1. Can you show us a CFD model of your car? BAR has shown their CFD model in their site, could you do the same? A. No, we can’t, simply because Minardi does not have CFD model cars.
2. Can you compare the design of F2003 GA with the PS03, and tell us its pros and cons? A. I am keen to say that the Minardi PS03 chassis takes some inspiration from the Ferrari chassis, although not from the latest F2003 GA. It is clear, however, that starting from that conception, we have worked on the development of our own chassis. To compare the two chassis is pointless, though, because the final result of a layout concept consists of a whole package, including among other things, the engine, the chassis, the transmission, the suspension and the aerodynamic package. The performance of a car is the result of the optimization of all these elements, along with their weight and size, which produces the overall weight of the car and determines the amount of ballast necessary.
3. Could you describe the differences and similarities between the Arrows car versus the Minardi car? A. I do not know the A23 in detail, but I believe the concept of our car is quite different compared with the Arrows chassis. I just saw it running on the occasion of the Mugello test, a few weeks ago, but I am unable to make any meaningful comments. All I can say is that, from an outside view, the Arrows appears to be conceived with a different layout. It has strong and weak points, as is the case with most cars, but if we consider that its concept dates back to the autumn and winter of 2001, perhaps it is not as innovative now as it probably was one year ago.
4. What is the ratio of L/D of F1 car? I heard it is 2.9 - 3.5, but that was long time ago, F1 cars look so different now. So it should be another value. If so, what is that value? A. Actually, in the past, this ratio of L/D was higher. In the case of the Minardi, this value is definitely in between these two figures. The reduction of the L/D ratio has resulted from the gradual but consistent change in the technical rules over the years. Now, some F1 cars are likely to have L/D ratios still higher than 3.5. However, you will often find cars having different ratios. This value isn’t universal, because it is the result of the various tests that are carried out by the teams in different wind tunnels. It would be interesting to compare those values if all the cars were tested in the same wind tunnel.
5. What is drag coefficient of F1 car? Is the deflector in front of rear wheel is used to deflect the air coming towards rear wheel, and hence reduce drag? A. It depends which wind tunnel has been used in calculating the drag coefficient. In general, it is close to 1, and clearly, both the deflector, and more generally, all aerodynamic components in a F1 car, are designed with the aim of reducing drag and improving the car’s efficiency.
6. What is the purpose of little winglet in front or rear wheel? A. To reduce the drag
7. Where is the centre of pressure of F1 car? A. It varies according to the characteristics of the circuits. On average, it is around 38% on the car front.
8. What is the impact of new fuel regulation to car design? Is the fuel tank would be made smaller? A. If the Sporting Regulations remain unchanged in the future, a larger fuel tank will not provide any significant advantage to the teams. Today, F1 teams generally plan a minimum of two stops for their pit-stop strategies, which means that a larger fuel tank is not as necessary as in the past, when a successful pit-stop strategy might rely on just one single stop.
9. Is the down force produced solely by front wing, rear wing and diffuser? Or is it the car profile itself also can produce down force due to its shape (high at front, sloping near rear end)? A. The car profile plays a major role in producing the downforce. The diffuser and front wings, however, are even more crucial in this area.
10. About suspension wishbones, are they still in steel (like last year) or are they made from carbon fibre with steel or titanium inserts? A. Last year, Minardi used titanium suspension wishbones, whereas this season, these elements are made in steel, not in carbon fibre or titanium.
11. To clear this once and for all, what are you guys planning to do with those A23s? A. I am not in the position to answer this question.
12. The 3 layer front wing like McLaren used now (and Ferrari 2001), which element produces most of the down force? Or are all three of the element works as one aerofoil section with 2 small separations only to regenerate boundary layer of the flow? A. I am unable to comment on the McLaren, which I do not know anything about.
13. Who are your key lieutenants? A. I work with a staff of very reliable technicians led by Fabio Sansavini, responsible for the Technical Staff, Marzio Della Casa, in charge of the Mechanical Area of the Technical Department, Paolo Marabini, whose duties involve Structures and Calculations, and Loic Bigois, the team’s Senior Aerodynamicist.
14. What's the hardest part of your job? A. Everything is difficult in this job. The hardest part is perhaps to try and do the best we can with the small number of staff and the limited resources we have at our disposal.
15. What tip would you give to people who want to pursue a career in F1? A. Just be aware that behind this glamorous world, life is not easy. The pressure is always there, and the job requires full commitment and sacrifice. Anyone who feels he can stand the tough rhythms of F1 can succeed, providing he works honestly and consistently. The job calls for a great deal of self-criticism, which helps in generating the right stimulus in order never to give up and always to try to do better. I may suggest another requirement could be to possess the unusual quality of listening to others, which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change your own ideas and opinions.
16. What other job outside of F1 would you consider pursuing?
A. I am an engineer and I would never change my profession for any other in the world.
17. Do you think there will be more private teams in F1 in the future? A. In the current climate, no, and I cannot see a different future for Minardi at the moment, other than being an independent team.
18. How much time does Minardi spend in the wind tunnel? A. If we consider the 2003 season, Minardi spent very little time in the wind tunnel. We did approximately 7 or 8 days of testing in the wind tunnel (12 hours a day).
19. Have you considered copying a design of a top team's car, like Toyota did? (Obviously it looks a lot like the Ferrari) A. Did Toyota copy someone else’s design? They didn’t, as far as I know. Minardi would never consider copying the design of another car. As I said at the beginning, you can take some ideas from analysing other cars and perhaps put these into the concept of your own car, but you will never copy another team’s car design.
Questions were set up by Felipe Fernandes, and all who contributed in the forums for this article. Thank you all