Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Minardi is a automobile racing team, founded in 1979 by Giancarlo Minardi. It has competed in the Formula One World Championship since 1985, though with little success. Despite this, it has a small but loyal following of fans.
Since it started racing in F1, the team has scored all of 31 championship points (although under the modern points system this number would almost quadruple), over half of them taken by the team's first driver, Pierluigi Martini. Martini also recorded the team's only front row start and actually led a lap during a heroic performance in 1989. In spite of this, the team has never been on a podium in its history, only managing a best place of 4th three times: Martini two times in 1991 and Christian Fittipaldi in 1993.
The team, near collapse, was purchased by Australian businessman Paul Stoddart in early 2001. Since taking over as team principal, Stoddart has been campaigning for reduced costs in the sport. He has appealed to the competing car manufacturers for an agreement where the independent (and, on the whole, financially weaker) teams in Formula One would get cheaper engine deals than at present. In return, the team principals who would benefit from this would support the works teams when it came to opposing new rule changes (enforced by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile), (e.g. the proposed ban on traction control). So far, Stoddart's efforts have failed to produce such a deal. Before the start of the 2004 season, he threatened to withdraw his support against the ban on traction control.
Minardi was represented in 2004 by two rookies, Italian Gianmaria "Gimmi" Bruni and Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner. During the year, they celebrated their 20th season in F1. Baumgartner scored Minardi's first point in more than 2 years at the United States Grand Prix, finishing 8th (only 8 cars finished the 2004 USGP). Baumgartner is also the first Hungarian to score a point in a World Championship F1 race.
Despite their reputation as a backmarking team, more than a handful of future stars have raced for them in recent years. Grand Prix winners Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, and Fernando Alonso, along with promising Australian Mark Webber, have all raced for the team within the last 10 years.
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