Formula 1 Management announced that Imola will again host the Formula 1 Grand Prix on April 18th 2021. This track was always in competition with the most famous Italian track – Monza. Now we will find out why Imola can host the race and what’s in this particular “battle”.
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The second round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship will see the welcome comeback to the Enzo and Dino Ferrari’s circuit in Imola, in Emilia Romagna. The track, which is located on the banks of the Santerno river, along the Via Emilia, at the point where the Apennine valley of the Santerno river flows into the Po valley. The municipal area is mostly flat, except for a hilly area in the southern part. This last particular feature permitted the build of a circuit that had this peculiarity just some years later the Second World War.
When Imola’s circuit was finished, it started the competition with the most famous Italian circuit, Monza. Mauro Forghieri, former Ferrari Chief Technical Director, explains just in some words the difference between Monza and Imola: “Monza is an outdated track that demonstrates the limits of an ancient project, based on high top speeds and a few not difficult corners while Imola offers a vision for much longer stretches of a very beautiful and challenging track and moreover it is located in the heart of Romagna”.
Imola offers a vision for much longer stretches of a very beautiful and challenging track and moreover, it is located in the heart of Romagna.
On August 29 2006, the FIA had published a provisional calendar in which the Emilia Romagna GP had been excluded. Given the obligation to renovate Enzo and Dino Ferrari Autodrome, the Italian government had initially signed a contract for the Grand Prix dispute and on September 7 2006, the race was provisionally included for April 29, as the eighteenth world test.
However, terms of the contract largely depended on the ability of technicians to complete the required changes by March 2007, but work did not finish fast enough and so, with the publication of the official calendar on October 18, 2006, the FIA officially announced that the race will not take place and it was therefore excluded from the calendar.
So for many years, Monza was the only Italian stage in Formula 1 calendar; it enjoyed and enjoys the advantage of being close to Milan, an attraction for tourists from all over the world. But throughout the years Imola has never given up on a dream of bringing Formula 1 back. There were a lot of negotiations between Formula 1 Management, especially Bernie Ecclestone, and owners of Imola’s circuit to hold Italian GP beyond 2016 as it seemed that Monza was no longer able to organize the event. After several negotiations, Monza remained as the venue for the Italian Grand Prix following two contract renewals, the first expiring in 2020 and the second, the current one, which will last until 2024.
Imola’s dream to hold back a Formula 1 race seemed to have another setback. But last year, because of the pandemic, many Formula 1 races have been cancelled and Imola was back in contention to organize a Grand Prix after 14 years. The race was held at the end of October of last year. The race weekend, despite being held behind closed doors, was successful and many drivers promoted the circuit and the organization. They liked the track and were looking forward to coming back.
Their wish was granted at the beginning of this year, on January 11, when Formula 1 Management and the president of the Emila Romagna region, Stefano Bonaccini, gave an official announcement. He declared: “Seeing Ferrari and the other cars racing on the Imola circuit is always a profound emotion. We hope to become a permanent stage of the Formula 1 calendar”.
In my opinion, Formula 1 deserves to have such great historic Italian tracks in its calendar, so passionate fans can have the opportunity to support all their drivers with great passion.