than rage quitting in the face of failing to buy their way to championships. Ferrari also fits into the mold despite not bailing, largely due to the political and financial clout they’ve gained over the years.

    2. Carey Cummings
      9th February 2015, 1:51

      F1 should not allow full “works” teams, just engine, or now “Power Unit” manufacturers. Individual teams should remain the chassis constructors. When there is such a great disparity in assets, it can only lead to what we now have. Jordan saw the writing on the wall and cashed out at the right time, Sauber, not so much. But it all leads to the same end: 3 or 4 manufacturers spending $300,000,000 each a year; and when the economy goes south, they pull out, leaving a huge void that now no private team can fill. I suppose like most people here, I always wished to win the lottery and buy at least part of an F1 team, or bail one out in these times, but even if I won a half billion dollars, I wouldn’t even consider it now. It would all go to waste. Manor should go to GP2 and kick ass, instead of being 5 sec a lap slower for the last 5 years. If Sauber or Stewart or any other team that started in the 90s or 2000s had no points after 4 years, they would have folded. So sad to see this happening. My vacation dollars will go to see WEC this year. Le Mans (or Austin)here I come!

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        9th February 2015, 17:30

        +1 with a caveat

        I’m ok with full works team but the distribution of money needs to be totally reversed. Every team competing in F1 should receive winnings at the end of the season for participating. Teams like Mercedes and Red Bull should receive much less money because they are not dedicated outfits and stand to gain more from promotion.

        In my opinion, Williams last year should have made more than Mercedes last year. McLaren should have made as much as Mercedes. Ferrari less than McLaren. That’s the pay structure they should strive for.

        Marussia should have received huge amounts as a backmarker for scoring 1 point this season – huge amounts. If it takes you 4 years to score 1 point, it’s gotta be worth 50 million dollars. There should be a 20% to divide for the backmarkers and that 1 point should have given Marussia 50% of that money.

        1. “Teams like Mercedes and Red Bull should receive much less money because they are not dedicated outfits and stand to gain more from promotion.”

          As much as I despise its leadership at times, I’m on the fence about including Red Bull in that mix. They do have a healthy profit machine outside of F1 that despite being dwarfed by Mercedes’ several times over, may have more liberty in spending money. Yet on the flipside, they aren’t a true works team and thus don’t supplement their income by contracting engines and support to the rest of the grid. Does anyone know the status of their premium contract with Renault? Are they paying for engines or are they in a technical collaboration a la McLaren?

      2. Reminds me of the old saying:

        ‘How do you become a millionaire in Formula 1?’
        ‘Start as a billionaire.’

  2. I don’t see why F1 teams can’t compromise with Manor, and agree maybe they could run their 2014 for 5 races, or something, and say that it isn’t eligible to score points (not that it would get top 10 anyway). Something like that would help, but it all comes down to the prize money.

    People are harsh on Force India, and rightly so, but don’t forget that this would never have occurred if the prize money was fairer.

    1. @strontium I’m also looking at it from the outside… what’s the likelihood Manor/Marussia are able to qualify in the 107% time?

      1. Well, if Marussia’s quickest Jerez time from last year was set this year by Manor, they’d be out 114.1% from Ferrari. It seems nearly impossible that they’d be able to race at all with their old chassis at this point. The Ferrari PU has improved a lot though, and I’m sure that they could qualify at least once. It’d be very lonely for Chilton and co. though. It’s pretty much impossible to judge the margin of improvement at this point, as the Mercedes drivers were obviously sandbagging and Ferrari was going for glory laps. Last year at this time, no one was really pushing, especially Marussia, so any comparisons should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

      2. @beejis60 There is that, but at least if they were there competing then that would be better than not at all.

        I’m not entirely sure of the rules, so do correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that they only need one classified finish to be classified in the championship. Surely one somewhere is just about doable.

        I know it seems pointless but it would be worth a shot for them at least.

        1. @strontium perhaps; I’m not sure about the rules of that. Thought I read somewhere that if they don’t make the first few races, they won’t get 100% of the money they were “promised”.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th February 2015, 17:36

      I think F1 should be delighted that they are trying to race – as opposed to shutting the door. Obviously there is a crisis in F1 and they need to fix it, not make it worse. There should be someone who can overrule rules when they are no longer meaningful or applicable.

  3. Fritz Oosthuizen (@)
    8th February 2015, 17:32

    I have always respected Minardi. I don’t know how he did it. That’s why the STR 2008 Monza showed with extra help everything is possible.

  4. In terms of performance Marussia were actually improving, actually had they been supplied by Mercedes, Marussia would’ve scored many more points. I don’t agree with Mr. Minardi simply because it is unsafe and unfair to the opponents to share the grid with the 2014 Marussia, I hope thought that Manor is able to produce something and keep climbing up the ladder.

    1. How is it unfair and unsafe to have a very similar car in terms of regulations running the same race as the others?

      1. @peartree If there had been big regulation changes affecting car performance where a car from the previous season would have a performance advantage (2008 to 2009 for example) Then I’d get the argument. But a 2014 car is going to be slower than a 2015 car so letting Manor run a 2014 car costs none of the other teams anything.

        Apart from the nose regulations to remove the fingers sticking off the front the only other changes for this year are safety related to improve the front impact bulkheads & would be fairly easy to retrofit into a 2014 car (Which is what Manor have said they plan to do until there full 2015 car is ready).

        Also worth thinking back & remembering that what Manor are asking to do is something which used to be commonplace without the need to get other teams to agree.

        McLaren ran 2002 spec cars throughout 2003, Ferrari started 2002 with 2001 spec cars & they did the same a year later when they started 2003 with 2002 spec cars. Minardi ran year old cars through 2001 & the car they started 2005 with was fundamentally a heavily revised 2002 car.

        1. http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/17581/9703121/defiant-marussia-insist-their-return-as-manor-f1-in-2015-is-still-going-ahead

          The statement also revealed that the team were concurrently working on 2014 cars which would comply with the regulations and also building new 2015 cars.

        2. Someone geekier than I will perhaps correct me, but wasn’t the Super Aguri car just the previous year’s Honda. Plus at least for some of it’s existence, STR ran a one-year out of date Red Bull. The principle has been well established.

          1. That is correct but the rules were changed after 08 to prevent that from happening.

          2. Actually I’m pretty sure that the Super Aguri was a modified Arrows from 2002, at least in the beginning. Perhaps they later used the previous year’s Honda as you said.

          3. @metallion The 2006 Super Aguri was a heavily modified 2002 Arrows as you say.

            For 2007/2008 Super Aguri ran 2006/2007 Honda’s.

          4. If memory serves me correct, I think they actually ran a modified Arrows chassis in 2006.

  5. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    8th February 2015, 19:45

    Very bad of those teams to block them, think of how many jobs will be lost. Disgusting.

  6. Minardi makes a most excellent point, for a manufacturer not to be winning is not good for their image, but for a manufacturer to be constantly last would be a disaster for their image and a totally unacceptable risk.

  7. While I agree that there are always going to be bigger and smaller teams, Caterham never looked like they were ever going to make a step forward.

    Last season Marussia were able to give Sauber a run for their money on a couple of occasions and even get some points – definitely signs of progress and I certainly think that had they not run into financial issues and had the Bianchi incident then they would certainly not be last on the grid every race for the 2015 season.

    It’s a shame but the playing field should be level, regardless of whether you are regularly at the front or back of the grid. For that reason I have no problem with Marussia not competing this season – I think that, should the company survive, they would be better served by skipping this season or perhaps entering but waiting until the European season starts before actually racing, or maybe even just skipping this year and joining again in 2016 alongside Haas F1

    1. I think that, should the company survive, they would be better served by skipping this season

      The problem is that, if they do not compete this season and next, they do not get their prize money from last year. That is why they are rushing to get in this year. IIRC it’s about £40m, and that’s a sizeable chunk for such a small team!

  8. Minardi once again speaking sense

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th February 2015, 17:39

      Yes and hopefully they will listen to him – hopefully, other F1 legends and ex-owners will voice their opinions in favor of keeping Marussia. I hope they pay tribute to Bianchi and name their cars after him.

  9. Without Caterham and Marussia (and maybe even Hispania) the previously midfield teams will find themselves as backmarkers, dropping out as firsts in Q3. It just looks better for them when these small teams are around… Anyways, I really want at least one of these two teams to survive, those are 2 valuable places. And it’s disgusting to see how other teams trying everything to take their hands on Marussias prize money.

  10. Undeniably, this is the reason why people are not bothered to watch a small bunch of cars (less than 25 on grid) racing each other. People were attracted way back then when there’s a lot of cars and choices to support to and even given the much needed space to improvise and be creative with their cars minus the safety records of the past.

    People are even more attracted to WEC now, I think so. Why? There’s no less cars to cheer and shout about and no less fun rather than having the live telecast to follow top teams fighting each other leaving only less than 10% part of the show for smaller teams.

    Just my 2 cents

  11. Need them for what exactly?

    1. Do you read the article? Teams like Mercedes are only in F1 for commercial reasons and winning races and titles are important for they. That’s why Renault, BMW, Toyota and Honda sold their teams.

      Small teams generally are in F1 for passion, for sport. F1 needs more teams like Marussia and less teams like BMW.

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