Minardi: Youngsters need more track time

Sunday 19-May-2013 12:29

Former team boss Gian Carlo Minardi has called on F1 to reinstate Friday practice sessions for rookie drivers, saying they are not getting the time they need.

During the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo spoke about the Scuderia's desire to see in-season testing return. Other teams, though, are against the idea.

However, the lack of testing, with teams limited to just 12 days, has had a severe impact on F1's rookie racers who, Minardi insists, need more time out on track.

"I've always supported the importance of cutting down costs in other fields, without penalising private testing which play an important role: satisfying young drivers. A driver has to run at least 3-5000 km before knowing his car," said the Italian.

"According to present regulations, that is almost impossible to do. Moreover, at the beginning of the racing season, most of the circuits young drivers have to race at are almost unknown to the majority of them.

"If we want to ensure a generation change, we'll have to give these young guys the opportunity to practice. I hope that what Mr. Montezemolo said will be soon supported by facts. That would mean that more and more attention will be focused on young drivers, who will have the chance to express themselves and display their potential through on-track practice.

"I've been supporting the idea of reintroducing Friday free practices for rookie racers, for a long time. We don't have to forget that racers such as Vettel and Kubica (only to mention a few) caught the attention of racing experts just thanks to free practices."

Minardi highlighted Sauber rookie Esteban Gutierrez's plight as proof that drivers need more time to learn their craft.

"Before blaming Gutierrez, more time should have been given to him to express himself. Now the team has to make him work quietly.

"It would be extremely unfair to pan him now, only after 5 GP, he mostly run on unknown tracks. Unfortunately he didn't have the opportunity to prepare for racing at best."

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