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Old 30 Oct 2020, 07:41 (Ref:4013849)   #1
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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2020: Grand Prix Weekend - Round 13 of 17

Imola returns to the calendar for the first time since 2006. Formerly hosting the San Marino Grand Prix, named after the nearby republic, in 2020 it will now deliver the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, a third race in Italy. There have not been three Grands Prix in one country, since the USA ran the United States Grand Prix West, the Caesars Palace Grand Prix and the Detroit Grand Prix in 1982.

This weekend introduces a new two-day format for this Grand Prix only, with no Friday running, so drivers and teams will need to be up to speed quickly. Drivers' championship leader Lewis Hamilton arrives here on the back of having become the most successful F1 driver in history in terms of wins, taking his 92nd in Portugal.

In 1963 a non-championship Imola Grand Prix with Formula 1 cars was won by Jim Clark in his Lotus. In the late 70s, plans were afoot for Monza to alternate with Imola for the Italian Grand Prix, and before Imola's championship status was affirmed, the non-championship Dino Ferrari Grand Prix was run in September 1979, a week after Monza. Niki Lauda won for Brabham-Alfa Romeo, mere weeks before quitting the sport for the first time. Carlos Reutemann was 2nd for Lotus and freshly-crowned world champion Jody Scheckter 3rd for Ferrari.

Run at Imola, the 1980 Italian Grand Prix, ended up being the sole race with that designation not to be held at Monza to the present day. Nelson Piquet won in his Brabham ahead of the Williamses of Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann. Although Piquet took the lead of the drivers' championship, Williams sealed their first constructors' title.

Imola's race stayed on the calendar, although it took the title of the San Marino Grand Prix in 1981. Piquet won again, this time from Riccardo Patrese in an Arrows, while Reutemann was 3rd for Williams. Didier Pironi led in the wet conditions until slipping back down the order, while Gilles Villeneuve made an unwise stop for slicks, which he recovered from to 7th.

In 1982, only seven teams took part, during the FISA-FOCA War, with Brabham, McLaren, Williams and Lotus all boycotting the event. The front row was occupied by the Renaults, but they both went out with engine trouble, leaving the Ferraris of Villeneuve and Pironi 1st and 2nd respectively. Ferrari ordered both cars to slow down, but Pironi did not interpret this order as one not to pass, which he duly did. With Villeneuve thinking his team-mate was just making a bit of a show, when he got passed Pironi again, he expected him to hold station, but he was overtaken into Tosa on the final lap. Villeneuve was so livid he vowed never to speak to Pironi again, which was sadly the case, as he was killed at the next race at Zolder, not on speaking terms. Michele Alboreto was 3rd for Tyrrell. There were six finishers and just five classified, with Manfred Winkelhock disqualified for being underweight.

In 1983, Patrick Tambay won for Ferrari after Brabham's Patrese had passed him with six laps to go, before almost immediately crashing at Acque Minerali. Alain Prost grabbed 2nd for Renault from Ferrari's René Arnoux after the Frenchman spun. Tambay dedicated his victory in the Number 27 car to Villeneuve.

Prost won for McLaren in 1984, with René Arnoux 2nd this time in the Ferrari, and Elio de Angelis coming home 3rd in his Lotus, despite running out of fuel. Fuel economy was a big issue a year later, as various drivers ran dry. Ayrton Senna went out of the lead due to this, and Stefan Johansson, in his first race for Ferrari after replacing the sacked Arnoux, who had climbed to 2nd from 15th on the grid, would have taken the lead but stopped when exiting Acque Minerali. Prost won, but was disqualified for being underweight, so it was de Angelis who was awarded the victory.

A year later, Alain Prost did win, but again, he almost ran out of fuel and just crept over the line, this time not underweight. Piquet was 2nd in the Williams and Gerhard Berger took his first podium in the Benetton-BMW. Keke Rosberg in the McLaren and Riccardo Patrese in the Brabham were both classified 5th and 6th for the final points-paying positions, despite running out of fuel.

In 1987, Piquet had a huge accident at Tamburello in Friday practice and missed the rest of the weekend. His Williams team-mate Nigel Mansell took the win from Ayrton Senna in the Lotus and Ferrari's Michele Alboreto. A year later, McLaren took their first front row grid lockout, and Senna just won from Prost, both again low on fuel, with Piquet 3rd for Lotus.

Gerhard Berger had a fiery accident at Tamburello on Lap 3 in his Ferrari in 1989 and the race was stopped and re-started to run on aggregate times. Senna won from Prost, but Prost was upset that Senna had broken a supposed pre-race agreement to let whoever was in front at Turn 1 go on to win the race. Alessandro Nannini was 3rd for Benetton. In 1990, Riccardo Patrese won in the Williams, having passed the McLaren of Berger, who had earlier collided with Ferrari's Nigel Mansell as he tried to pass him. Patrese took the record for the biggest gap between wins, broken in the 2018 United States Grand Prix by Kimi Raikkonen.

In 1991, Senna won from his McLaren team-mate Berger, while JJ Lehto claimed a podium in the Dallara-Judd. Ferrari's Alain Prost spun off on the formation lap and did not start. A year afterwards, it was Mansell's turn to win from his team-mate, finishing ahead of Patrese in the dominant Williams, with Senna in 3rd.

After getting ahead of Prost at the pit stops, Senna led, but Prost passed both him and Williams team-mate Damon Hill at Tosa, eventually winning from Michael Schumacher's Benetton and Martin Brundle's Ligier. Senna retired with hydraulic problems and Hill with a brake failure.

It has been well-documented elsewhere what occurred in 1994 at Imola, but it suffices to say that the weekend was horrendous from start to finish and both Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died, while the sport did at least then begin to undergo major changes in a safety drive, which has transformed those aspects of the sport. Michael Schumacher won the race in his Benetton from Nicola Larini in the Ferrari (his only podium) and Mika Hakkinen in the McLaren.

In 1995, Damon Hill won for Williams, with the Ferraris of Jean Alesi and Berger completing the podium and a year later he took the spoils again, this time from Michael Schumacher's Ferrari and Berger's Benetton. Heinz-Harald Frentzen took his first win in 1997, driving for Williams, with Schumacher again 2nd and the other Ferrari of Eddie Irvine in 3rd.

In 1998, David Coulthard led from McLaren team-mate Hakkinen, the Finn retiring with a gearbox failure. Coulthard held off Schumacher and Irvine to win, having to control his pace, due to high oil cooler temperatures after getting debris in a sidepod. The next year, Hakkinen led before crashing out at the Traguardo chicane. Coulthard took over the lead, but Schumacher undercut him at the pit stops and beat the McLaren driver into 2nd place, with Rubens Barrichello 3rd for Stewart. Schumacher got the jump on Hakkinen at the pit stops to win in 2000 too, with Coulthard back in 3rd.

Williams driver Ralf Schumacher jumped into the lead from 3rd in 2001, eventually beating Coulthard for his first win, with Barrichello 3rd for Ferrari. A Ferrari 1-2 followed in 2002, with Schumacher ahead, and Ralf Schumacher 3rd for Williams. The Schumacher brothers raced in 2003, despite the death of their mother that morning. Michael won from Raikkonen in the McLaren and Ferrari team-mate Barrichello. Schumacher won again in 2004, this time from Jenson Button's BAR and Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams.

In 2005, Schumacher chased Fernando Alonso hard for the win, but couldn't beat the Renault driver, finishing just 0.215 seconds behind at the flag. Button was 3rd, but due to the BAR disqualifications, Alex Wurz was later promoted to 3rd for McLaren. Alonso and Schumacher repeated their battle in the final San Marino Grand Prix in 2006, but this time it was Fernando's turn to pursue, ending up 2.096 behind Schumacher at race's end, with Montoya 3rd for McLaren.



Circuit length: 4.909km
Number of laps: 63
Race distance: 309.049km
Race Lap Record: -
Dry weather tyre compounds: C2, C3 & C4

First Grand Prix at Imola: 1963
First World Championship Grand Prix at Imola: 1980



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Old 30 Oct 2020, 09:37 (Ref:4013862)   #2
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Cheers BR, great intro as usual. I'm looking forward to this one, brilliant track.
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 10:03 (Ref:4013866)   #3
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Thanks bR for the intro.... brought back many memories that needed triggering. Only problem with this weeks event is being only two days there is no Friday action. My normal GP weekend is read BR's intro, and then watch P1 followed by P2.

I have now read the intro, but ..... what to do now laundry? housework? Maybe watch a few replays.
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 11:41 (Ref:4013880)   #4
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Thanks for another great into BR. A bit weird that we aren't getting action today though
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 12:55 (Ref:4013896)   #5
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Excellent intro as ever. I always hoped F1 would return to Imola and therefore I'm looking forward to this weekend's race. It would be great if Imola were to remain on the calendar.
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 13:45 (Ref:4013901)   #6
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Blast from the past. The mix up of tracks has been great, and I am also looking forward to this one.
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 16:53 (Ref:4013911)   #7
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wonderful intro!

love the name of this GP, actually have enjoyed the names this season, but why did they opt for the larger region name vs maintaining the San Mario name? licensing issue i would presume?

also about these one off tracks and how Imola/this weekend, for example, may be LH's only chance to win at this venue.
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 17:12 (Ref:4013917)   #8
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Yes I too would have loved to have had the San Marino GP used again. It’s easier to identify IMHO
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 17:20 (Ref:4013919)   #9
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love the name of this GP, actually have enjoyed the names this season, but why did they opt for the larger region name vs maintaining the San Mario name? licensing issue i would presume?
Well at least Imola circuit is in the Emilia Romagna area of Italy. It's certainly not in San Marino!
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Old 30 Oct 2020, 23:28 (Ref:4013969)   #10
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Love your intros BR - thank you.

Imola will be forever be tinged with sadness but it IS a spectacular circuit and the atmosphere and the experience there really quite special.

I don't particularly like the current big, heavy, relatively cumbersome cars we have now but they ARE quick and I suspect they'll be spectacular around this circuit - looking forward to P & Q sessions tonight (Oz time).
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Old 31 Oct 2020, 03:50 (Ref:4013987)   #11
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It’ll be boring, the cars and drivers are dull, Bottas will choke, driver of the race is Hamilton (location doesn’t checks out), team is Racing Point and the race is a 4/10, oh and Mercedes navigation is too expensive.

Great intro BR. Really looking forward to some Imola action.
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Old 31 Oct 2020, 09:30 (Ref:4014018)   #12
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All that is missing are the spring daisies. Welcome back Imola.
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Old 31 Oct 2020, 09:35 (Ref:4014021)   #13
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Listening to FP. It seems this place holds a lot of memories
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Old 31 Oct 2020, 10:01 (Ref:4014024)   #14
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Thanks everyone.

Yes, I would imagine the name was chosen to gice credit to the real area and also because it may be a one-off, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix 2020 will always be remembered as THE Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.
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Old 31 Oct 2020, 10:02 (Ref:4014025)   #15
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Nice that the final chicane has gone. never liked it on Microprose GP.
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