Formula 1 needs teams like Minardi for driver development - Steiner

Formula 1 needs more teams like former backmarker Minardi because there are currently too few opportunities for young drivers to break through, according to Haas team principal Gunther Steiner

Formula 1 needs teams like Minardi for driver development - Steiner

Minardi raced in F1 for 21 years from 1985 and was renowned for giving young talented drivers a chance with the likes of Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber all getting their start in F1 with the team.

With the departure of HRT, Caterham and Manor, which was responsible for giving Mercedes juniors Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon debuts last year, F1 is lacking a back-of-the-grid entry point like Minardi offered.

As a result, Ferrari is in talks to make Sauber its junior team to become a proving ground for its youngsters, including Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi, to gather race experience in F1.

"The difficulty for young drivers is they need to be in the right time at the right place," said Steiner.

"There is nothing else you can do for it, at the moment you cannot even buy a cockpit.

"When Minardi was around, Minardi was maybe happy to be last, that was their duty to bring drivers up.

Read for free: Minardi - F1's front row underdog

"Maybe they were not happy to be last but they could live with it because that was their business model: to develop drivers, that's a good business model.

"It's like when [Daniel] Ricciardo drove the HRT [in 2011], you knew he was not going to do anything but it gave him experience and that's not there anymore.

"It's maybe a good thing we don't have these teams [running at the back], [but] maybe it's a bad thing too."

Steiner says the big teams are reluctant to run young drivers without previous F1 experience, particularly given the big step between F2 and the new generation of F1 cars.

"I think they [Leclerc and Giovinazzi] are both good guys, with very good potential," said Steiner.

"Between Ferrari and Mercedes, the next good guys will come out of one of them.

"[But] how they get into a seat is difficult, Formula 1 in that respect is very difficult.

"F2 to F1, it's a different ball game, it's such a big gap. You need a little bit of learning.

"To put Charles or Antonio straight away in a Ferrari, it's a big risk.

"It can go well, but there are bigger chances it goes wrong, because the expectations are so high.

"The sport is so complex, you make mistakes when you're young because you don't have experience. You cannot buy experience - you need time."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Minardi
Author Lawrence Barretto
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