Giancarlo Minardi had racing in his blood: his grandfather had run a Fiat dealership in the 1920s and his father had raced his own cars in the postwar era. Giancarlo himself entered customer Formula Two cars in the 1970s under the name Scuderia Everest, before in 1979 securing finance to construct his own cars, setting up Minardi Racing. First entering Formula Two in 1980, Minardi commissioned Giacomo Caliri’s FLY studio to design a chassis, which used BMW engines and in 1981 the team won the Misano race with Michele Alboreto at the wheel. After four moderately successful seasons, Giancarlo Minardi decided during 1984 to prepare for a 1985 Formula One entry and Caliri designed the M185 to be their first challenger, and also to be easily adapted to Formula 3000, which was replacing F2 from 1985 onwards. Initially, the plan had been to use Alfa Romeo engines, but when designer Carlo Chiti left Alfa Romeo to form his own engine manufacturer, Motori Moderni, Minardi went with him to be his first F1 customer. The new engine would not be ready intially, so Minardi would enter the first few races with Ford power.
One of three new teams in F1, Minardi were the only ones planning to enter a full season.
Martini had family connections with the Minardi family, not to mention a bit of Grand Prix experience, so in some ways he was a shoo-in for the seat. However, he had looked hopelessly out of his depth in the Toleman during his one weekend with them, and there were some raised eyebrows when he was confirmed by the Faenza outfit to lead the challenge in their first year in F1. However, perhaps in more comfortable surroundings and in less of a media spotlight following the Senna saga, he might do a little better.