2020 Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix preview
There are just five rounds left on the revised calendar of the 2020 Formula One World Championship, and the latest, round 13, takes place this weekend at Italy’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, more commonly referred to as Imola.
The circuit has hosted both the Italian and San Marino Grands Prix, with the last F1 race held here in 2006. This weekend it plays host to a special Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that was added after the calendar was reshuffled to get around Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.
The 3.08-mile circuit has been in continuous use and updated considerably since the last F1 race was held here. For instance, the old Variante Bassa is gone and the long straight heading into Tamburello is now broken up by two right-hand corners. More run-off areas have been added, especially at Variante Alta, and there are new pit garages, too. Only the old Marlboro tower remains from the previous start-finish complex.
It’s an anti-clockwise circuit, with 12 left-hand corners and nine right-hand corners. In contrast to last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix, the circuit width is quite narrow in places, which makes overtaking reasonably tricky and puts a strong emphasis on race strategy.
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (Imola)
The circuit is quite bumpy in areas and there are some big curbs, though the surface is generally smooth which means there isn’t too much stress on the tires. As a result, Pirelli has nominated its middle-of-the-range C2, C3 and C4 compounds. Looking at the weather forecast, we should be in for fine conditions throughout the weekend.
Due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Europe, organizers have decided to close the race off to spectators. Friday’s practice was also canceled, meaning there will be just one practice session on Saturday morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s race will run as scheduled.
The previous Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring also saw the Friday practice session canceled, due to poor weather. The two-day format could become a permanent fixture in future seasons to allow additional rounds to be added while giving teams sufficient time in between.
Going into the weekend, Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton leads the 2020 Drivers’ Championship with 256 points. Fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is second with 179 points and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen is third with 162 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 435 points versus the 226 of Red Bull and 126 of Racing Point.