Featured Image by Marpol on Wikimedia Commons
The Portuguese Grand Prix, held a fortnight ago, saw Lewis Hamilton & Mercedes emerge victorious, while Valtteri Bottas finished second, and Max Verstappen rounded off the podium. Hamilton’s win saw him eclipse Michael Schumacher’s race win record of 91 wins, while dealing yet another blow to Valtteri Bottas’ title fight.
This weekend, we find ourselves in Italy for the third time this season, with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Formula One returns to the historic Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari for a one-off event, after a 14 year absence.
Ahead of the weekend’s first on-track action, we take a look at things to lookout this weekend
The Circuit – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari
The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, also simply known as Imola, is a permanent motorsports complex located outside the town of Imola. The track is named after the late Enzo Ferrari, and his son, Alfredo Ferrari.
The track features a total of 2 configurations, a Grand Prix circuit, and a Motorcycle circuit. Formula One will use the 4.909 km Grand Prix circuit, without the Variante Bassa Chicane. The circuit is no stranger to Formula One, previously hosting the San Marino Grand Prix from 1980-2006. However, the circuit has undergone changes since Formula One’s last visit, with the elimination of the Variante Bassa Chicane on the Start/Finish straight in 2008, alongside a new pit complex with a longer pitlane.
Today, Imola features a mix of medium to fast corners, alongside a series of elevation changes in the second sector. A Single DRS Zone is located on the start/finish straight.
Things to Watch:
How much overtaking can we expect to see this weekend? For Formula One fans who desire to see some overtaking action, the outlook appears to be not so good….
Imola is circuit with a reputation for being hard to overtake at, and with a single DRS zone, it appears like that we will only see overtakes on the start/finish straight on the run to Tamburello…
How will a lack of data affect teams?
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Weekend will be held over 2 days, unlike the traditional 3 day weekend. Will this affect the pecking order?
Earlier in the season, the Eifel Grand Prix saw Friday running curtailed due to weather, resulting in just 2 days of on-track running, alongside a single practice session. From the Eifel Grand Prix, we can make the following deductions: In the front of the field, expect to see little to no change in the pecking order. In the midfield however, expect to see a potential shake up in the pecking order, as the close performance of the cars leave little room to error for those teams…
This weekend has seen the debate over track limits spring up again, with drivers taking opposing sides on the issue. This comes after numerous drivers wound up breaching track limits in practice & subsequently qualifying. The situation in practice resulted in drivers forcing changes to the limits at the exits of turn 13 & 15 following practice.
Despite the expanded track limits, expect the issue to continue today in the race, as drivers push the limits, in a bid to take places, especially in the opening laps, with the track’s reputation for being notorious to overtake at…
The fight for 4th
Pierre Gasly stormed to 4th in Q3 yesterday, setting a blistering lap of 1:14.502. Given the narrow nature of the Imola circuit, overtaking will be a challenge. Starting alongside him however, is none other than Daniel Ricciardo, well known for his aggressive overtakes. Expect a close fight between the 2 on the run down to Tamburello corner, for the victor could realistically hold onto the place for the rest of the race. However, there is still more than 1 contender for 4th, Gasly aside.
Behind the duo sits Alex Albon & Charles Leclerc. Alex Albon is currently under much pressure at Red Bull, and will most certainly be seeking to chase down Gasly, to avoid yet another embarrassment after Q3. The Anglo-Thai driver is under much pressure to perform, after last week’s miserable result at the Portuguese Grand Prix. In order to retain his seat, beating a “lesser” AlphaTauri is an absolute must for him.
Starting alongside Albon is Leclerc. Like Ricciardo, Leclerc is a rather aggressive driver, and while he may be held back by the limitations of the Ferrari PU and chassis, he will certainly be on the attack at the start of the race..