FEBRUARY 5, 2014
Mercedes has the edge in 2014 says Minardi
Former F1 team owner Gian Carlo Minardi thinks Mercedes has an early edge over its rivals after the first test at Jerez.
The Brackley squad clearly did the most laps with its new silver W05, but many pundits also think Mercedes is ahead of the game in most areas as F1's new V6-powered era dawns.
"For me," Minardi is quoted by Speed Week, "it is clear that Mercedes has the edge, but Ferrari also started very solidly.
"Of course, no conclusive judgements are possible, and I'm curious to see how the cars behave in the warmer temperatures in Bahrain.
"But with Mercedes I not only feel that they are furthest along with their work, but also that they are working extremely closely with the partner teams," the Italian added, referring to the similarly Mercedes-powered McLaren, Williams and Force India.
As for F1's new era more generally, Minardi - whose former Faenza based team is now known as Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso - admitted to being "a little concerned".
"We have cars that could be as slow as GP2 cars in the races," he said, "and the winner will be who is most economical with his fuel, not necessarily the fastest.
"These are aspects that could drive away some true fans," he added.
Minardi, once very well connected with Martini, said he has also heard that the Italian drinks brand is set to sponsor Williams in 2014.
It is rumoured Williams will eventually re-launch its new FW36 in the brand's iconic white, blue and red colours.
"When I got Ferrari engines in 1991, I was on the verge of an agreement with the same company, but unfortunately nothing came of it," said Minardi.