Penalties kill the racing - Minardi


Two races into the 2014 Formula One season, Minardi founder Giancarlo Minardi says that the lack of action so far is mostly due to the excessive penalties that are being handed to the drivers.

Minardi admits that part of the processional nature in the first few races this year are due to the numerous regulation changes, but according to the Italian, development progress will soon make sure the competition increases soon.

“F1 has undertaken a hard and upward path", Minardi said. "Maybe too many novelties have been put together too quickly, but I’m sure it will be able to please us soon with great satisfaction. In the first two races we have seen a 'compaction' of performances, with as many as 12-13 cars in 1’’. This is extremely positive from a technical perspective, in particular if we think that in Bahrain tests the teams accused a lot of problems”, the manager from Faenza comments on “In the course of the next GPs, what now is defined as ‘boredom’ will turn into exciting races”.

Let’s not forget that Formula 1 has always been the highest motoring expression, in which technologies have been then applied into standard cars. “The world has taken a direction and issues like noise pollution and energy saving are themes of the present. Thanks to the resources made available by the Circus, new solutions might be quickly developed. For instance, in Italy all racetracks have to fight against the laws on noise pollution, which limit the activity on the track”, Minardi continues. “I’ve heard in these days that enthusiasts have taken a distance from F1 because the cars don’t make noise anymore. But are we really sure that the problem is the rumble of V6 Turbo?”.

Indeed, Minardi points to a very different issue when analysing the reducing interest of fans.

“Instead of judging on mere intent, insiders and specialists should concentrate on serious elements such as penalties, their management by FIA and the subjectivity of decision makers. Penalties are the loss of Formula 1. Decisions taken against Magnussen, in particular, and Ricciardo, scare me and damage the F1 environment. Keeping this path, they’ll cancel those possible duels that have been part of the races’ DNA and have contributed to write the history of this sport, besides making the fans falling in love. With present parameters, legendary duels such as Villeneuve-Arnoux (Dijon, 1979) or Piquet-Senna in Hungary would be unconceivable.

"Last Sunday, McLaren was heavily penalized for a normal race collision: Raikkonen himself, immediately after the race, admitted he hadn’t understood what happened. We are talking about a hit between a portion of the front right wing and a back wheel. I understand the safety issues, but if we cannot accept this kind of episodes, all we can do is playing with videogames. Regarding Red Bull, sporting delegates have been able to penalize Ricciardo twice – first with a Stop&Go of 10’’ and then with a 10-place Bahrain grid penalty – but he was actually guilty of nothing. The team saw immediately that the wheel wasn’t well-secured and so, before he was back on the track, he was stopped and brought back. Which kind of damage did he create? What scares me more, by the way, is the non-objectivity of delegates in decisions, given the fact that the working team changes at each race. Furthermore, in the same Grand Prix, no decision has been taken regarding Vettel’s behaviour, who squeezed in Nico Rosberg: this was actually a situation of danger”.

Minardi concluded by proposing an old idea, suggesting that the FIA appoints a unique working team of stewards that is the same for each and every race. While that should resolve the much complained about lack of consistency, he said "let’s not deprive drivers of the emotion of trying a braking at the limit, for the fear of being handed a penalty”.