Steiner: Minardi-style team could aid youth
19 August 2017 – Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner believes Formula 1 would benefit from the existence of a Minardi-style outfit, in order to aid young drivers attempting to enter the sport.
Minardi competed in Formula 1 between 1985 and 2005, and handed debuts to an array of drivers, including Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jarno Trulli.
Haas, meanwhile, has run Ferrari-backed youngsters Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi in Friday sessions, but will continue to field Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen next season.
Backmarkers, such as HRT and Manor, handed debuts to promising youngsters, but both have now dropped off the grid, and Steiner feels the situation is hurting potential star prospects.
"The difficulty is they [Leclerc and Giovinazzi] need to be in the right time at the right place," Steiner explained.
"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.
"Maybe they were not happy to be last, but they could live with it as it was their business model: to develop drivers was their business models.
"It's like when [Daniel] Ricciardo drove the HRT, 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 [at the back], but maybe a bad thing."
Steiner also feels that leading teams are not willing to hand a chance to youngsters, due to the risk of jeopardising their career trajectory.
"It's difficult for young guys, like the Ferrari guys, Charles and Antonio, to get into it somehow, as there's nobody around giving them space, because there is no space," he said.
"Formula 2 [to] Formula 1 is really apart, such a big gap, and you need [time for] a little bit of learning.
"To put Charles or Antonio straightaway in a Ferrari is a big risk, it can go all good, but the bigger chance is it goes wrong as the expectations are so high.
"The sport is so complex that you make little mistakes when you're young, when you're 20; experience you cannot buy, you need time, and you cannot buy time."