The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (commonly known as Imola) is a permanent racing circuit which held the 1980 Italian Grand Prix and all subsequent runnings of the San Marino Grand Prix until 2006, as the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in 2020. The circuit is notorious as the home of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix weekend during which Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were both killed.

Circuit History[edit | edit source]

Circuit Layouts[edit | edit source]

1953-1972[edit | edit source]

The Imola circuit is basically a road following a small river, the Santurno, with a return looping over a couple of small hills. At almost no point of the original layout was the track truly straight, with made it challenging and a favorite for both drivers and spectators.

The start/finish line and pits were on a very short straight, in between a flat-out sweeping right and a tiny left kink. After another very short straight, it enters a very wide radius 60 left, called Tamburello. This was followed by the longest straight on the track, roughly 12 km, before a short right kink, just before the tight left

1973[edit | edit source]

1974-1980[edit | edit source]

1981-1994[edit | edit source]

Imola1980.jpg

The original layout of the Imola circuit featured several flat-out sections connected by tight hairpins. At first, the run from Rivazza (map bottom left) and Tosa (top right) was flat out, as was the run from Acque Minerali to Rivazza. This meant that drivers reached very high speeds through Tamburello and Villeneuve. However, by 1980, the track was modified to slow cars slightly by adding a tight double-chicane between Rivazza and the Start/Finish line.

From the start line, the circuit ran through a quick left-hander (Tamburello) which was taken flat-out. From here, a short straight leads to a flat right-hander (Villeneuve) and tight left (Tosa). Following a short straight and a quick sweeping left hander lies Acque Minerali, a tight right-left-right chicane. Over a crest is the right-left chicane, Variante Alta. Then down the hill to the double left hand Rivazza turns. Then back up the hill for a quick right-left and slower left-right (Variante Bassa) and on to the finish line.

Over 14 years on this layout, numerous major accidents occurred. Many of these, including seperate terrifying crashes involving Nelson Piquet, Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto, occurred at the notorious Tamburello Curve. Tamburello was a flat-out left-hander with very little run-off and a concrete wall outside of the track.

In the Friday practice session of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello was injured at Variante Bassa when his car was launched over the kerbs into a tyre barrier at high speed. On Saturday, after damaging his front wing on a previous lap, Roland Ratzenberger was killed when he failed to negotiate the Villeneuve corner and crashed heavily into the concrete wall at around 200mph, fatally fracturing his neck. The following day, during the race, three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna was also killed when his Williams-Renault went straight on at Tamburello and he hit the concrete wall at around 135mph, also fracturing his neck. In addition, a piece of Senna's suspension wishbone penetrated the driver's helmet, causing potentially fatal injuries.

In response to the accidents at the 1994 event, the FIA demanded that changes must be made to the circuit to improve the safety of the drivers. These changes were made ahead of the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix.

1995-2006[edit | edit source]

Imola1995.png

Numerous changes to the Imola circuit were made from the 1995 event onwards:

  • Tamburello Curve was transformed into a much slower chicane, and the concrete run-off was replaced by gravel.
  • Villeneuve corner was changed from a fast right-hander to a slow left-right chicane.
  • The Acque Minerali chicane was removed, and replaced by a double right-hander.
  • Variante Alta was flattened and tightened slightly.
  • The first chicane of Variante Bassa was removed, leaving a fast right hander, and a slow left-right chicane.

This layout of the Imola Circuit was used until 2006 after which the event was removed from the calendar.

Current[edit | edit source]

Imola2010.jpg

In an attempt to reinstate the circuit into the Formula One calendar, the circuit was renovated in 2010. The pit lane and garages were demolished and replaced by a modern, extended complex. Variante Bassa was also removed, so that the circuit now runs flat-out from Rivazza to Tamburello. In 2008, the circuit was given a 1T FIA rating, allowing for F1 test events to be held there. In 2011 the circuit was upgraded to a 1 rating, allowing for F1 events to be held there. As yet, however, the circuit has not been reinstated to the calendar.

Following the delayed start to the 2020 Formula One season, resulting in a number of races postponed or canceled, it was announced on 24 July that Formula One would return to Imola as the 13th round of the season on 1 November.

Event history[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Imola circuit:

Year Event Winning Driver Winning Constructor
1980 Italian Grand Prix Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth
1981 San Marino Grand Prix Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-Ford Cosworth
1982 San Marino Grand Prix France Didier Pironi Italy Ferrari
1983 San Marino Grand Prix France Patrick Tambay Italy Ferrari
1984 San Marino Grand Prix France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-TAG
1985 San Marino Grand Prix Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Renault
1986 San Marino Grand Prix France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-TAG
1987 San Marino Grand Prix United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Williams-Honda
1988 San Marino Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1989 San Marino Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1990 San Marino Grand Prix Italy Riccardo Patrese United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1991 San Marino Grand Prix Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom McLaren-Honda
1992 San Marino Grand Prix United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1993 San Marino Grand Prix France Alain Prost United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1994 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher United Kingdom Benetton-Ford Cosworth
1995 San Marino Grand Prix United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1996 San Marino Grand Prix United Kingdom Damon Hill United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1997 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Heinz-Harald Frentzen United Kingdom Williams-Renault
1998 San Marino Grand Prix United Kingdom David Coulthard United Kingdom McLaren-Mercedes
1999 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher ItalyFerrari
2000 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2001 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Ralf Schumacher United Kingdom Williams-BMW
2002 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2003 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2004 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2005 San Marino Grand Prix Spain Fernando Alonso France Renault
2006 San Marino Grand Prix Germany Michael Schumacher Italy Ferrari
2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes

Quotes[edit | edit source]

"I think its a great race track. It's got elevation. It's almost like a road track. It is an artificial circuit but they have managed to combine the landscape of the Imola track very, very well indeed. I think it does provide a very enjoyable circuit for the grand prix circuit." John Watson. Eurosport. First Qualifying. 1990 San Marino Grand Prix.

"The spectator area here is nearly packed to capacity. Motor racing, in particular Ferrari racing is almost a religion to these people. Their enthusiasm adds a unique atmosphere to the first race of the European season." Matthew Lorenzo. Eurosport. Second Qualifying. 1990 San Marino Grand Prix.

Notes[edit | edit source]



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