The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for the entire world with Formula One’s 2020 calendar also featuring an unprecedented schedule. This weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is the third race in Italy this year following two frenetic rounds at Monza and Mugello.
While Monza is always a big success because of its unique layout and Ferrari’s emotional fans, the Tifosi, Mugello also quickly became one of drivers’ favourite circuits thanks to its flowing nature and blindingly quick corners.
Following the first day of action at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola seems to join this group of popular circuit. All drivers climbed out of their cars with a big smile after the sole practice session for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as
Legendary circuit - Today’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be the first race at Imola to bear this title, but it will be the 28th race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. When it comes to all Formula One races in Italy, it will be the 100th occasions for the sport to visit the country. The circuit hosted the Italian Grand Prix once when it took over this important role from Monza in 1980.
A popular venue - The track was inaugurated as a semi-permanent venue in 1953. In April 1953, the first motorcycle races took place, while the first car race took place in June 1954. The track played host to its first Formula One race in 1963 as a non-championship event, won by Jim Clark for Lotus. Imola officially debuted on the Formula One calendar in 1980. The event was won by Nelson Piquet and it was such a success that the sport continued to visit the venue, albeit under the name of the San Marino Grand Prix.
Middle range - Pirelli chose the middle three tyres in its range: C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft. This trio of compound is a step softer than the one seen at Portimao just a week ago. The Milan-based tyre supplier explained its choice with the recent work at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit that has been re-asphalted since F1 last race there, meaning that the asphalt is generally quite smooth, and doesn’t put too much stress on the tyres.
Tyre knowledge – During the sole practice session and the qualifying, 100 sets of softs, 22 sets of medium and 19 sets of hard tyres were used by the 20 drivers. Sebastian Vettel completed the longest distance on the C2 compound with a total of 28 laps on the same set. Daniil Kvyat covered the longest mileage on the C3 rubber with a total of 28 laps while Räikkönen tested the C4 compound in the most extreme way by completing 23 laps on the same set of red-walled tyres.
Medium-length – The Imola circuit has a length of 4909m which makes it an average track in terms of length on the current calendar. Drivers will need to complete 63 laps in total this afternoon to cover the race distance of 309.276km. There is an offset between the start and finish line, equivalent to 218m.
A narrow circuit – Although the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari provides drivers a flowing rhythm, it sports quite a narrow layout which makes overtaking rather difficult. In spite of this, FIA could only mandate a single DRS zone due to the characteristics of the track. The detection zone of this single DRS zone will be 40m after Turn 18 while the activation will be on the finishing line.
One-stop – Following the qualifying session, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli indicated that both the one-stop and two-stop strategy could turn out to be a successful tactical approach, but the narrow nature of the circuit could drive teams towards minimizing the number of pit visits. Drivers will need to adhere to a speed limit of 80 kph in the pit lane.
The seven-time champion - The most successful driver at Imola is Michael Schumacher with seven victories. The great German recorded a win for Benetton while he took his six other Imola wins with Ferrari. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost both won three times while the British pair of Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill are the only two-time winners at Imola.
The most successful teams - Ferrari and Williams are tied on eight victories at Imola. McLaren secured six wins in total in Imola with its latest win recorded by David Coulthard in the 1998 San Marino Grand Prix.
The most successful engine supplier - When it comes to the engine manufacturers, Ferrari and Renault are tied on eight victories, followed by Honda with the Japanese engine supplier having recorded a total of four wins.