Ferrari customer influence weakening - Minardi

Ferrari customer influence weakening - Minardi
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Former F1 boss Giancarlo Minardi believes Ferrari's power over its customer teams may be waning, putting the relevancy of its young driver program at risk.

The Haas F1 Team, considered by many as the Scuderia's 'B' team, announced last week that Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen would remain with the US outfit next season.

The announcement quashes  a potential opportunity for Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi to step up to a full-time drive in F1.

With current engine partner Sauber still linked to Honda for 2018, possibilities for members of Ferrari's young driver program to serve an apprenticeship in F1 have practically vanished, a state of affairs which worries Minardi.

"It would be a defeat for the entire Ferrari system for young drivers," said Minardi.

"It would then be obvious that Ferrari drivers do not enjoy any protection.

"Ferrari would no longer have any decision-making power over its customers, but for now I refuse to think of such a scenario," he added.

Referring to Haas' decision to extend the contracts of its current driver line-up, Minardi believes it is a missed opportunity for the Scuderia.

"I remain optimistic and I want to think it is only a move to maintain the serenity within a team that is doing very well, with the goal of winning as many points in the second half of the season," he concluded.

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