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Minardi: Youngsters need to test

NEWS STORY
17/05/2013

Gian Carlo Minardi, the man who gave a number of rising stars their first break in F1, including Fernando Alonso, says that youngsters need more testing mileage.

“I've always supported the importance of cutting down costs in other fields," says the Italian, "without penalizing private testing which plays an important role, in terms of young drivers.

"A driver has to run at least three to five thousand kilometres before knowing his car," he continued. "According to present regulations, that is almost impossible to do. Moreover, at the beginning of the 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," he added, throwing his weight behind Luca di Montezemolo's call for more testing. "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," he admitted. "We don't have to forget that racers such as Vettel and Kubica (to mention a few) caught the attention of racing experts thanks to free practice."

Minardi singled out Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, who was under intense scrutiny ahead of the Spanish race, but impressed with a solid performance.

"Before blaming Gutierrez, more time should have been given to him to express himself," said the Italian. "Now the team has to make him work quietly. It would be extremely unfair to pan him now, only after 5 Grands Prix, he has mostly run on unknown tracks. Unfortunately he didn't have the opportunity to prepare for racing at best."

While one can see exactly what Minardi means, Luca di Montezemolo, on the other hand, doesn't want testing reinstated for the benefit of young, upcoming drivers but, understandably, for the benefit of his own team and its championship hopes.

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