2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix preview: Imola round returns

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

The European leg of the 2024 Formula 1 season starts this weekend with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, one of two Italian races on the current calendar.

The race, which was originally intended as a special one-off race in 2020 to make up for scheduled races that were canceled due to the pandemic, has proven so popular it is now a permanent part of the calendar. It’s also in Ferrari’s backyard, so it attracts plenty of tifosi each year.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was canceled last year due to heavy flooding in the region. This year, it serves as round seven of the championship and takes place over 63 laps of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, which is commonly known as Imola, and in previous times hosted the Italian and San Marino Grands Prix.

Imola features a counter-clockwise track layout that stretches 3.08 miles and is quite narrow in places, which adds to the challenge of overtaking and puts an emphasis on strategy. It has a bumpy surface, and calls for a maximum downforce setup, even though the current configuration has several full throttle sections. Over 70% of a lap is taken at full throttle.

Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, home of the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Some minor changes were made to the track this year. The run-off area at Turn 9 has been removed and replaced with a gravel trap, and the asphalt run-off area on the exit of Turns 11, 12, and 13 has been reduced in favor of gravel as well. The exit of the Turn 14-15 chicane is now also a gravel trap instead of a tarmac run-off area.

Looking at the weather forecast, expect fine but cloudy conditions for both Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race. Pirelli has nominated its softest compounds, the C3, C4, and C5, as the forces exerted on the tires at Imola are not too extreme, according to the tire company.

Going into weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen leads the 2024 Drivers’ Championship with 136 points. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is second with 103 points, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is third with 98 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 239 points, versus the 187 of Ferrari and 124 of McLaren. The previous winner at Imola was Max Verstappen, driving for Red Bull.

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