PEOPLE: GIANCARLO MINARDI

Name: Giancarlo Minardi
Nationality: Italy

Giancarlo Minardi, Italian GP 2004

Giancarlo Minardi, Italian GP 2004 

 © The Cahier Archive

The Minardi family runs the the oldest Fiat dealership in Italy which dates back to 1927. In the late 1940s Giovanni Minardi built his own single-seater racing cars and Giancarlo was a regular race-goer from when he was a toddler. Unfortunately Giovanni Minardi died young, leaving the family businesses to be run by his widow Elena. These were gradually taken over when her three sons were old enough: Giuseppe taking over the Fiat dealership, Nando running the truck concession and Giancarlo running the family racing team.

Having competed in the late 1960s in modified Fiat 500s Giancarlo established Scuderia del Passatore in 1972 and began running customer cars in Formula 2 racing. In 1974 the team became known as Scuderia Everest and ran March-BMWs for Giancarlo Martini and Lamberto Leoni. Two years later Enzo Ferrari entrusted Scuderia Everest to run a Ferrari 312T as part of a scheme to evaluate young Italian racers for F1. Giancarlo Martini demolished it on the warm-up lap of the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch but the car briefly reappeared at the International Trophy. After that the team concentrated on its March-BMWs and Martini finished sixth in the European Formula 2 Championship that year.

In 1977 Minardi bought a Martini-Renault for Martini but also did a deal with Ferrari to use Ferrari Dino engines in F2 Ralt chassis. These were driven by Leoni and Gianfranco Brancatelli and the team won its first victory at Misano. The following year the team ran Elio de Angelis, Beppe Gabbiani and Clay Regazzoni in Chevron-Ferraris.

In 1980 Giancarlo set up the Minardi team with backing from Piero Mancini - a well known patron of Italian motor racing - and former Ferrari engineer Giacomo Caliri was hired to design an F2 chassis at his FLY Studio in Bologna. The team entered Grand Prix racing in 1985 and survived despite never having enough money to do the job properly. In the 1990s Minardi was forced to sell shares in the team to survive. After a merger with Scuderia Italia he had to sell 70% of the team to a consortium led by Flavio Briatore. This group included Fondmetal boss Gabriele Rumi and former driver Sandro Nannini.

This uneasy alliance did not last long and at the end of 1997 Rumi took control and began investing. By the middle of 2000, Rumi ran out of money and at the end of the year the team was sold to Paul Stoddart. Giancarlo Minardi remained with the organisation he founded, finding sponsorship and looking for your driver but in 2005 Stoddart sold the team to Red Bull and a few months later Minardi left the renamed Scuderia Toro Rosso.

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