Home>Blog>Chanoch Nissany from the unknown to F1 legend!
Chanoch Nissany
Blog Minardi

Chanoch Nissany from the unknown to F1 legend!

“Guys, I’m coming in, I’m having too much grip!” the remarkable words once spoken by Chanoch Nissany. A couple of you will remember it; some will recognize the name Nissany because Williams signed Roy as their test driver for 2020. I bet that many of them out there don’t even know who Chanoch even is, and how he is related to the Formula One. As usual, I was instant a fan of him, time to dedicate a blog on this Israeli guy!

The title of the blog is a bit far reached. Though i feel it is needed to post this blog post. The last few days all Formula One websites somehow appeared with a article about Chanoch Nissany. Mostly the Dutch once were pretty negative about him. Stating him as the biggest failure in Formula One History. I don’t believe failures exist in the Formula One on drivers aspect. The biggest failures are the editors who post crap like this. And mostly do stuff for the “click-bait”!

At the age of 38 Chanoch Nissany, a successfull Israeli entrepreneur, decided to feed his hobby and become a race driver. His carreer started in the Hungarian Formula 2000 series. Already in his first season he was the runner-up of the championship. To be honnest, i have no clue how competative the Hungarian Formula 2000 series was. They drove with the Coloni CN-98 which looks like a nice car to drive in. It was a dream coming through for Chanoch, a dream that would become even more serious.

Already in 2004 Nissany would test with the Jordan EJ14. It happened on the 15th of July 2004. At some point on that day Chanoch entered the Jordan Pit stepped into the prepared Jordan EJ14 and probably closed his eyes. He strapped himself in his seat, powered up the Ford RS2 V10 engine, gentle touched the paddle and made his first meters in a Formula One car! Sadly it was a rain-disrupted session. He managed still to drive 25 laps with the Jordan before he had to give up with engine failures. Did he well? He officially tested a Formula One car so yes he did!
1. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.105
2. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.895
3. Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:22.075
4. Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:27.648
5. Chanoch Nissany, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:36.606

The first taste of driving in a Formula One car has to make the hunger bigger to drive more. That’s actually what happened. Of course his financial backing made it much easier of course to test once more with the Jordan EJ14. Sadly, i was not able to find the test results. I assume the test occured at Silverstone in October 2004. In the meantime Nissany kept active in the Hungarian Formula 2000 series. After winning the series in 2004 he signed a deal with the Coloni team in the International Formula 3000 Championship. He would race the last three races for the team. His best result was a 12th place during the race at Monza.

For 2005 Chanoch Nissany would race again in the Hungarian Formula 2000 series. However, his career would receive a boost after he tested in late 2004 with the Minardi team. The 23th of November Nissany tested together with Tiago Monteiro and Patrick Friesacher at Misano. Minardi arrive with two Minardi PS04Bs at the circuit. Was he way slower while testing with the Jordan compared to the other Jordan test drivers. With Minardi he showed some good improvement, was it enough to close a deal with the Italians?
1. Patrick Friesacher, 1:11.150
1. Tiago Monteiro, 1:13.240
3. Chanoch Nissany, 1:14,780

His career would receive a boost after he tested for the first time with the Minardi Team. The 23th and 24th of November Nissany tested together with Tiago Monteiro and Patrick Friesacher at Misano. Minardi arrived there with two Minardi PS04B’s. Was Nissany with the Jordan way slower than the Jordan drivers, during his first test with the Minardi he showed some good progression. Was it enough to close a deal with the Italians?
Results 23 November:
1. Patrick Friesacher, 1:11.150
1. Tiago Monteiro, 1:13.240
3. Chanoch Nissany, 1:14,780

Results 24 November:
Will Power, 1:11,790
Will Davison 1:11,900
Chanoch Nissany 1:14,000

To answer the question. Yes it was enough to impress Minardi team principal Paul Stoddart to offer him a contract as their official test driver. Sure, the money he brought with him helped a lot to gain this test role. On the seconds of February 2005 Minardi held a press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. They proudly announced Chanoch Nissany as their official test driver. Paul Stoddart:
Although Chanoch has not competed in single-seater racing for that long, he nonetheless has experience of a wide range of machinery. As a result, we felt he could be of real assistance with the team’s test programme this year.”

His first appearance on the track as Minardi’s test driver was with the Minardi PS04B prepared with new aerodynamic improvements for on the Minardi PS05, on the 28th of April at Mugello.
1. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.646
2. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.756
3. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.764
4. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.899
5. Patrick Friesacher, Minardi PS05 (Bridgestone), 1:25.623
6. Christijan Albers, Minardi PS05 (Bridgestone), 1:27.417
7. Chanoch Nissany, Minardi PS04B (Bridgestone), 1:39.519

While Minardi showed some good improvement with their Minardi PS05 during the season, it would take a couple of months before he would test the Minardi PS05.  Nissany tested the Minardi on the 28th of July 2005 in what can be mentioned rare one-day Minardi test. Held at the Vallelunga circuit near Rome. Without major problems, Nissany successfully completed over 300 kilometres, which equals 93 laps in the PS05. The purpose of the test was to carry out a system check on the team’s spare chassis, and to assess new components and Software ahead of the German and Hungarian Grand Prix.  Nissany’s best time was a 1:07,624.

Just three weeks later Minardi came with the news that they would field a third car during the Friday Practice during the Hungarian Grand Prix. Nissany would appear behind the wheel of the PS05. Making him the first Israeli to play an official party in a championship round. Up today, he is still the only Israeli who did it.  However, why during the Hungarian Grand Prix?  Nissany resides in Budapest and speaks Hungarian. It would generate plenty of media interest, which was good for Minardi!

This was the weekend Chanoch Nissany would turn 42 and drive around the Hungaroring with the Minardi PS05. After a couple of round Nissany said on the board radio “Guys, I’m coming in, I’m having too much grip!” after the team did some improvements on the car he would beach himself in the gravel in Turn Four. A couple of round later. His best time was a 1:34,319 it was around six seconds slower then Nicolas Kiesa in the Jordan EJ15 who drove a best time of 1:28,230.

It was really exciting to take part in my first Formula One race weekend. I made two runs this morning, but unfortunately, this afternoon some technical issues arose with the car and couldn’t be fixed in the time available. I like the track here very much – it’s my home circuit – and it has been a big honour for me to have the opportunity to become the first Israeli to drive in a Grand Prix weekend.

Chanoch Nissany did what many never will be able to. He drove a Formula One car during a free practice. It doesn’t matter how his results were, he did it because he liked it and saw racing more as a hobby than a way to earn his money.  However, it was not the last time he appeared behind the wheel of the Minardi PS05.

Minardi had one last massive test session ahead held from 21 November until 24th of November 2005.  Chanoch Nissany would test the Minardi on all the four days as well would Katherine Legge. The last test week Minardi brought their three PS05 chassis to Vallellunga as well a pair of PS04Bs and four of the Minardi 2-seaters.
What many don’t know is that Nissany won in 2004 the Hungarian Formula 2000 series championship. A year later, he became runner-up to win the championship in 2006, 2007, and 2009 he would race in the series up to 2014 before he decided it was time to stop with racing.

This year his son Roy will make his debut with the Williams team, yes, he has much more talent than his father and I believe he is a 1000times better than Robert Kubica. Is he worth to become a Formula One driver? If Stroll is allowed to race in a Formula One car Roy defiantly should have his try out.