Forza Minardi!: The Inside Story of the Little Team Which Took on the Giants of F1

Forza Minardi!: The Inside Story of the Little Team Which Took on the Giants of F1

by Simon Vigar
     
 

After 20 years of glorious ‘failure’, the best-loved team in Formula One is consigned to the history books, and it deserves one of its own. Minardi had a successful time in Formula Two until the tiny Italian outfit was ready to hit the big time in 1985. It somehow survived in F1’s shark-infested waters as bigger teams (Lotus, Arrows, Tyrrell) were

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Overview

After 20 years of glorious ‘failure’, the best-loved team in Formula One is consigned to the history books, and it deserves one of its own. Minardi had a successful time in Formula Two until the tiny Italian outfit was ready to hit the big time in 1985. It somehow survived in F1’s shark-infested waters as bigger teams (Lotus, Arrows, Tyrrell) were dragged under. They have a truly international fan-base and are the ‘second team’ of most F1 devotees. Minardi is held in such affection as everyone loves the plucky underdog – Minardi’s annual budget would have lasted one month at the other Italian team up the road. Yet, from its plant in Faenza near Bologna, Minardi has produced cars that qualify, sometimes score points and often lead the way in their technology. Gian Carlo Minardi also developed a reputation as a fabulous talent-spotter – Fisichella, Trulli, Webber and the youngest ever World Champion Alonso all started their F1 careers with Minardi. For the last five years, Minardi was owned by controversial Australian tycoon Paul Stoddart. Cast as David against the Goliath of F1’s governing body, Stoddart constantly hit the headlines as he tried to get a more equal share of the sport’s billions. Ultimately, he failed and Red Bull has now bought the team. Despite a petition of 15,000 names, the Minardi name has vanished from the F1 grid and true motorheads miss it. This is the one and only inside account, with exclusive, comprehensive interviews with bosses, drivers and engineers. 140 unique photos complete this revalationary tale.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... a beautifully illustrated book ..." – The Marshal

Review by Jamie O'Leary for Autosport, 2008
UK magazine

Minardi were universally loved during their 20-year stint in F1 and now Simon Vigar has attempted to gather up the best bits in his new title, 'Forza Minardi!'

Featuring interviews with Bernie Ecclestone, Fernando Alonso and the man himself Giancarlo Minardi, the book is well-researched and insightful - did you know for instance that Ayrton Senna, frustrated with the inter-team politics at McLaren, was weighing up a move to Minardi during the later stages of the 1989 season?

If there is one criticism - and there is one - it's that half the book (65 out of 135 pages) is dedicated to the five years under Paul Stoddart's stewardship, leaving only the same amount of space to cover the 1985-2000 period, including Pierluigi Martini's famous lap in front at Estoril in '89.

If you're one of those closet Minardi-istas, then it is recommended.

Startline magazine, June 2008
UK
magazine
Circ: 8500

After 20 years of glorious 'failure', the best-loved team in Formula One is consigned to the history books, and it deserves one of its own. Minardi had a successful time in Formula Two until the tiny Italian outfit was ready to hit the big time in 1985. It somehow survived in R's shark-infested waters as bigger teams (Lotus, Arrows, Tyrrell) were dragged under. They have a truly international fan-base and are the 'second team' of most F1 devotees. Minardi is held in such affection as everyone loves the plucky underdog. Despite a petition of 15,000 names the Minardi name has vanished from the F1 grid and true motorheads miss it. This is the one and only inside account, with exclusive, comprehensive interviews with bosses, drivers and engineers. 140 unique photos complete this revolutionary tale.

Review from Motor Sport, June 2008
UK magazine
Circulation: 28,000

The tale of a Formula 1 team that took 52 races to finish in the points and spent 21 years struggling at the back of the grid sounds as though it could be a depressing read. Indeed, as Vigar says in the first few pages, "Some ask' what went wrong?' The real question is 'what went right?"' A bleak start if ever there was one.

However, this year-by-year account of the Italian team is both interesting and endearing. Vigar, a self-confessed die-hard Minardi fan, charts the team's 21-year history from Formula 2 to its first GP in 1985, its first point in '88, the problems with Flavio Briatore before he took over and its predictable downfall.

This is an extremely well-researched read and if you're wondering why someone would spend so much time on such a book, just have a think about how many people have written literary works on the Scottish rugby team.

Well written and easy on the eye, this first book on the team is a must for Minardi's hardcore fan base. And for others? Well, you might be pleasantly surprised. How many other teams can say that they survived while 24 others failed during their stint in Formula 1?

The story of Glan Carlo Minardi and his F1 team is certainly charming, even if they weren't loved by everyone in the paddock ...

Review from Octane, July 2008
UK magazine
 
Formula One's least successful team - 21 years without a podium finish - gets its own tribute in this affectionate history that proves the truism of every dog having its day. Extensive quotes from the key personnel and drivers involved tell the heart-warming story of a team that raced for the love of it, rather than to sell cars.

AutoRacingHistory.com, August 2008
US website

In the waning laps of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Takuma Sato, driving the underdog, underpowered, underdeveloped, under funded Super Aguri, passed Fernando Alonso, the two-time World Champion driving the all powerful, obscenely funded McLaren-Mercedes for sixth position. The French Canadian crowd went wild. I, along with many other Formula 1 fans, became hooked on Sato-Mania.  From then on, until the fifth race of the 2008 season, I kept a keen eye on Super Aguri's performance each race weekend, hoping for another 'miracle pass.' I saw in Super Aguri what many fans saw years before in Minardi – a team that reminded us all the reasons we go racing and watch racing.  Simon Vigar, a self professed Minardi fanatic, captures the history of one of the most loved underdog teams in Formula One in 'Forza Minardi! The Inside Story of the Little Team That Took on the Giants of F1.' Vigar provides a year-by-year account of the team's (few) successes and (many) failures. From the start when Gian Carlo Minardi started the journey to the final years of the ever controversial but entertaining Paul Stoddart ownership.  The history of Minardi in many ways encompasses the history of Formula One growing from the last vestiges of a sport into a political quagmire of big business. Sir Stirling Moss said on the demise of Minardi, "It isn't a sport anymore, it's now just big business. Motorsport isn't there, motor business is.  The fact that Minardi lasted so long is a miracle onto itself. Vigar provides us a fascinating inside look to this transformation, and how so many forces for so long wanted to see Minardi disappear from the grid. While at the same time, Stoddart was able to use those same forces to his advantage in keeping Minardi alive well beyond any sane expectations.  The early chapters are a bit short, especially compared to the latter years. This could be due to the difficulty of digging up history the farther back you go in time or the waning years having a lot more to write about thanks to Stoddard. Or, perhaps a bit of both. So, while the early chapters at times left me wanting for more, the latter chapters left me fully satisfied. The inside dealings of Formula One are recalled in fascinating detail during Stoddard's time and will leave any fan, casual or diehard, shaking their heads at a sport that would make Wall Street tycoons wither.  It's not just the backroom politics that Vigar writes about. He recalls the stories of the drivers, crew, cars, testing, development, racing, the perils of being the "other" team in a Ferrari mad country, and of course the fans, who made Minardi Formula One's favorite second team, forming numerous fan clubs.  The team became a virtual Who's Who of Formula 1 drivers. Pierluigi Martini, Andrea de Cesaris, Alessandro Nannini, Roberto Moreno, Christian Fittipaldi, Alex Zanardi, Fabrizio Barbazza, Michele Alboreto, Pedro Lamy, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Mark Weber, Anthony Davidson, Justin Wilson, Jos Verstappen, Christijan Albers, and Robert Doornbos all either cut their teeth at Minardi or wrapped up a career. Then, there are the drivers who quite frankly should not have been let near a Formula Ford never mind a Formula 1 machine ...  Minardi holds the record for most Grands Prix contested without a pole at 340 and is second to Arrows (who contested 382) without a victory. Sometimes, it truly is about the journey and not the destination. Minardi showed us the journey can still be fun, and Vigar allows us to relive it once again with 'Forza Minardi!

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845841607
Publisher:
Veloce Publishing
Publication date:
05/15/2008
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
10.18(w) x 10.18(h) x 0.75(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"... a beautifully illustrated book ..." – The Marshal

Review by Jamie O'Leary for Autosport, 2008
UK magazine

Minardi were universally loved during their 20-year stint in F1 and now Simon Vigar has attempted to gather up the best bits in his new title, 'Forza Minardi!'

Featuring interviews with Bernie Ecclestone, Fernando Alonso and the man himself Giancarlo Minardi, the book is well-researched and insightful - did you know for instance that Ayrton Senna, frustrated with the inter-team politics at McLaren, was weighing up a move to Minardi during the later stages of the 1989 season?

If there is one criticism - and there is one - it's that half the book (65 out of 135 pages) is dedicated to the five years under Paul Stoddart's stewardship, leaving only the same amount of space to cover the 1985-2000 period, including Pierluigi Martini's famous lap in front at Estoril in '89.

If you're one of those closet Minardi-istas, then it is recommended.

Review from Motor Sport, June 2008
UK magazine Circulation: 28,000

The tale of a Formula 1 team that took 52 races to finish in the points and spent 21 years struggling at the back of the grid sounds as though it could be a depressing read. Indeed, as Vigar says in the first few pages, "Some ask' what went wrong?' The real question is 'what went right?"' A bleak start if ever there was one.

However, this year-by-year account of the Italian team is both interesting and endearing. Vigar, a self-confessed die-hard Minardi fan, charts the team's 21-year history from Formula 2 to its first GP in 1985, its first point in '88, the problems with Flavio Briatore before he took over and its predictable downfall.

This is an extremely well-researched read and if you're wondering why someone would spend so much time on such a book, just have a think about how many people have written literary works on the Scottish rugby team.

Well written and easy on the eye, this first book on the team is a must for Minardi's hardcore fan base. And for others? Well, you might be pleasantly surprised. How many other teams can say that they survived while 24 others failed during their stint in Formula 1?

The story of Glan Carlo Minardi and his F1 team is certainly charming, even if they weren't loved by everyone in the paddock ...

Review from Octane, July 2008
UK magazine
 

Formula One's least successful team - 21 years without a podium finish - gets its own tribute in this affectionate history that proves the truism of every dog having its day. Extensive quotes from the key personnel and drivers involved tell the heart-warming story of a team that raced for the love of it, rather than to sell cars.

Startline magazine, June 2008
UK
magazine Circ: 8500

After 20 years of glorious 'failure', the best-loved team in Formula One is consigned to the history books, and it deserves one of its own. Minardi had a successful time in Formula Two until the tiny Italian outfit was ready to hit the big time in 1985. It somehow survived in R's shark-infested waters as bigger teams (Lotus, Arrows, Tyrrell) were dragged under. They have a truly international fan-base and are the 'second team' of most F1 devotees. Minardi is held in such affection as everyone loves the plucky underdog. Despite a petition of 15,000 names the Minardi name has vanished from the F1 grid and true motorheads miss it. This is the one and only inside account, with exclusive, comprehensive interviews with bosses, drivers and engineers. 140 unique photos complete this revolutionary tale.

AutoRacingHistory.com, August 2008
US website

In the waning laps of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Takuma Sato, driving the underdog, underpowered, underdeveloped, under funded Super Aguri, passed Fernando Alonso, the two-time World Champion driving the all powerful, obscenely funded McLaren-Mercedes for sixth position. The French Canadian crowd went wild. I, along with many other Formula 1 fans, became hooked on Sato-Mania.  From then on, until the fifth race of the 2008 season, I kept a keen eye on Super Aguri's performance each race weekend, hoping for another 'miracle pass.' I saw in Super Aguri what many fans saw years before in Minardi – a team that reminded us all the reasons we go racing and watch racing.  Simon Vigar, a self professed Minardi fanatic, captures the history of one of the most loved underdog teams in Formula One in 'Forza Minardi! The Inside Story of the Little Team That Took on the Giants of F1.' Vigar provides a year-by-year account of the team's (few) successes and (many) failures. From the start when Gian Carlo Minardi started the journey to the final years of the ever controversial but entertaining Paul Stoddart ownership.  The history of Minardi in many ways encompasses the history of Formula One growing from the last vestiges of a sport into a political quagmire of big business. Sir Stirling Moss said on the demise of Minardi, "It isn't a sport anymore, it's now just big business. Motorsport isn't there, motor business is.  The fact that Minardi lasted so long is a miracle onto itself. Vigar provides us a fascinating inside look to this transformation, and how so many forces for so long wanted to see Minardi disappear from the grid. While at the same time, Stoddart was able to use those same forces to his advantage in keeping Minardi alive well beyond any sane expectations.  The early chapters are a bit short, especially compared to the latter years. This could be due to the difficulty of digging up history the farther back you go in time or the waning years having a lot more to write about thanks to Stoddard. Or, perhaps a bit of both. So, while the early chapters at times left me wanting for more, the latter chapters left me fully satisfied. The inside dealings of Formula One are recalled in fascinating detail during Stoddard's time and will leave any fan, casual or diehard, shaking their heads at a sport that would make Wall Street tycoons wither.  It's not just the backroom politics that Vigar writes about. He recalls the stories of the drivers, crew, cars, testing, development, racing, the perils of being the "other" team in a Ferrari mad country, and of course the fans, who made Minardi Formula One's favorite second team, forming numerous fan clubs.  The team became a virtual Who's Who of Formula 1 drivers. Pierluigi Martini, Andrea de Cesaris, Alessandro Nannini, Roberto Moreno, Christian Fittipaldi, Alex Zanardi, Fabrizio Barbazza, Michele Alboreto, Pedro Lamy, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso, Mark Weber, Anthony Davidson, Justin Wilson, Jos Verstappen, Christijan Albers, and Robert Doornbos all either cut their teeth at Minardi or wrapped up a career. Then, there are the drivers who quite frankly should not have been let near a Formula Ford never mind a Formula 1 machine ...  Minardi holds the record for most Grands Prix contested without a pole at 340 and is second to Arrows (who contested 382) without a victory. Sometimes, it truly is about the journey and not the destination. Minardi showed us the journey can still be fun, and Vigar allows us to relive it once again with 'Forza Minardi!'

Read More

Meet the Author

Simon Vigar has beaten Nigel Mansell at karting and taken Michael Schumacher for tuition laps in an F430 at Fiorano. Simon keeps his feet on the ground working as motor sport correspondent for LBC Radio in London and has reported from many Grands Prix. He has also narrated the official Formula One videos and is an award-winning TV and radio news reporter.
James Hunt’s exploits got Simon hooked on F1 and his passion for Minardi developed in the early 90s. Cheering on the underdog in an increasingly grey, corporate world harked back to the days of Hesketh and James.

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