After twenty years of blood, sweat and tears – and bugger all in the way of results – the little Minardi team finally shut up shop when owner Paul Stoddart sold the operation to Red Bull.
While it had managed to survive longer than its better-funded compariots – Arrows, Tyrrell, and Ligier/Prost – it too would be consigned to the history books. And what better way to remember this ‘David among Goliath’ teams than with their very own book, Forza Minardi.
You’d be hard pressed to find an F1 fan who didn’t have a soft spot for Minardi. It was the plucky underdog of the Formula 1 teams: operating on a shoestring budget every year, it somehow managed to scrape together just enough to go racing, but it never had enough resources to push it further up the grid.
Founded by Gian Carlo Minardi in the late 1970s, the outfit was successful in Formula 2 before Gian Carlo bit the bullet and launched his team into Formula 1 in 1985. It took until 1988 before the team scored its first championship point, and it would score just 34 more points over the following seventeen years!
Minardi was quite the talent scout and his team became well-known for launching the careers of some of the sport’s best drivers in the last thirty years, including the likes of Giancarlo Fisichella and Jarno Trulli.
When Minardi sold the team to Paul Stoddart during the 2000-1 off-season, the team’s traditions of shoestring budgets and talent-spotting continued, with Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber both making their F1 debuts with the team in subsequent years.
Journalist Simon Vigar charts the team’s entire history in this beautifully-presented hardcover, and he did well to secure interviews with many of the key figures who shaped the history of this little team from Faenza.
Supported with over 140 beautiful photographs, this is a ‘must have’ for any dedicated fan of the sport. There will of course be plenty of books written about the bigger names in the sport – Ferrari, McLaren and Williams each have several well-known titles – but there is only this one Minardi title.
My one criticism of Forza Minardi is that it seems like a book of two halves. The ‘Stoddart Era’ (2001-5) is very detailed and well-researched, obviously supported with lengthy interviews with the Australian and several of his drivers.
But the preceding ‘Gian Carlo Era’ (1985-2000) seems positively breathless in comparison. With each chapter focusing on a specific second championship season, some were given as little as two pages’ coverage. I could have written more on these seasons for the team without the luxury of any interviews. That was quite disappointing for me.
Despite this, I still consider this a valuable addition to my vast Formula 1 book collection and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to an F1 fan who wanted to learn more about one of the little teams that dared to challenge the establishment.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Forza Minardi…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE.
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