Bad news from Imola

imola glood

Hey there, Gearheads! 👋

First of all, welcome to the 461 of you who joined us in the last week. We were getting ready for an amazing weekend in Italy, but we’ve got some pretty bad news.

The Imola GP has been cancelled.

Probably a lot of you will be disappointed, but F1 and the authorities have made the right call in order to minimise the impact to both us as fans, as well as the teams.

Here’s the official announcement:

Hope everyone in Imola is safe and no casualties will occur.

In today’s email:

  1. Pit Lane Gossip – Detailed information about the latest happenings ahead of the weekend
  2. In-depth education: Imola GP History: From San Marino to Emilia Romagna
  3. Fast Lane News – Short news to get you up to speed with the latest F1 updates
  4. The Imola GP – All about the race & circuit.

Let’s get going…

f1 race reviewPit Lane Gossip

🛞 F1 intended to shake things up with new qualifying rules for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. We’ll need to see where they intend to apply the news rules.

Drivers are now down to 11 sets of tyres for the weekend, a cut from the usual 13, and the type of tyre for each qualifying round is set:

⚪️ Hard for Q1
🟡 Medium for Q2
🔴 Soft for Q3

This isn’t just about adding a bit of tyre tension to the race, it’s also about reducing carbon footprints. Fewer tyres mean fewer to manufacture and ship, potentially saving almost 1000 tyres over a 20-car grid season – it’s like a diet plan for Pirelli’s carbon emissions!

And remember, what happens in Imola doesn’t stay in Imola. These rule changes are a bit of a test run, with another outing later in the 2023 season and possibly more in 2024.

🟨 Ricciardo to AlphaTauri rumors quickly shut down

Despite a rocky start to the 2023 season, de Vries’ seat at AlphaTauri is still warm.

The Dutch rookie, who dazzled at his debut with Williams, has been playing bumper cars rather than racing, causing speculation about a quick sub with Red Bull’s reserve, Daniel Ricciardo.

However, Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport boss, is holding the red card close to his chest. He admits de Vries needs to up his game, but assures no changes are imminent.

Should de Vries continue to stumble, Marko suggests it’s more likely we’ll see fresh talent from their pool, namely Liam Lawson or Ayumu Iwasa, rather than Ricciardo stepping in. – Read more

This year, we need to say the truth: Red Bull did a better job than the others, it’s a fact. But I would be imprudent to say the championship is finished. We cannot intervene in the performance of the teams. I am sure what we did in terms of financial regulations will help to minimise the gap on the technical side.

Stefano Domenicali about intervening in regulations to combat Red Bull dominance

🤷🏼‍♂️ Toto Wolff is trying to soften expectations in advance of the new upgrades

While a major upgrade package for Imola was indeed on its way, Wolff is playing it cool, warning that it may not be a magical leap forward for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Still, this upgrade package – featuring a new front wheel suspension, trim parts, and an underbody – might just be what they need.

However, don’t expect a fairy tale transformation. Wolff’s been around the F1 block long enough to know that magic bullets are as rare as a quiet day on the racetrack. He’s hopeful yet cautious, reminding us that the real world isn’t as forgiving as virtual simulations.

This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and Mercedes has three back-to-back races to figure out if their upgrade is a prince or a frog. Let’s just hope for their sake it doesn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight! – Read more(DE)

👇🏼 Here’s a short recap of what teams are bringing to the table in terms of upgrades for the next races.

🤝 F1’s razzle-dazzle splits fans, but US businesses love it.

While F1’s Americanization divides opinions, US companies are racing to get involved.

Spomotion Analytics reveals a record number of American sponsors this season, overtaking key European markets. McLaren and Red Bull seem to be American sweethearts, with 25 and 18 US partners, respectively.

The entertainment factor is crucial for businesses like Hard Rock, so F1’s gotta keep the party going while satisfying both casual and hardcore fans. – Read more

🛞 Pirelli’s got new kicks for the F1 cars, and it’s hitting the track sooner than you think.

They’ve been given the green light by the FIA to roll out a new slick tyre spec from the British Grand Prix onwards.

This early Christmas present, originally slated for 2024, was fast-tracked due to the rise in car performance this season, both in terms of speed and downforce. – Read more

f1 race reviewImola GP: From San Marino to Emilia Romagna

This week we were going to bella Italia for one of the most thrilling events of the season, the Emilia Romagna GP.

Even though the event is cancelled, Imola deserves an in-depth article such as this one, to get you up to speed with the history, growth & iconic moments this track went through.

Now, if you’re here thinking, “Emilia Romagna? Wasn’t that San Marino once upon a time?”

Well, you’ve just earned your stripes as a seasoned F1 aficionado. If not, no worries – stick around, and you’ll be out-trivia-ing the most diehard fans in no time.

The Emilia Romagna GP (also named Imola GP after the town it’s situated in) has a long, storied past, full of high-speed thrills, from its early days as a fledgling track to its time as the San Marino GP, right up to its latest incarnation as the Emilia Romagna GP.

The Early Years: Birth and Growth of the Imola Circuit

Now, let’s take a step back in time to the 1950s. Picture this: a small town in Italy, Imola, dreaming big. Really big. Like, ‘let’s build a major international motor racing circuit’ big.

And so, they did. In 1953, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari was born. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Let’s stick with Imola for now.

Don’t go thinking this was just any regular track. Oh no, it was a rebel right from the start. One of the few to run in an anti-clockwise direction.

The track was named after none other than Ferrari’s late founder, Enzo Ferrari, and his son, Dino. Before Enzo’s passing, it was called Autodromo Dino Ferrari. Talk about a tribute!

Now, you can’t mention Imola without mentioning the San Marino Grand Prix. From 1981 to 2006, Imola hosted this GP, and trust me, it was quite the spectacle.

Remember, Italy already had the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, so Imola being named after the nearby state was like your younger sibling getting a cool nickname.

Before its big break, Imola started small. Its inaugural years saw it as a semi-permanent venue for motorcycle races and non-championship car races. Back then, it was more of a straight circuit with a few small bends.

But as any good wine does, Imola matured with time. By 1963, it hosted its first F1 race, won by Jim Clark for Lotus. Fast forward to 1980, and it was officially part of the F1 Championship calendar, hosting the San Marino Grand Prix.

The San Marino Era: Highlight Years and Iconic Moments

The San Marino Era is a significant period in Formula One racing, particularly centered around the Imola circuit in Italy.

This period saw the birth of the San Marino Grand Prix in the 1980s, following the Italian Grand Prix’s temporary relocation to Imola due to a fatal accident at Monza.

The 80s and 90s were a rollercoaster ride at Imola. We had everything from a controversial Ferrari 1-2 in 1982 to the Prost-Senna soap opera in 1989.

And let’s not forget the mastery of Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna, who all left their tire tracks on the circuit.

1994 was an infamous year in Imola. It was the year when the racing world lost Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in tragic accidents.

The race was a turning point, leading to significant improvements in safety regulations. Post 1994, the track underwent modifications to ensure greater safety for drivers.

The late 1990s to 2000s saw the dominance of Michael Schumacher, who won there a staggering seven times.

The San Marino Grand Prix said its goodbyes in 2007 to make room for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The circuit, however, made a comeback, returning to the F1 calendar in 2020 as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Just goes to show, you can’t keep a good track down!

Transition to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Why the Name Change?

San Marino wasn’t quite the right fit for the Imola Circuit since it’s actually located in Emilia Romagna, Italy. Plus, F1 was changing in big ways. So, in came the new name, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

After 2007, the track got a big makeover. They added a shortcut for cars and spruced up the garages and pitlane. Even with these changes, it took until 2020 for the track to come back to the F1 calendar, this time with its new name.

The First Emilia Romagna Grand Prix:

The COVID-19 pandemic shook up the 2020 F1 calendar. To fill in the gaps, Imola was brought back as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. It was a two-day event instead of the usual three. Bottas got the best starting spot, but it was Lewis Hamilton who won the race.

Comparing with the San Marino Days:

The Imola track has changed quite a bit from the San Marino days.

The circuit’s layout at the time of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

The circuit’s layout after the 1994 San Marino GP (similar to the current configuration except turns 16&17)

  • The flat-out Tamburello corner was reduced to a 4th gear left–right sweeper, and a gravel trap was added to the limited space on the outside of the corner.
  • Villeneuve corner, previously an innocuous 6th gear right-hander into Tosa, was made a complementary 4th gear sweeper, also with a gravel trap on the outside of the corner.
  • In an attempt to retain some of the quickness and character of the old circuit, the arduous chicane at Acqua Minerali was eliminated, and the Variante Bassa was straightened into a single chicane.

It’s a trickier circuit now with modifications to a few key corners and chicanes. But, the heart of the track is still the same.

The new Emilia Romagna Grand Prix holds on to the old memories while making new ones in the ever-changing world of Formula 1.

Famous Personalities and Teams: Their Stories with Imola

The San Marino era saw battles between some of the most legendary names in F1 history. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost had numerous duels at Imola, with both of them claiming 3 GP wins each.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, we also saw the dominance of Michael Schumacher, who won six times at Imola, laying the groundwork for his subsequent reign as one of F1’s all-time greats.

The San Marino era also saw a tug of war between the dominant teams of the time. McLaren, with drivers like Senna and Prost, clinched six victories, while Williams secured eight. Ferrari, the home favorite, also delighted the Tifosi with three wins, including an emotional 1-2 finish in 1982.

The San Marino GP was a backdrop to some of the craziest narratives in F1. The infamous collision between Senna and Prost at the 1989 Suzuka Grand Prix had its roots in a disagreement over an unwritten agreement between the two during the San Marino Grand Prix earlier that year.

In the tragic 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, a weekend that forever changed F1, we saw the immense courage of the F1 community.

Sid Watkins, F1’s chief medical officer at the time, was instrumental in pushing for improved safety measures in the aftermath of that weekend.

These stories add to the rich story of Imola’s F1 history, showing how the circuit has been an important part of F1’s evolution.

f1 race reviewFast Lane News

👨‍👦Papa Perez compares his son’s battle with Max Verstappen to the Prost/Senna rivalry – Read more

🎙 Martin Brundle gives his thoughts on the ‘hilarious’ Sir Jackie Stewart incident(spelled in Charles Leclerc voice). – Read more

😆 Max Verstappen live streaming his story about the last year’s DRS. – See Video

🔵 Forget DRS, Red Bull’s true F1 brilliance lies elsewhere – Read more

😎 ‘I need to think about where I hang out!’ – Steiner explains how he is dealing with Drive to Survive fame – Read more

🥹 What Seb is most missing about F1 is the competition and the tension. – Read More(DE)

🇭🇺 A new circuit in Hungary that says it’s “ready to host international motorsport events” has officially opened. – Read more

🔴 Haas won’t copy Red Bull’s bodywork for the sake of adopting the style of a faster car – Read more

f1 race reviewTHE IMOLA GP 2023


Here’s the latest news about what’s happening at the circuit:

🔴 Ferrari looks set to delay the introduction of its new rear suspension until Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, thanks to the extreme weather being predicted at Imola. – Read more

🛟 Italian deputy PM Salvini also stressed to “dedicate ourselves to relief work”.

Even if the weather situation improves as expected and the on-track action would be able to go ahead, organising a grand prix in front of a capacity crowd would put a huge strain on the local infrastructure and emergency services at a time when the local population has more urgent needs. – Read more


1️⃣ Circuit length: 4.909 km
2️⃣ Number of laps: 63
3️⃣ Lap record: 1:15.484 Lewis Hamilton (2020)
4️⃣ Corners & DRS: 19 corners with 1 DRS zone

🏆 Previous Winners

⚫️ 2020 – Lewis Hamilton
🔵 2021 – Max Verstappen
🔵 2022 – Max Verstappen

f1 race reviewMEME OF THE DAY

Damn that’s a long name