A Minardi that took part in the 1998 Formula One world championship is currently on sale in the UK. Frame M198-01, the single-seater proposed on RM Sotheby’s made its official debut in the Australian Grand Prix of the same year, with Shinji Nakano at the wheel: a rather unfortunate start for the Japanese driver, who after qualifying in 22nd position was forced to retire on lap 8 due to a transmission shaft failure.
The same car was later used in the Brazilian Grand Prix: on that occasion Nakano himself managed to improve his qualifying placement, setting the 18th time, but the race proved to be an ordeal for him, which once again was forced to retire after only three laps due to a spin. The last appearance of the single-seater in that F1 world championship went much better, on the occasion of the Argentine Grand Prix, when the Japanese driver finished the race with a respectable 13th place. After that Formula One season, the Minardi specimen in question was used as show car from Fondmetal, with the livery that was updated to match the 1999 Minardi F1 car. The Italian team kept the car until 2001, before selling it to a production company that used it as a film prop.
Then we come to 2011, when the Minardi F1 chassis M198-01 was bought by Graham North, who sent it to Tour-De-Force-Engineering, more commonly known as TDF, to be restored. It was TDF himself who got in touch with the Minardi team, in order to be able to buy many spare parts directly from the Formula One team. In about a year and a half, the Italian single-seater was rebuilt from scratch, and was subsequently taken to the track on numerous famous circuits, from Brands Hatch to Spa-Francorchamps. The car is now on sale at a price of 425,000 pounds, the equivalent of around 500,000 euros.
Images: RM Sotheby’s
FP | Andrea Trezza
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