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The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: track, history and numbers

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix makes a comeback after two years. The Autodromo in Imola is ready for more actions to add to its history.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will open the European leg of the Formula 1 2024 season. From May 17th to 19th, the circus will be at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino FerrariThe last time it stopped in Imola was in May 2022, while the FIA had to cancel the 2023 GP.

Moreover, it will be the first home Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari, with the Tifosi ready to celebrate the Cavallino, and for Racing Bulls F1 Team.

The track Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari

The track is in the countryside of Imola, in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna. It is 4.909 km long, with one DRS zone and 19 corners. The drivers will have to complete 63 laps counterclockwise.

Its name comes from Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the Scuderia, and his son Dino. In fact, in 1970 it had only the name of Autodromo Dino Ferrari, an homage to the Drake’s son after his tragic passing. Following Ferrari’s death in 1988, his name appeared alongside his son’s.

Enzo Ferrari quite liked this track, he even supported its construction, and he defined the Autodromo as “the most interesting track in Italy”. For this reason, he encouraged to add it to the Formula 1 calendar.

Originally, the track was used for motorcycle racing. It wasn’t until 1980 that F1 made its debut in Emilia Romagna with the San Marino Grand Prix. Since then, the circus raced in Imola until 2006, for 26 years. And it was a Ferrari driver to win the last edition of the GP, the seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher.

Unfortunately, the circuit has been the scenario of one of the most tragic events in the history of motorsport. In 1994, Ratzenberger and the champion Ayrton Senna lost their lives while racing in Imola. For this reason, the track has undergone substantial changes, especially in the areas of the Variante Alta, Tamburello and Acque Minerali.

Due to some renovation works, the Autodromo was excluded from F1 starting from the 2007 season. It only came back in 2020 with the creation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The history of the Grand Prix

This GP is a recent addition to the Championship. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FIA had to make some changes to the calendar in 2020. Mainly, the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix. To compensate, they decided to add another race in Italy and, finally, Formula 1 came back in Imola after 14 years.

According to the rules, there can’t be two Grand Prix with the same name. Since Monza hosted the Italian GP and to honor the region, FIA created the Emirates Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in 2020. The traditional name of San Marino Grand Prix disappeared. Also, for the 2020 season, Italy hosted three races: Imola, Monza and the Toscania Grand Prix.

In 2021, the Grand Prix made it to the calendar once again, and in 2022 it held one of the three Sprint races.

2023 was a sorrowful year for the Italian region. A flood hit the Emilia Romagna, causing damage to the population and to infrastructure. The local government decided for a red alert for the heavy rains. So, for security reasons, it was decided to cancel the Grand Prix for that year.

The Hall of Fame

The first edition of the Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton get the trophy. The British driver shared the podium with his teammate Valtteri Bottas, a Mercedes driver back then. Bottas also marked the fastest lap ever on the track with his pole position (1’13”609). Daniel Ricciardo, in Renault at the time, closed the 2020 podium.

The invincible Max Verstappen was the winner of the 2021 and 2022 Emilia Romagna GPs. In 2021, Lewis Hamilton was on the podium with him, during their iconic rivalry that season. Lando Norris with his McLaren were third.

In 2022, the Grand Prix had a 1-2 finish for Red Bull, with the Dutchman and Sergio Perez. Then, again, Norris completed the podium.

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