Behind-closed-door Imola race to run a condensed schedule

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The organisers of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix have announced that the 13th round of the season at the historic race track will be run behind closed doors.

Although Imola hoped to allow 13,000 spectators into the track on both days of the race weekend, the track was forced to change its plans following the Italian government’s latest decisions. The new ruling has banned spectators from attending this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The number coronavirus cases has increased in Italy across the last weeks just as in most of the European countries with the Italian government hoping to slow the spread of the virus by banning crowds at events.

The condensed nature of the calendar meant that Formula One needed to define an unusual schedule for this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The championship raced in Portugal just a few days ago and the action continues in Italy this weekend which means that teams are facing a huge logistical challenge to transport all their equipment and set up their facilities at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

Formula One has come up with the idea of a condensed two-day schedule in order to ensure that teams can cope with the tight time frame. There will be only a single free practice session on Saturday morning that will last for 90 minutes.

Ahead of the qualifying session, there will be a two-and-a-half-hour gap that represents a 30 minutes longer break than usual to give teams time to evaluate what they learned in the 90-minute practice session.

There will also be two driver briefings – one on Friday and one on Saturday. In the first meeting, Michael Masi and the drivers can discuss the topics that came up at last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix. The second meeting will take place between the single practice session and qualifying when drivers can reflect on problems, such as track limits or kerbs, that they experienced in the 90-minute session.

Pirelli has also made adjustements to the tyre allocation. The Milan-based company will provide teams the three compounds in the middle of its range. While drivers usually have an allocation of 13 sets of dry tyres, they will have 10 sets at Imola: two sets of C2, two C3, and six C4. Three sets have to be returned after practice to prevent teams from piling up tyres for the qualifying session.