If you’re not keeping up to date on feeder series racing, Gabriele Minì might not be someone you’re familiar with. However, that will change in the future. This young Italian is excelling in single-seaters and has a bright future ahead.

Some names always stand out when you concentrate on the junior championships that lead to Formula One. Theo Pourhaire, Liam Lawson, Victor Martins, Arthur Leclerc… Among a field of dozens, these are drivers who always shine above their competitors, and, unsurprisingly, the F1 driver academies snap them up.

For me, Gabriele Minì is part of that group. Yet, at the time of writing, the 17-year-old has no affiliation with an F1 team. As such, when I sat down to interview Minì, I felt a privilege doing so with the pureness of his answers. Despite the bookcase behind him glistening with his countless trophies, he is not burdened by any PR-friendly obligations to any academy hand that feeds. With the trail Gabriele is blazing, I’m confident that won’t be the case for too long. This interview is raw Gabriele Minì, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Gabriele Minì // Dutch Photo Agency // Feler Canada Magazine - 7/11

Imola (ITA), May 6-8 2022 – Second round of Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine 2022 at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Gabriele Mini #46, ART Grand Prix. © 2022 Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency. //Fueler Canada Magazine – 7/11


Jim: For anybody unfamiliar with you, how can you best introduce yourself with what you’ve achieved and what you aim to achieve in your career?


Gabriele: I would say, first of all, I’m Gabriele Minì. I’m a young kid – I’m 17 years old. I’m from a city close to Palermo, and it all started thanks to my dad. When I was a 2-year-old, he gave me as a present – a go-kart. The first time, I was scared about the sound of the engine – by the noise of it. Then one morning, I just decided that I wanted to drive. So, we went to fix the pedals and stuff, and we went to a parking lot just to let me drive it. And then let’s say, day-by-day, we started going with the higher speed, also through different tracks.


Then at four, I started doing races but staying in the street circuits – ones that we could find that they made for just two days of racing. And then the level started growing. We started going on tracks. We started doing regional, for example, in Sicily and championships. And then we started going to a higher level, the south zone – this all still when I was seven years old or eight. And then, when I was nine, we started going to Italian and WSK. We also started going into FIA events. And then onto cars from 2020 and last year.


Jim: Quite a journey, a lot of racing, a lot of time spent in the cockpit. Which, I expect, explains why you got so many trophies behind you. Since you made it to single-seaters, you’ve always been with what I would call the powerhouse teams. The equivalents of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, for anybody unfamiliar with the lower levels. What are the similarities and differences between them?


Gabriele: Well, for sure, they are all, as you said, power teams. They are really, really good. They work in different ways, of course. The atmosphere is the thing that changes mainly. Of course, when going into a team that speaks the same language, like PREMA – who are also known for the media side – the atmosphere is good. There is also fun… Not saying that there is not in the others!

Now, of course, especially after a second year with ART (Minì’s current team), we are getting more and more familiar. We’re always getting a really good relationship. It’s like the team becomes a second family. So, of course, now there is that kind of relationship with ART.

I only had the opportunity to work with Hitech for four weekends. But the atmosphere got pretty good, very quickly. With the team boss and with all the engineers there, it was very good. So yeah, I would say they are all three really, really good teams.

Imola (ITA), May 6-8 2022 – Second round of Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine 2022 at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Gabriele Mini #46, ART Grand Prix. © 2022 Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency. //Fueler Canada Magazine – 7/11


Jim: You mentioned Hitech, and this winter, you’ve had a bit of a different time preparing for the season with Formula Regional Asia. How did that affect your preparation for the European season?

Gabriele: For sure, it helped a lot. I think because that championship, let’s say it’s a championship where if you want to take some big risks without hurting yourself, like racing-wise, you can. You can afford it. Even if you make a mistake or you lose some positions, it’s not that it doesn’t matter, but it does not affect the full season, which is the main championship – the European one.

So it helps a lot because I could fight as hard as I wanted. I could take risks. I also got some race wins. Of course, the car is a little bit different with the tires and the engine, but it’s always good to be inside the car and to drive it. It’s always a good gym and good training for the actual championship that we are doing now.


Jim: Do you feel that it’s made you stronger for this season?


Gabriele: I think, driving-wise, it’s just been training. Of course, I also improved there because the more you drive, the better you get. But the main difference, I think, was on the battle side. On track, side-by-side… that’s what changed me there.


Jim: How’s your relationship with everybody in the paddock? Do you have any particular people you are friendly with or have any rivalries with?


Gabriele: As you can imagine, you can’t have like a big friendship in racing. On track, I have respect for everyone, but there are no friends on track. Outside of the track, I’m quite good friends with all my teammates from F4 that I had.


Also, there are other drivers that I’ve known since I was like nine years old. So, for example, (Leonardo) Fornaroli, I know him well. We play on the sim sometimes. So yeah, I would say he is the one I have the best relationship with out of racing. And, of course, when you have a teammate, let’s say the teammate is the person you pass the most time with. So, of course, you get in into a good relationship. But on track, your teammate is your first rival.

Barcelona (ESP), MAR 23-24 2022 – First pre-season test of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine 2022 at Circuit Barcelona Cataluyna. Gabriele Mini #46, ART Grand Prix. © 2022 Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency.// Fueler Canada Magazine – 7/11


Jim: You were relatively unknown going into Italian F4 in 2020. Last year in 2021, you weren’t expected to be a title challenger, just making that step up to FRECA. But 2022 is slightly different. You’re a second-season driver. Some people consider you one of the title favorites, including myself. Do you feel any difference in that pressure, and how are you handling that?


Gabriele: Well, for me, of course, I know this year the mindset needs to be different. It’s not that, for example, when you’re a rookie… I’m not saying you don’t go there to win… but you know that you can afford a few more mistakes.


Of course, you can afford less when you’re in the second year in the same category because you’re supposed to know the car much better [after] driving it for a lot of time. To be honest, this doesn’t change on track for me. The pressure that I feel in the races is the same. Because last year, the first year with the car, and this year, I always want to win on track. So, for me, the pressure that I feel is the same.

Imola (ITA), May 6-8 2022 – Second round of Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine 2022 at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Gabriele Mini #46, ART Grand Prix. © 2022 Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency. // Fueler Canada Magazine – 7/11


Jim: Do you feel you are going into the races happier knowing what to expect in FRECA than you were 12 months ago?


Gabriele: Well, the thing is, as you can imagine, the tracks always change. Everything changes. So yeah, you can kind of expect what is going to happen in a race, but you cannot be sure one hundred percent. So, I think, at least myself, I never know what to expect from a race.


You actually understand it moment by moment. So after the start, you know where you are, and you start managing the race as it’s going. So you grow confidence during the race, especially when you know you have the pace, but you cannot be fully sure of what is going to happen… As we saw, for example, in Monza (where an incident dropped Minì from the podium to out the points).


Jim: Dennis Hauger won Italian F4 and then went straight to FIA F3. Ollie Bearman has done the same. Was that ever a consideration for you?


Gabriele: I think…as you said, they passed through directly from F4 to F3. For me, I thought, at first, it was a really, really big step. Maybe it was possible to do, but now that I see how much F3 Regional is making me grow up, especially from last year…


Remembering all of the tough times when I had to learn everything. I think that helped quite a lot, especially for this season. We decided together with all the people that surround me, my management, and everyone… We decided to go into FRECA and do it for one more year to learn even more. And I think we made a good choice. If I was back in F4, knowing what happens now, I would do the same thing.


Jim: One last question. What’s one thing outside of motorsports that people don’t know about Gabriele Minì?


Gabriele: I think that no one knows that I’m… not addicted to, but I have a lot of passion for Rubik’s cube. I always play. I’ve always liked playing it. I’ve been using it for the past four years, and once you start to get to know what it takes to be faster and faster, for me, it’s something really interesting.


I just like to do it, and now I can do it in 15 to 20 seconds. Considering I started doing it four years ago in one minute 30, I think it is not bad to have gotten to 15 seconds!

Gabriele Minì // Dutch Photo Agency // Feler Canada Magazine – 7/11


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