Minardi hits out at F1 Strategy Group’s decision to block Marussia comeback

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Former F1 team owner Gian Carlo Minardi has hit out at the F1 Strategy Group for refusing to let Marussia race with its 2014 car and return to the grid for the 2015 season.

The Minardi team was the Caterham or Marussia of its day, often racing at the back of the grid whilst enjoying small, personal victories such as scoring points and even just surviving.

Its grit and determination saw it through some tough times before eventually being sold to Red Bull following the 2005 season after 20 years of racing in F1. The team was then rebranded as Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2006.

Mr. Minardi has remained a vocal figure within the F1 community though, and made his thoughts on the Strategy Group’s decision to reject Marussia’s request perfectly clear.

“It’s absurd and unsportsmanlike behavior”, Minardi told his own website, minardi.it. “The opposing small teams hope to split up the remaining prize money that was due to Marussia, but perhaps they did not count to ten. Get rid of the two Cinderellas – Marussia and Caterham – and the grid shrinks.”

Minardi believes that without the backmarkers, the bigger outfits will find themselves on the back row of the grid and perhaps question their involvement in F1.

“The last row would be occupied by teams with far greater budgets and ambitions, such as Force India, Sauber and Lotus. It could have serious consequences both commercially and in terms of team image.”

Minardi’s comments are indeed salient, for without the backmarkers, the bigger teams spending far bigger amounts will find themselves running about at the very back. This may prompt them to question whether it is worth racing just to finish last, resulting in future withdrawals.

A lack of success on track was the main reason behind Toyota, BMW and Honda’s withdrawals from F1 in 2008 and 2009, causing the sport to lose three major manufacturers.

Marussia’s story is not over yet though. Despite the Strategy Group refusing to let it racing using its 2014 car, the team has outlined its plans to return to the grid in 2015 under the name Manor Grand Prix, with fresh investment giving the operation new hope for the year ahead.

Red Bull driver Verstappen wins Formula One’s Brazilian GP

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images
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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.

Verstappen controlled nearly all the race at Interlagos, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they fought for the fourth position. Both failed to finish.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium after finishing second ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was third but faces an investigation after an incident that caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin.

Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.”

Dutch driver Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing… we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.

Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.