Mark Webber did the impossible finishing fifth with the Minardi PS02 at his home Grand Prix. It was even his very first Grand Prix! The footage crossed the world everyone must have seen it. How after the Australian Grand Prix both Paul Stoddart and Mark Webber enjoyed a bottle of nice champagne. Celebrating the two points as a victory. Especially after 2001 when it was unsure if the team would even appear on the grid. It is the same team that has been criticised in their existing. They were slow, unable to develop their cars and all they were driving chicanes and field filling. Interestingly, with those criticizing notes you could say that last season there were four teams doing even a more terrible job then Minardi has done in 2002!
Alfa Romeo (now known as Kick Sauber), Williams Racing (the once mighty team), Haas and Alpha Tauri (now known as Ca$h App team) were the four teams. Their best results were a couple of second places. In 2002 good for zero points, indeed zero points. If you ask me, it is a luxury that the top ten gets points. From 2003 onwards, the top eight gained points until it became the top ten. Prior 2003 only the top six finishers would gain points and therefore money. That made the races more exciting when an AGS, Coloni, Zakspeed or an Osella had a good Grand Prix weekend. Qualifying in the top know, smelling the points, knowing they could do it. Therefore, an AGS scoring points was an exciting moment in the Formula One. I wrote about the backmarker teams previously if they were really that bad.
If you look at it in that perspective plenty of the teams we called backmarkers and driving chicanes did a decent job. Especially, if you compare them with the teams we have on the grid today. There are only ten teams, while in 1991 eighteen teams on the grid! Fighting in pre-qualifying for a spot in the qualification for a Grand Prix. Sure there were hopeless teams as my buddy Jeroen Demmendaal wrote about in his book Formule Hopeloos (buy it!). However, plenty did a much better job. For example, March/LeytonHouse scored in 1991 just one point with a sixth place during the Hungarian Grand Prix by Ivan Capelli. With the current point system, the team would have scored 34 points. It is more than the four teams just mentioned.
Minardi in 1991 is even a better example. In 1991 they six points, with today’s point system they would have scored 50 points! There are more examples of teams in those years who did the impossible by finishing sixth or fifth once during a season. It is something the four teams failed to do In 2023. Williams and Haas had even worst seasons the last ten years scoring no points at all. It meant they weren’t able to even finish tenth during a Grand Prix. Sure, you can bring up the comment that the reliability is much better these days. However, back then, the grid was much fuller with teams then it is today.
Why aren’t we asking ourselves what the value from teams as Haas and Williams is today on the grid. Teams like Minardi used to be bashed for their results during the season. Bashed for their faults and tragic occurring during the season. However, this is also happening with teams today on the grid and we just accept it. It is also these teams that don’t want, I believe, Andretti in the Formula One or any other team. They will be left out of the money laundry and eventually go bankrupt. I think it is time that we fans are questioning the value of these teams on the grid. I mean, what else is more fun then a Minardi finishing fifth and celebrating it as a win?
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