FEBRUARY 3, 1997
Gabriele Tredozi on the M197
THE M197 is a completely new car. Everything has been changed: the engine, the chassis, the gearbox and the aerodynamics.
"In terms of the basic structure of the chassis we haven't made any major alterations, apart from what we have had to do because of the changes in the regulations. We have done a lot of work on the detailed design - particularly the aerodynamics - and we think there is some improvement in this. We have managed to find a little bit more downforce to make the car more efficient. There is no doubt that some of the changes have been influenced by last year's Williams.
"We have a good collaboration with Fondmetal Technologies, but the M197 is completely a Minardi car because the agreement with Mr Rumi did not happen until after the concept of the car was decided.
"The biggest step forward for us is the engine. We think the Hart V8 is a very good engine and we are looking forward to seeing what we can do with it. The engine center-line is much lower than on the Cosworth so we had to change the engine mounting considerably. We also had to design a new gearbox, which we have done in cooperation with XTrac. It is a Minardi gearbox but it uses XTrac internals. We will start the year with a standard six-speed gearbox but later on in the year we are planning to introduce a new seven-speed unit.
"We hope that we will also be able to get good performance out of the Bridgestone tires but we will not really know that until we start testing.
"We think the changes will enable us to be more competitive this year."