In its 1999 model, the team from Faenza introduced the new numbering of Minardi models. The M01 should mark the new beginning for the Italian team. It was the second season when always-small-budget Minardi was backed by Fondmetal company. In addition Giancarlo Minardi agreed with Spanish telecom giant Telefonica to sponsor the team, and Spanish rookie Marc Gene was signed to maintain the interest of Spanish business and public to F1. It is important to note that neither Gene nor the first driver Badoer were rent-a-drive pilots. Both were paid by the team. Despite some technical improvements, the M01 designed by Gustav Brunner and powered by Ford-Zetec V10, was able to compete only in the back of the peloton battling with Arrows and BAR. However Minardi scored their first points in four years when Marc Gene finished sixth in the European Grand Prix at Nurburgring.
|Marc Gene||21||Fondmetal Minardi Team|