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To circuits
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Emilia Romagna GP

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola
  • FP1 22 Apr 2022 -
  • FP2 22 Apr 2022 -
  • FP3 23 Apr 2022 -
  • Quali 23 Apr 2022 -
  • Race 24 Apr 2022 -

Stats

First held 1981
Laps 62
Circuit length 4.959 kilometre
Lap record 1:20.411

Winners

Winner 2021 Max Verstappen
Winner 2020 Lewis Hamilton
Winner 2006 Michael Schumacher
Winner 2005 Fernando Alonso
Winner 2004 Michael Schumacher

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has provisionally returned to the 2021 F1 calendar. After last hosting the San Marino Grand Prix in 2006, the track’s unexpected inclusion in the 2020 championship was welcomed by drivers and fans alike.

F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2021

The Emilia Romagna GP made its debut on the F1 calendar in 2020, as the series looked to fill the void left by the cancellation of numerous races due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intended as a one-off race in order to make up for the loss of other events, the race was added to the 2021 calendar as the second race of the season, following the postponement of the Chinese GP.

The race, which is held at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, has often been shortened to Imola after the town where it is located. Prior to the Emilia Romagna GP, the venue is most known for hosting the Italian Grand Prix in 1980, along with the San Marino GP from 1981 to 2006.

History

The area around Imola is home to several car manufacturers like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Minardi (now AlphaTauri), Dallara and Stanguellini. As a result, after the Second World War, in an attempt to kickstart the local economy, four local racing enthusiasts proposed the building of a new road linking existing public roads that would be used by manufacturers to test their prototypes.

After the first motorcycle race took place in April 1953, the first car race took place in June 1954. The first F1 race took place in April 1963, though it was a non-championship event, and was won by Lotus' Jim Clark. Another non-championship event took place in 1979, with Niki Lauda taking the chequered flag for Brabham-Alfa Romeo.

The Italian GP was moved to Imola for the 1980 race following the startline-accident at Monza that claimed Ronnie Peterson's life in 1978. The race was won by Nelson Piquet for Brabham-Ford, however with the race moving to back to Monza the following year, organisers were left without an event at Imola.

With an Italian GP already on the calendar, they asked the Automobile Club of San Marino, the motorsport authority of San Marino, to apply for their own Grand Prix, and the application was successful.

San Marino GP

Although Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve started the inaugural San Marino GP from pole, it was Piquet who took the race ahead of Riccardo Patrese and Carlos Reutemann.

The 1982 race saw just 14 racers start due to an ongoing battle between the Federation Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA), and the Formula One Constructors' Association (FOCA). Didier Peroni took the chequered flag from teammate Villeneuve after Ferrari ordered both drivers to slow down. The Canadian took this as an order to maintain position on track, however Pironi didn't, and passed his teammate on the final lap. Villeneuve was so infuriated with the pass that he vowed never to speak to Peroni again. This played out in tragic circumstances, as he unfortunately lost his life in a crash during qualifying for the Belgian GP two weeks later.

The circuit was renamed the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in 1989 in honour of Enzo Ferrari, who passed away the year before. The race is remembered for Gerhard Berger's crash at Tamburello, which knocked him unconscious while his car burst into flames. Luckily the Austrian only suffered burns to his hands, and returned for the following race.

Tragedy hits Imola in 1994

The venue is perhaps best remembered for the 1994 San Marino GP, often considered one of the darkest weekends in F1 history, and a landmark moment in terms of driver safety. Rubens Barrichello crashed heavily during Friday practice, suffering a severe concussion after going off at the Variante Bassa.

Things got worse from there. Simtek driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed after crashing at the Villeneuve Corner, after his front wing broke off at speed of almost 195 mp/h. Sunday's race saw Pedro Lamy and JJ Lehto collide at the start, with debris flying into the crowd and injuring eight spectators.

On Lap 7, Ayrton Senna crashed at the high-speed Tamburello corner. He was killed after a piece of suspension and the right front wheel came off, both of which hit and pierced Senna's helmet ant high speeds. Michael Schumacher won the race ahead of Ferrari's Nicola Larini, though there were no celebrations. The deaths were the first in eight years, and the first at a race in 12, resulting in improved safety for drivers and cars along with altered track layouts.

Schumacher won six of the final eight San Marino GP's from 1999 to 2006, with brother Ralf and Fernando Alonso getting the better of him in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

In August 2006, it was announced that the race would be dropped from the F1 calendar in favour of a return to Belgium, with the San Marino GP not featuring since. However, F1 would return to Imola in 2020 under the name of the Emilia Romagna GP.

First Emilia Romagna GP

Although the 2020 race at Imola was the first Grand Prix to bear the Emilia Romagna name, the eventual outcome was all too familiar, as Lewis Hamilton led Valtteri Bottas over the line for a Mercedes one-two.

From pole, Bottas retained his lead at the start, while Max Verstappen passed Hamilton for second. However, an early incident would wreak havoc, as the Finn drove over a piece of Sebastian Vettel’s front wing after the German clashed with Kevin Magnussen. The loss of downforce meant Bottas was powerless to stop what was to come. Mercedes pitted car number 77 at the end of lap 19 to cover off Verstappen, allowing teammate Hamilton to pursue an alternative strategy.

The Brit extended his stint an extra 11 laps, and was able to pit under the virtual safety car brought out by Esteban Ocon’s stricken Renault. He re-joined comfortably in the lead and never looked back.

Further behind, Verstappen finally overtook Bottas for second before the Dutchman’s race came to a sudden halt when his front-left tyre failed. That allowed Daniel Ricciardo to claim third for the second time in three races for Renault.

Most successful F1 drivers and teams

Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag seven times at the San Marino GP, with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost both sitting on three wins. Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill were both two-time winners. As for constructors, Williams and Ferrari both won eight times, with McLaren just behind on six.

Under the Emilia Romagna GP name, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen have split victories.

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2021

Championship leader Hamilton started from pole position, but he was quickly overtaken by at the first corner by Verstappen.

Although the Red Bull driver would go on to win ahead of his Mercedes rival, with Lando Norris in third, it was anything but a straightforward race for Hamilton.

The Briton slid into the gravel on Lap 31 while trying to lap Williams' George Russell, who later brought out a red flag after colliding with Bottas at high speed.

Hamilton, who started ninth after the red flag, eventually found a way past Norris on Lap 60, to take second.

When is the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on the F1 calendar?

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on the weekend of 16-18 April and is provisionally set to be the second race of the Formula 1 season. The first two free practice sessions will take place on 16 April, with qualifying on Saturday 17 April at 15:00 CET.

What time does the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix start?

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix starts on Sunday 18 April at 14:00 CET. The race can be followed on RacingNews365’s live blog and watched on F1 TV.

F1 Emilia Romagna GP 2021 Schedule

Session Date Time (UK)
Free Practice 1 Friday 16 April 10:00 - 11:00
Free Practice 2 Friday 16 April 13:00 - 14:00
Free Practice 3 Saturday 17 April 10:00 - 11:00
Qualifying Saturday 17 April 14:00 - 15:00
Race Sunday 18 April 13:00
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