MARCH 13, 1995

Minardi's miracle car

The unveiling last week of the Minardi-Ford M195 was treated as a victory by Giancarlo Minardi and his team from Faenza, Italy. "We are very proud because we have had to design two different cars in the time normally needed to do just one," says Minardi.

Minardi's problems came as a result of an extraordinary decision by Mugen to supply Ligier - despite having a deal with Minardi. Giancarlo Minardi has confirmed that "there was an agreement with Mugen Co Ltd" but "this was not respected." The deal fell through at the end of November last year, and the Minardi design team had to start work all over again to design and build a Ford-engined car.

According to the team's technical director, Aldo Costa, the M195 is a completely new car. He says: "A few years ago I would have said that we started with a new sheet of paper, but today I have to say that the M195 project started by opening a new file on the Minardi CAD computer system."

The M195 features an electro-hydraulically-operated gearbox, an automatic clutch and a 110-litre fuel tank, which makes it one of the shortest F1 cars in 1995.

The team has confirmed its drivers: Pierluigi Martini and Luca Badoer, with Giancarlo Fisichella as test driver - and its sponsorship package which includes a plethora of small sponsors backed up by serious investment from Valleverde shoes and Lucchini Steel.

The new car began testing at Mugello at the end of last week.