Everything you need to know about the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Published on
20 Apr 2022
Est. reading time
5 Min

Formula One touches down in Europe for the first Sprint weekend of 2022

After the long trip to Australia, Formula One is a little closer to home for Round Four of the 2022 World Championship, visiting Italy for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The iconic Imola circuit will not only host F1's first European event this year, but also the first of three Sprint weekends.
The dedicated facility's narrow racetrack gives the drivers a broad mix of high, medium, and low-speed corners to get their teeth stuck into this weekend.

Track Facts

Although Imola carries a reputation of being a tricky circuit to pass at, F1 has shown it is possible – although not always easy – since returning to the Italian track in 2020.
With F1 Sprint making its first 2022 outing, a high qualifying position will be more vital than ever.
The modern FIA layout removed the Variante Bassa chicane before the start/finish straight. Now, the cars can reach speeds exceeding 320kph before throwing the anchors down for the Tamburello chicane.
These higher speeds at the 4.909km circuit have resulted in the lap record dropping by nearly 5 seconds; Michael Schumacher's 2004 best time was 1:20.411 while Lewis Hamilton hit 1:15.484 in 2022.
On Sunday, the 19 corners will come thick and fast over the 63-lap Grand Prix with only one straight long enough to justify a DRS zone where the drivers can take advantage of being within a second of the car in front.

What are the drivers saying?

Nicholas Latifi took his FW43 into Q2 and secured a P14 start when Williams Racing visited Imola last time around and is hoping that the FW44 can match its predecessor.
"I'm super excited to hit the track in Imola,” he said, adding: "It's the first Sprint Event of the year so I'm looking forward to that format and the opportunities it offers.
"It also provides an additional challenge for the teams, which will be even more interesting whilst we are still learning about these new cars.
"The Emilia Romagna track is one that has tended to suit our car in previous years and it's certainly one that I enjoy driving; a real old school circuit with a lot of great corners and curbs – I'm looking forward to it!"

Alex Albon is well aware of the challenging nature of Imola's undulating circuit, but our resident Tyre Whisperer believes that he is well prepared for his maiden Sprint outing.

"It's my first time competing in the Sprint event format," he explained, continuing: "I'm looking forward to the slightly different approach to the weekend and both the challenges and opportunities it will bring.
"Historically the team have gone quite well at Imola, so we'll get our heads down and see what we can do.

"We had a great race out in Melbourne and the team did an incredible job with the strategy, so hopefully we can use that momentum to keep pushing this weekend."

From the Pit Wall

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, knows that finding the setup from the limited Practice time on a Sprint weekend is the key to a successful Sunday: “We have enjoyed our recent trips to this great circuit for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and we are looking forward to another good weekend this year, especially off the back of an encouraging result in Melbourne.

“The unusual two-day format here in 2020 gives us some understanding of how the Sprint event will work this weekend; getting the setup right in a single free practice session before going straight into Qualifying is not easy, but it is a great challenge and opportunity.

“The circuit retains many of the elements that previously made it such a daunting and thrilling race circuit, including the overall fast-flowing nature and unusual anti-clockwise direction.

“The famous corners at Piratella, Acque Minerali and Rivazza are all as demanding as they ever were and the run from the second part of Rivazza to the chicane at Tamburello is now flat-out as it passes the new pit complex.

“There have been some minor changes to the DRS zone for 2022, which may affect the racing.

“The tyre compounds are the same as Saudi Arabia and are a good compromise for this circuit, especially given the Sprint session on Saturday.

“Following the intensity of the opening ‘flyaway’ races of the season, it has been good to get the cars back to the factory and refreshed ready for the next series of events.

“We’re all looking forward to a European race and the challenge of the sprint qualifying format.”

Did you know?

Although this will be the third Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, it is the 30th time that the 'Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari' will host a Grand Prix after holding a single Italian Grand Prix in 1980, and then the San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 until 2006.

Williams have stood on the top step of the podium at Imola on no fewer than eight occasions, with six different drivers taking the win – Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell took two wins apiece at the Italian circuit when wearing Williams overalls.

Imola has seen F1 racing around its various layouts since the 1960s, when it hosted non-championship rounds of Formula One but did not become an official Grand Prix venue until much later, thanks to Monza fighting to keep the title of the Italian home of motorsport.

After a surprise return in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then filling in for the cancelled Chinese Grand Prix in 2021, this year's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is the first since its return where the circuit has a longer-term deal secured after signing on to host a round of the F1 championship until 2025.
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