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  Article Image gallery (14) M189/002 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1989
Designed by:Aldo Costa and Nigel Couperwaithe for Minardi
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 25, 2019
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the first three seasons in Formula 1, the Minardi team ran the rarely competitive Motori Moderni V6 engine designed by Carlo Chiti of Alfa Romeo fame. The switch to the readily available and very reliable Ford Cosworth DFR in 1988 brought the first World Championship point for the team. It powered the M188, which had been designed by Giacomo Caliri and constantly improved by new technical director Aldo Costa.

For 1989, there was the promise, or perhaps threat, of a new flat-12 engine designed by Chiti and funded by Subaru. This delayed the development of Costa's new M189 but when it finally appeared, during the fourth round of the championship, it fortunately sported the latest Ford Cosworth DFZ V8. Displacing just under the 3.5-litre limit, it produced well over 600 bhp. This power was fed to the rear wheels through Minardi's own six-speed gearbox.

To some extent, the M189 was an evolution of the existing Minardi as the suspension Costa had revised during the 1988 season was carried. This was bolted on a new carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, which was relatively narrow and featured longer side-pods compared to the M188 previously used. The wholly conventional aerodynamics were designed by Nigel Couperwaite. Retained to drive the M189 were Pierluigi Martini and Luis Pérez-Sala.

The M189's debut at the Mexican Grand Prix was far from a success as Pérez-Sala failed to qualify and Martini retired early. By round eight, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the new car bugs were finally ironed out as Martini and Pérez-Sala finished fifth and sixth. Martini also impressed during qualifying during the second half of the season and also briefly led a Grand Prix. Eventually he would go on to finish in the points twice more.

By far the most successful Minardi Grand Prix racer to that date, the M189 was used again for the opening rounds of the 1990 season but Martini could do no better than seventh and eighth place finishes. It would take Minardi quite a few years to better the six points scored in 1989 and it would only do so twice with seven in 1993 and again in 2005 but by then the top ten scored points. The only Minardi to lead a race, the M189 was also the first glimpse of talent of designer Costa, whose later creations include the 2014 and 2015 World Championship winning Mercedes-Benz cars.

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  Article Image gallery (14) M189/002 Specifications