The European leg of the 2023 Formula 1 season is about to begin with a triple header that takes us from Imola to Monaco and then on to Barcelona.
First up, it’s the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix up, or to give it its full title, the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna 2023… and breathe.
Here are five things you should know before we head out on the famous tarmac of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
1. Qualifying Trial
With the aim of decreasing the wider environmental impact generated by the production and transport of tyres, teams will each receive fewer dry tyre sets than usual – 11 down from 13.
This is because in qualifying, teams will have to run a mandatory tyre in each phase, as opposed to the usual free choice.
In Q1, drivers will have to run the hard compound, with the 15 who make it through to Q2 all having to compete on the medium. Then Q3 will see the final 10 drivers all qualify on the soft compound.
No changes have been made to the length of each qualifying phase, and the allocation of wet and intermediate tyres to each team remains unaffected.
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2. Full wet refresh
On both of our last two visits to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, we’ve had to don our wet weather gear.
If that’s to happen again this weekend, we might just see the debut of a brand-new tyre.
The blue-walled full wet Pirelli compound has had a refresh and no longer requires the use of tyre warmers beforehand.
“Track tests have shown even better performance than the previous Cinturato Blue full wet, even without the electric heating of the tyre,” Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, Mario Isola, shared earlier this week.
“The result of studies carried out by Pirelli, it is the first concrete step towards the use of dry tyres without preheating.”
3. Triple Header
As mentioned earlier, the Emilia Romagna GP begins a triple header, the first of two this year.
It’s going to be quite the road trip for the truckies of the F1 paddock, as from Imola they'll be heading 500km west to set up camp in Monaco’s harbour.
From the principality, it’s a 650km trip along the French Riviera and across another border before arriving in the outskirts of Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Ensuring all the kit and crew make it from one race to the next is quite the logistical feat, and we’ll be covering this further throughout F1’s European summer schedule.
4. Four in F3
Joining us throughout the triple header will be the junior categories, including Formula 3.
Since they last were on track in Melbourne, our F3 trio has become a quad with the addition of Luke Browning alongside Zak O’Sullivan, Franco Colapinto and Ollie Gray.
Some serious momentum can be gained during this non-stop run of race action, especially given they’ll be halfway through their season by the time this triple header is complete.
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5. Breaking into the top 10
As you would have already seen this year, the midfield battle is tight! In qualifying, just a couple of tenths could be the difference between being very comfortably through or getting eliminated.
We haven’t scored any points since the opening round, but we’ve been there or thereabouts to pounce if opportunities come our way in almost every other race.
Imola is a circuit that we have also just finished narrowly outside the points on a couple of occasions since it returned to the calendar in 2020. Nicholas Latifi finished P11 that season, whilst Alex Albon also ended up in the spot last year.
Join us live throughout the weekend and discover how we fare around iconic Imola.