On the Way to Emilia Romagna GP: race schedule
Official: Imola behind closed doors
Following the government’s latest DPCM came the final decision on the expected Emilia Romagna GP.
The news had been in the air for a few days, since the last Government DPCM was issued in reference to the Coronavirus emergency in Italy. Now it has become official: the return of Formula 1 to the Imola circuit, for the long-awaited Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, will take place without a public. The resurgence of infections had prompted President Conte to close the major sporting events again to spectators and so it will be for the Circus weekend scheduled on the historic Santerno track.
In recent weeks F1 had begun to welcome spectators back to the stands, starting right from the Italian stage of Mugello. In Sochi and in Portugal in particular – seven days ago – fans showed up many in the stands, also reopening controversy as to whether or not this decision was correct. Despite the great work done by the organization at the level of prevention, therefore, the possibility of having spectators in the first GP hosted since 2006 at the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Racetrack vanishes.
Alfa Romeo, the F1 adventure continues
Alfa Romeo files all rumors about a possible farewell to Formula 1 by officially announcing the renewal of the partnership with Sauber Motorsport. This lengthens a relationship that began in 2018 and then strengthened in 2019 with the change of name of the Swiss team to Alfa Romeo Racing.
The announcement comes in a very special week, the one that leads to the return of Formula 1 to Imola after a 14-year absence. For the occasion, Alfa Romeo will bring a special livery on the track with the tricolor engraved on the top of the roll-hoop and on the side bands of the rear wing, as a tribute to the whole of Italy in the year of Biscione’s 110th birthday.
Here’s how imola weekend will be organized
Due to logistical problems the weekend will be focused on two days: Saturday and Sunday. Free practice 3 will last 90 minutes and will be held from 10:00 am to 11:30 am on Saturday. Qualifying will then be held regularly on Saturday afternoon, starting at 14:00. The race will be brought forward to 1.10 pm as the daylight hours in November are much lower than in spring and summer.
Race schedule (UTC+1)
Saturday 31th October:
- Free Practise 3 10:00-11:30
- Qualifying session 14:00-15:00
Sunday 1st November:
- Race 13:10-15:10
The characteristics of the track – F1 Emilia Romagna GP
The Enzo and Dino Ferrari International Racetrack is universally recognized as a very technical track, difficult to interpret, with rather complex curves and detached. Like many other ‘historic’ circuits in Europe, Imola was born as a road track immediately after the end of the Second World War, before turning into a permanent circuit and hosting the first Formula 1 race (without iridata validity) in 1963. Since then, the track has undergone several changes, many of them made in the last 14 years. After the tragic weekend of May 1994, a variant was made at the Tamburello curve with the aim of reducing speed since the escape route could not be extended. Recently the Lower Variant has been definitively eliminated so, from the exit of the Rivazza, the cars can go fully up to the Tamburello variant. The most spectacular points are the staccata of the Tosa curve which, compared to the “old” Imola has lost some charm because the single-seater arrive at braking not at maximum speed given the presence of the Villeneuve variant. At one time this curve was the object of several overtaking as the single-seater arrived in full and had to reduce the speed by a lot to face this wonderful curve. The stretch of mineral waters is also very suggestive. They are medium-fast curves that will maximize the balance of the cars. The Imola circuit measures 4909 meters and runs counterclockwise, with 12 curves on the left and 9 on the right. Unlike Portimao, it has a rather narrow road seat and it is therefore difficult to overtake, in favor of the race strategy.
Smooth asphalt won’t stress tires
Compared to the 2006 edition, the circuit has been reassessed. Now it’s pretty smooth and doesn’t particularly stress tires. Given the consistency of the asphalt and the average loads to which the tyres are subjected, Pirelli has decided to bring the intermediate-end compounds named as C4 the soft, C3 the medium and C2 the hard.
The back-to-back with Portimao imposes a different format at this race weekend: no activities on the track on Friday, only one 90-minute practice session on Saturday morning, followed by qualifying. For this reason, the allocation is different from the other races, with 10 sets of slick tires available to each driver throughout the weekend: 2 sets of hard, 2 sets of mediums and 6 sets of softs.
Aerodynamically, the right compromise will have to be found
At the aerodynamic load level the teams will have to find the right compromise as you will have to be very fast in the straights but it will take a lot of load to better face the medium-high speed curves. Simulations indicate that the recommended load is of a high level which should ensure the right compromise in terms of efficiency and aerodynamic balance.
Imola not only requires a large aerodynamic load, it is also quite severe with the braking system. The curbs in Imola are very high and the drivers have to pass on them aggressively to score good times. This quite fatigues some chassis and suspension components. As a rule, it is very difficult to overcome here, because the straights between the chicanes are too short to allow such a maneuver. It then becomes essential to find a good position in qualification and study a valid strategy.
Official: Gasly stays in AlphaTauri
Alpha Tauri and Pierre Gasly will also stay together in the next championship. The announcement came today from Faenza‘s team. Driver French, winner of this year’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza and second last year in Brazil, had been at the center of several market rumors that had brought him closer first to Red Bull and then more recently to Renault. At least for another year, however, rouen’s native will remain in the Italian team, the ‘second team’ of the Austrian group.
The choice of continuity is justified, in addition to the splendid performances shown on the track of the driver from across the Alps, also by the regulatory stability that will last for another season. It will then be interesting to understand what the future of the 2016 GP2 champion will be in 2022, at the time of the introduction of the new technical regulation and the farewell of the Honda power unit.