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. It has a truly international fan-base, and is the ‘second team' of most F1 devotees. Minardi is held in such affection as everyone loves the plucky underdog – its 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 its 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, the team 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 revelatory tale.
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About 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 1990s. Cheering on the underdog in an increasingly grey, corporate world harked back to the days of Hesketh and James Hunt.