The paddock makes it first European appearance of the season this week, where Italy hosts round four of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship: the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Running through a beautiful parkland setting, the circuit offers twelve left-hand and nine right-hand corners, situated deep within the Emilia Romagna region. The bumpy Imola circuit is narrow in places, making overtaking both challenging and risky, so strategy is key.
Imola will also mark the season’s first Saturday Sprint event, with Qualifying moving to the Friday afternoon slot.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: 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.
Nicholas Latifi: I'm super excited to hit the track in Imola. 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: It's my first time competing in the Sprint event format, so 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.