Imola Grand Prix

The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix circuit, also known as the Imola grand pris, is one of the world’s most historic and iconic race tracks. Located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, the track has been host to numerous Formula One races and is famous for its challenging layout and high-speed corners.

History Of The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Circuit

Jim Clark 1953 imola

The Imola Grand Prix circuit opened in 1953, with the inaugural race being a non-championship event. It was not until 1963 that the circuit hosted its first official Formula One race, which was won by Jim Clark in a Lotus. The track has undergone numerous changes over the years. The most recent changes were made in 2020 in preparation for the return of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Ayrton Senna Was Killed At The Imola Grand Prix

The Imola Grand Prix -Ayrton Senna

The track gained worldwide attention in 1994 when Ayrton Senna was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix. Following the tragedy, the circuit underwent significant safety upgrades, including installing a new chicane at the Tamburello corner where Senna crashed.

The Imola Grand Prix

The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was first held in 2020 as a replacement for several races canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race was held without spectators and was won by Lewis Hamilton in a dominant performance. The 2021 race saw the return of spectators and was won by Max Verstappen, who took the lead early on and held off Hamilton to secure his first win at Imola.

The 2020 Imola Grand Prix

The 2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was brought back into the calendar during the COVID outbreak.

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)  led from pole position. Lewis Hamilton started in second position but was passed by Max Verstappen, who ended up in 2nd at the start.

Imola Grand Prix Race Day - Imola, Italy
© Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

On lap 2, Valtteri Bottas collided with some debris on the track that damaged his car. This slowed his progress and removed any hope that he would maintain first position.

Daniel Ricciardo driving for Red Bull, overtook Pierre Gasly when the lights went out, resulting in him moving up fourth place. Gasly had to retire due to a coolant leak.

The two leaders, Bottas and Verstappen, pitted for new tires in the early part of the race in the race.

The Virtual Safety Car

Hamilton stayed out looking to overcut the leaders. He benefited from a virtual safety car which placed him in the lead.

Verstappen overtook Bottas (with a damaged car). He then suffered a tire failure which resulted in his car leaving the track and ending up in the gravel trap at the Villeneuve chicane.

This resulted in a safety car.

George Russell spun

George Russell spun and crashed his Williams car into a wall between Piratella and Aqua Minerale during the safety car period. He was trying to warm his tires. After the restart, Daniil Kvyat managed to move up a few positions, resulting in fourth place.

Alex Albon had a spin when he was in 5th position and ended up in the back often pack.

Sergio Pérez pitted for new tires behind the safety car, which promoted  Daniel Ricciardo to third place behind the two Mercedes drivers.

The 2021 Imola Grand Prix

The Imola Grand Prix - Wet Start

Heavy rain had fallen before the race started, and the track was very wet at the start,

As a result, Fernando Alonso lost control on his way to the grid and hit the wall at Tosa. Luckily he managed to get to the grid, where the team mechanics could fix the damage.

The drama wasn’t over, as Sebastian Vettel’s brakes overheated before the race started. This meant he had to start from the pitlane.

For his trouble, he earned a ten-second penalty when the team did not manage to fit his car’s tires before the 5-minute deadline.

On the formation lap, Charles Leclerc spun out but could luckily recover.

All of this happened before the race even started!

Max Verstappen had a great start, overtaking his teammate Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton (the pole sitter) to take the lead.

The overtaking move forces Lewis over the curbs on the outside of the Tamburello curve. This resulted in front-wing damage.

Nikita Mazepin hit the Williams of Nicholas Latifi on the run-up to the Variante Alta chicane.

Mazepin’s Haas was not damaged, but the crash spun Latifi into the wall. His race was over.

The First Safety Car

A safety car came out, and during this period, Mick Schumacher had a spin near the pit exit. This caused him to lose his front wing!

Perez ran onto the grave and  – illegally –  regained his position. For his troubles, he earned a 10-second stop-go penalty.

Finally, the rain started to ease, and Vettel took the bit between his teeth, and on lap 22, he changed onto slick tires.

By this time, Max Verstappen was just over a second ahead of Lewis Hamilton. He pitted on lap 27 to change over to slick tires.

Hamilton tried to overcut Max, and it looked very close to Max when he entered the pits the next lap. Unfortunately, he had a slower pitstop and came out of the pits behind Max.

On lap 31, Lewis slid into the gravel at Tosa while trying to lap George Russell driving the Williams. He stopped the Mercedes clear of the barriers, but in a comedy-like fashion, he ended up in the barrier as he tried to rejoin the race.

This damaged his front wing.

The Second Safety Car

George Russell Imola Grand Prix Crash

After this George Russel suffered an uncharacteristic road rage incident when he crashed with the Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes at the entrance to the fast Tamburello chicane. When they collided, the two cars were traveling at 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph)

Both drivers were angry, and Russel walked over to Valtteri and slapped him on the helmet. An action which was returned by a middle finger salute from Valtteri.

This earned a rebuke from his mentor and future boss, Toto Wolff.

Fortunately, the accident was classified as a racing incident, and neither driver was penalized.

Immediately before the restart, Max’s car had a loose moment and almost spun at Rivazza. He kept control and stayed in the lead for th rest of the race.

Sergio Perez and Yuki Tsunoda span at Villeneuve and Tamburello, respectively. This meant they ended up in 14th and 15th position.

Lewis started ninth after the red flag and worked through the pack, eventually passing Norris for second place on lap 60.

Norris achieved his second career podium with a  third-place finish.

Despite his damage, Lewis claimed the bonus point for the fastest lap. The one point meant he kept his lead over Max in the championship.

The 2022 Imola Grand Prix

Like the 2021 event, the preceding hours of the 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix saw substantial rainfall.

As a result, everyone started in intermediate tires. The cars that started on the right side of the grid, which included  championship leader Charles Leclerc in second and his partner at Ferrari, Carlos Sainz Jr., in fourth, did not have a good start,

Charles Leclerc lost his position at the first turn to Sergio Pérez and Lando Norris. Carlos Sainz was overtaken by Lando  Norris and was hit by Daniel Ricciardo.

Imola Grand Prix Sainz and was hit by Daniel Ricciardo

The Crash Was A Racing Incident

The collision was deemed a racing incident meaning that Carlos was struck in the gravel. Ricciardo managed to get the track into the track and to pit. George Russell, Sebastian Vettel, and Lance Stroll all had great starts. Russell was sixth, Vettel ninth, and Stroll eleventh.

After this collision, Mick Schumacher spun, which meant he moved from 10th to 17th. His rear axle slid and touched the sidepod of Fernando Alonso, forcing the Spaniard to retire on lap 8. This caused the safety car.

Charles Leclerc ended up being stuck behind Norris, which meant that Max Verstappen and Pérez built a comfortable lead.

Verstappen was offered dry tires by Red Bull but declined, despite reports of the track drying.

On lap 8, Charles overtook Norris at turn 1. Although he could now compete with the Red Bull cars, he was 6.2 behind Verstappen and 3.3 seconds behind Perez.

Max said he was ready to switch to slicks if a safety car was brought out; he stayed on track.

Ricciardo Pits For Slicks

Ricciardo pitted for slicks on lap 18, and the rest of the pack followed suit in the next few laps.

Pèrez and Russell pitted on lap 19, a single lap earlier than Verstappen and Leclerc. Leclerc had a successful overcut and came out of the pits ahead of Sergio Pérez, which put him in second place.

Leclerc’s tires were colder, and Pérez took second place on the lap too. Max was a far distant figure with a lead of 7.5 seconds by this time.

Leclerc stayed close to Pérez and put him under pressure. Pérez made a mistake on lap 28, where he went over the grass at turns 14–15 turn chicane.

Leclerc closed within one second but couldn’t get past.

On lap 35, the DRS was finally turned on, but Leclerc was over one second behind Pèrez. This meant he couldn’t use the DRS.

Pierre Gasly got close enough to Alexander Albon to use DRS.

Sadly Lewis was stuck behind Gasly and Albon for the rest of the race and was eventually lapped by Max Verstappen.

Verstappen won the race in front of Pérez, Norris, and Russell.

Valtteri Bottas, Leclerc, Yuki Tsunoda, Vettel, Magnussen, and Stroll followed

Albon, Gasly, and Hamilton finished 11th, 12th, and 13th,

Valtteri’s fifth-place finish meant that Alfa Romeo secured sixth place in the Constructor’s Championship.

Imola Grand Prix – Track layout

Imola Grand Prix layout

The key statistics of Imola are as follows.

  • Circuit Length – 4.91km
  • Number of Laps – 63
  • Race Distance – 309.05km
  • Max Speed – 296.7km.h

The 4.9 kilometers of the Imola circuit feature 19 corners, including several high-speed chicanes and a mix of fast and slow corners. The track has a challenging layout and is often described as a “driver’s circuit” due to the technical demands placed on the drivers.

The start-finish straight leads into a tight right-hand hairpin at Turn 1, followed by a short straight that leads into the Variante Alta chicane at Turns 2 and 3. This chicane is a popular overtaking spot and requires precise braking and acceleration to navigate.

The track then heads into the high-speed left-hand Tamburello corner, followed by a short straight leading into the Villeneuve chicane at Turns 5 and 6. This chicane is named after former Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, who crashed and died at the corner during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.

Corner At Acque Minerali

The track heads into the fast left-hand corner at Acque Minerali, followed by the high-speed Variante Bassa chicane at Turns 9 and 10. This chicane is another popular overtaking spot and requires a good exit to set up for the following corner.

The track heads into the fast left-hand corner at Piratella, which leads into the Variante Alta chicane at Turns 14 and 15. This chicane is similar to the earlier Variante Alta chicane but is slightly slower and requires more precise entry and exit to maintain speed.

The track then heads into the final corner, the slow right-hand Rivazza corner, which leads back onto the start-finish straight.

The Imola circuit is known for its technical layout and high-speed corners, which require precise driving and a well-balanced car setup. The high-speed chicanes and corners place high demands on the brakes and suspension, requiring a good balance of downforce and straight-line speed to achieve optimal lap times.

One of the biggest challenges of the circuit is the lack of overtaking opportunities. The circuit features only a few overtaking spots, including the two Variante chicanes and the hairpin at Turn 1. This means that drivers often have.

When Is The 2023 Imola Grand Prix?

The timetable for the whole weekend is shown below.

Friday 22nd April

FIA Formula 3Practice Session09:55 – 10:40
Formula 1F1 Driver & Media Activity10:00 – 12:00
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Track Tour12:00 – 12:30
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Pit Lane Walk12:00 – 13:00
FIAF1 Car Presentation12:00 – 13:00
Formula 1FIRST PRACTICE SESSION13:30 – 14:30
FIA Formula 2Practice Session15:00 – 15:30
FIA Formula 3Qualifying Session15:55 – 16:25
Formula 1QUALIFYING17:00 – 18:00
FIA Formula 3Press Conference18:00 – 18:30
FIA Formula 2Qualifying Session18:30 – 19:00
FIA Formula 2Press Conference20:30 – 21:00

Saturday 23rd April

Porsche Mobil 1 SupercupPractice Session09:15 – 10:00
FORMULA 1Teams Press Conference10:00 – 11:00
FIA Formula 3Sprint Race (20 Laps or 40 Mins+1Lap)10:35 – 11:20
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Track Tour11:30 – 12:00
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Pit Lane Walk11:30 – 12:00
FIA Formula 3Press Conference11:40 – 12:10
Porsche Mobil 1 SupercupQualifying Session14:00 – 14:30
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Track Tour14:40 – 15:25
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Pit Lane Walk14:40 – 15:25
Formula 1SPRINT (21 Laps or 30 Mins)16:30 – 17:00
Formula 1Sprint Victory Ceremony17:00 – 17:30
Formula 1Press Conference17:00 – 18:00
FIA Formula 2Sprint Race (25 Laps or 45 Mins+1Lap)17:55 – 18:45
FIA Formula 2Press Conference19:05 – 19:35

Sunday 24th April

FIA Formula 3Feature Race (24 Laps or 45 Mins+1Lap)08:50 – 09:40
FIA Formula 2Feature Race (35 Laps or 60 Mins+1Lap)10:20 – 11:25
FIA Formula 2Press Conference11:45 – 12:15
Porsche Mobil 1 SupercupRace (14 Laps or 30 Mins)12:05 – 12:40
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Track Tour12:55 – 13:35
Paddock ClubPaddock Club Pit Lane Walk12:55 – 13:55
Formula 1Drivers’ Parade13:00 – 13:30
Formula 1Jean Alesi & Felipe Massa Fan Engagement13:00 – 13:50
Formula 1National Anthem14:44 – 14:46
Formula 1GRAND PRIX (63 LAPS OR 120 MINS)15:00 – 17:00

How To Book For The Imola Grand Prix?

Follow the link to access the official booking website – Link.

What Grand Stands To Book At The Imola Grand Prix?

There are 17 grandstands that you can book at Imola.


Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand  1

This grandstand is next to Grandstand A, at the entry into Tamburello at turn 1. It is not covered,  and you can see the large screen opposite.

The drawback of Grandstand 1 is that the view is slightly obstructed by fencing. It does not have the height of the stands next door, and they block the view of the start/finish straight.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstands 2-4

These are three grandstands that sit on the inside at the exit of the Tamburello Chicane.

One of the benefits of these stands is that they make you feel part of the race. There is a great view of the opening straight; you should get some great images with the correct exposure setting on your camera.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand B

This is the 5th grandstand in our review.

The grandstand offers a great view of the cars exiting the chicane into the Tosa hairpin. It also provides a view of the uphill exit.

A giant screen keeps you abreast of everything else happening in the race.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand 5

The sixth grandstand in our review is Grandstand 5. It is located next to Grandstand B, and even though it is a little further back, it still offers similar views.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstands D, E, F

Grandstands D, E, and F are very popular. They are in the Acqua Minerali section of Imola. This is a very fast (think full throttle) sweeping right-hand corner. This makes for great viewing.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand 7

This is one of the few grandstands that is located outside the track. It is built at the Variante Alta chicane. This is a tight right-left uphill series of corners. You won’t get much overtaking action but will quickly come to marvel at the F1 car’s incredible cornering ability.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand R

The 11th grandstand on this mini-review is located at the final corner – Rivazza, one of the circuit’s most popular overtaking points.

The stand is fitted with bucket-style seats, so your fellow spectators will not get in the way.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand H

The 12th grandstand is constructed outside of the track on the final corner.

This offers an excellent possibility that you will see the close wheel-to-wheel action of the rivers before they enter the turn.

The entry price into Grandstand H is slightly lower at the grandstand, making it more accessible for budget-conscious fans.

Imola Grand Prix – Grandstand I, M, A

Grand Stands

These are the last three stands in this review.

These are some of the most sought-after tickets because the grandstands offer excellent views of the following areas.

  • Parc Ferme
  • The pitlane.
  • The starting grid.
  • The exit of the final corner Rivazza.
  • The sole DRS zone on the circuit.

Where Is The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Circuit?

The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Circuit is located near Imola,  a city in the Metropolitan City of Bologna.

It is built along the river Santerno in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.

The city is a wonderful tourist attraction in its own right, with features such as those listed below.

Rocca Sforzesca
  • Imola Circuit
  • Rocca Sforzesca (Sforza Castle).
  • Palazzo Tozzoni (Tozzoni’s Mansion)
  • Duomo (cathedral).
  • Convento dell’Osservanza.
  • Santuario della Beata Vergine del Piratello monastry


If you are looking for an iconic F1 circuit to visit during the current season, Imola will not disappoint.

It combines very fast straights with complex, technically challenging corners. For the F1 fan, this is an unbeatable viewing combination.

By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!