Home Formula 4Italian F4 ACI’s Gian Carlo Minardi: “We are proud that F4 was born in Italy”

ACI’s Gian Carlo Minardi: “We are proud that F4 was born in Italy”

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: ACI Sport

Gian Carlo Minardi, president of the Italian automotive federation’s circuit racing commission, has spoken to Formula Scout about his home country’s role in the past and future of Formula 4.

Italy launched the very first FIA F4 championship 10 years ago this week as a replacement to Formula Abarth, and 12 of its drivers have gone on to race top-level single-seaters.

Minardi said “it is a matter of great honour for us” that the 2024 season started with 37 cars and drivers from 25 countries.

“We had already done the FAbarth with the type of [entry-level winged] car – an ideal car for young drivers – we then perfected, thanks also to [chassis supplier] Tatuus,” he recalled.

“We’re proud to have been the pioneers of this formula, which continues to be so successful, both in terms of quality and quantity, and is a source of pride for all those in the Automobile Club d’Italia involved with this project.”

Italian F4 is considered by many as the category’s most competitive championship and Minardi says that is because “the best teams from Formula 2 and Formula 3 have also been present in F4, which has raised the level”.

In addition to the drivers who reach Formula 1, where Minardi was famously a team owner, many have had careers in “[Le Mans] Hypercars or international GTs.”

Having reached the age limit of 75, Minardi just stepped down as president of the FIA’s Single-Seater Commission after a two-year stint. It was Gerhard Berger, a presidential predecessor, who helped develop the F4 concept and Minardi praises the pyramid that then followed with Formula Regional and the homogenised Formula 3 and Formula 2 being added by the FIA at the levels above F4 and leading drivers “in the shortest possible time to F1”.

Since speaking to Formula Scout at the beginning of his own tenure, the Single-Seater Commission has focused on “finalising the work on the new F2 car”, which debuted this year, “and initiating the process for developing the new chassis regulations for F3 and FRegional”.

Dallara’s new F3 car will debut in 2025, and the introduction of second-generation FRegional chassis has recently been delayed to 2026.

Minardi says modestly that his successor Emanuele Pirro “certainly doesn’t need any advice from me” and hopes that “he works principally in the interest of FIA and our worldwide sport.”

Looking forward, he sees the FIA’s priorities as “above all, maintaining safety, finding a solution to control costs and working towards the use of zero emission fuel for all levels of the pyramid”. While acknowledging that “there is still work to do”, he remains optimistic that “nothing in the world is impossible”.

Minardi sold his F1 team to Red Bull, which has run it since 2006 under various names. Asked for his thoughts on its current guise, he responds with a polite and diplomatic “no comment” before adding “everybody still refers to it as the team from Faenza, which makes me happy as it is my home town”.