Teams that have been in F1 but aren't any more are legion, the record books are strewn with long-discarded F1 team names. Teams that have succeeded in F1 but aren't here any more are much thinner on the ground, Lotus, Maserati and Brabham are a few examples. Such teams are remembered, talked about, and figure in everyday conversation, at least among petrolheads "of a certain age". There are other teams that have been in F1, aren't here any more, but despite a lack of achievement (wins, WDCs and WCCs) have nevertheless made an impact. This isn't a thread devoted to heroic failures, however, it's about celebrating that some teams seem to put a lot more back into F1 than they ever took out, and prime among that ever so rare breed has to be Minardi. Their record in F1 amounts to 21 seasons, no WDCs, no WCCs, and 38 points from 345 races, although to be absolutely fair that was in the days when only the top 6 drivers got points, not like today when you get 25 for a win and you can almost get a point just for turning up. Here are some examples. Team Ethic. Minardi was always regarded as one of the "nicest" teams for so many reasons. They were noticeably "uncorporate" in that they had what amounts to an open door policy when it came to their dealings with other teams, journalists, commentators, the paddock in general and their fans who, though never facing the prospect of celebrating a WDC, were nevertheless intensely loyal and committed in a very personal way, something that teams such as Ferrari (Tifosi excepted because they're all mad anyway justifiably fanatical) and McLaren can only really achieve as long as they keep winning, and that RedBull are unlikely to achieve for many years, if they even last that long in F1 which is debatable. There's also anecdotal evidence that Minardi had the best espresso in F1! (And if that doesn't nail it I don't know what will !!) Drivers. Some Minardi Old Boys names you may recognize - Alonso and Webber (who scored a rare 5th place for Minardi and 2pts on his Minardi and F1 debut in his home GP) are still towards the front of the rankings and today's grids, Trulli and Fisichella are still very much in living memory among those with even the shortest F1 memories. All of these, as well as being Minardi Old boys, are also GP winners. Other well-known Minardi drivers (in absolutely no order whatsoever) include Pierluigi Martini, Alex Zanardi, Christian Fittipaldi, Pedro Lamy, Luca Badoer, Marc Gene, Anthony Davidson, Zsolt Baumgartner (the first Hungarian driver ever to score F1 points, and for Minardi!), Michele Alboreto, and Jos Verstappen. Adrian Campos and Luiz Perez-Sala both drove for Minardi in 1988 - I wonder what became of them? (OK, crib sheet time, Campos founded what is now HRT and Perez-Sala became Team Principal of HRT this season) Among other Minardi Old Boys, Aldo Costa was Technical Director from 1989 to 1995. He later went on to become Designer and Technical Director at Ferrari (1995-2011) and is now Engineering Director at Mercedes GP. At one point Minardi set (and still hold) the record of having the only all-Dutch driver pairing in F1 with Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos (famously referred to by Martin Brundle in commentary as "door knobs") in their (final) 2005 season. Cars. For a privateer team with pathetic money of their own and not exacly a surplus of sponsors Minardi managed to make cars that outperformed their budgets. So often they were out of the points (when only six drivers got them), but equally so often far higher than their last-place budget should have merited. They were the first F1 team in the modern era to make use of customer engines, Ferrari in 1991, switching to V12 Lamborghini mills in 1992. Controversies. At one point (in 1996) they were part co-owned by Flavio Briatore. Least said about that the better, after all, it was only one year ! Indianapolisgate (US Grand Prix 2005). Michelin runners were unable to run because Michelin had, not to mince words, brought the wrong tyres to the meeting. FP and Quali had been a mess and Michelin had had to withdraw their certification that their tyres were safe to race, so by the time the race itself came only the Bridgestone runners were fit to race. (The entire catalogue of cock-ups and counter-cockups you can read for yourself if you have a spare evening!) That left Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi able to race on Bridgestones. All the other (Michelin-shod) teams had agreed that to avoid legal ramifications they would complete the formation lap (thereby legally starting the race therefore avoiding being sued) and then immediately pit for (perfectly understandable) safety reasons. In solidarity, Jordan (Eddie) and Minardi (Paul Stoddart) had agreed that they too would pit all their drivers after the formation lap thereby leaving Ferrari on their own in the mire alongside FIA and FOM who between them were blamed for not selecting any one of half a dozen suitable and safe alternatives that would have allowed the race to carry on in full. However as Ferrari lined up in their gridslots and Michelin runners pitted, Jordan inexplicably failed to pit as agreed (a rare lapse of judgement on Eddie's part), therefore Stoddart felt, justifiably, that to avoid unfairly losing Concorde Agreement prize money to Jordan, his drivers had to line up for the start as well. The rest is history. Personally my abiding memory is of Stoddart being the only player to come out of that distasteful episode with any credit at all. Politics. Stoddart was a vociferous campaigner among team principals and punched considerably above his weight, often seemingly adopting positions in public that principals of more successful teams were loath to commit to publicly, frequently calling for the removal of Max Mosley from the FIA, and arguing for what we now know as the RRA ("Resource Restriction Agreement" or level playing field). He also argued for independent teams to be able to buy cheaper engines in return for supporting the works teams in opposing unpopular rule changes proposed by the FIA, such as the proposed ban on traction control (2004). Heirs and Successors. Minardi left F1 at the end of the 2005 season, but Stoddart achieved his aim of selling the team to whoever (out of apparently 41 potential buyers) would a) be able to take the team forward and b) keep them based in Faenza, in Italy. Step forward Red Bull, who bought the team and renamed it ToroRosso, with the aim of running it as RedBull's rookie team, whose first F1 points were scored by Liuzzi, and whose first pole, podium and victory were scored by a young chap called Sebastian Vettel (Italy 2008). They're still based in Stoddart and Minardi's base in Faenza, Italy. The Minardi name may no longer adorn a F1 garage but with Webber (by rights) and Vettel (by grandfather rights) their influence lingers on.