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The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari (commonly known as Imola) is a permanent racing circuit which held the 1980 Italian Grand Prix and all subsequent runnings of the San Marino Grand Prix until 2006. It is currently undergoing redevelopments with the aim of returning it to the Formula One calendar. The circuit is notorious as the home of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix during which Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were both killed.

Circuit LayoutsEdit

1980-1994Edit

Imola1980

The original layout of the Imola circuit featured several flat-out sections connected by tight hairpins. At first, the run from Rivazza (map bottom left) and Tosa (top right) was flat out, as was the run from Aqua Minerale to Rivazza. This meant that drivers reached very high speeds through Tamburello and Villeneuve. However, by 1980, the track was modified to slow cars slightly by adding a tight double-chicane between Rivazza and the Start/Finish line.

GP Imola 1991 - Riccardo Patrese qualify on board01:44

GP Imola 1991 - Riccardo Patrese qualify on board

On-board Lap of Imola, Ricardo Patrese, 1991

From the start line, the circuit ran through a quick left-hander (Tamburello) which was taken flat-out. From here, a short straight leads to a flat right-hader (Villeneuve) and tight left (Tosa). Following a short straight, and quick sweeping left hander lies Aqua Minerale, a tight right-left-right chicane. Over a crest is the right-left chicane, Variante Alta. Then down the hill to the double left hand Rivazza turns. Then back up the hill for a quick right-left and slower left-right (Variante Bassa) and on to the finish line.

Over 14 years on this layout, numerous major accidents occurred. Many of these, including seperate terrifying crashes involving Nelson Piquet, Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto, occurred at the notorious Tamburello Curve. Tamburello was a flat-out left-hander with very little run-off and a concrete wall outside of the track.

In the Friday practice session of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello was injured at Variante Bassa when his car was launched over the kerbs into a tyre barrier at high speed. On Saturday, after damaging his front wing on a previous lap, Roland Ratzenberger was killed when he failed to negotiate the Villeneuve corner and crashed heavily into the concrete wall at around 200mph, fatally fracturing his neck. The following day, during the race, three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna was also killed when his Williams-Renault went straight on at Tamburello and he hit the concrete wall at around 135mph. Though not badly injured by the impact, a piece of Senna's suspension wishbone penetrated the driver's helmet, causing fatal injuries.

In response to the accidents at the 1994 event, the FIA demanded that changes must be made to the circuit to improve the safety of the drivers. These changes were made ahead of the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix.

1995-2006Edit

Imola1995
Michael Schumacher - Imola 2004 (onboard)01:30

Michael Schumacher - Imola 2004 (onboard)

Imola On-board Lap, M Schumacher, 2004

Numerous changes to the Imola circuit were made from the 1995 event onwards:

  • Tamburello Curve was transformed into a much slower chicane, and the concrete run-off was replaced by gravel.
  • Villeneuve corner was changed from a fast right-hander to a slow left-right chicane.
  • The Aqua Minerale chicane was removed, and replaced by a double right-hander.
  • Variante Alta was flattened and tightened slightly.
  • The first chicane of Variante Bassa was removed, leaving a fast right hander, and a slow left-right chicane.

This layout of the Imola Circuit was used until 2006 after which the event was removed from the calendar.

CurrentEdit

Imola2010

In an attempt to reinstate the circuit into the Formula One calendar, the circuit was renovated in 2010. The pit lane and garages were demolished and replaced by a modern, extended complex. Variante Bassa was also removed, so that the circuit now runs flat-out from Rivazza to Tamburello. In 2008, the circuit was given a 1T FIA rating, allowing for F1 test events to be held there. In 2011 the circuit was upgraded to a 1 rating, allowing for F1 events to be held there. As yet, however, the circuit has not been reinstated to the calendar.

Event historyEdit

The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Imola circuit:

Year Event Winning Driver Winning Constructor
1980 Italian Grand PrixBrazilNelson PiquetUnited KingdomBrabham-Ford Cosworth
1981 San Marino Grand PrixBrazilNelson PiquetUnited KingdomBrabham-Ford Cosworth
1982 San Marino Grand PrixFranceDidier PironiItalyFerrari
1983 San Marino Grand PrixFrancePatrick TambayItalyFerrari
1984 San Marino Grand PrixFranceAlain ProstUnited KingdomMcLaren-TAG
1985 San Marino Grand PrixItalyElio de AngelisUnited KingdomLotus-Renault
1986 San Marino Grand PrixFranceAlain ProstUnited KingdomMcLaren-TAG
1987 San Marino Grand PrixUnited KingdomNigel MansellUnited KingdomWilliams-Honda
1988 San Marino Grand PrixBrazilAyrton SennaUnited KingdomMcLaren-Honda
1989 San Marino Grand PrixBrazilAyrton SennaUnited KingdomMcLaren-Honda
1990 San Marino Grand PrixItalyRicardo PatreseUnited KingdomWilliams-Renault
1991 San Marino Grand PrixBrazilAyrton SennaUnited KingdomMcLaren-Honda
1992 San Marino Grand PrixUnited KingdomNigel MansellUnited KingdomWilliams-Renault
1993 San Marino Grand PrixFranceAlain ProstUnited KingdomWilliams-Renault
1994 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherUnited KingdomBenetton-Ford Cosworth
1995 San Marino Grand PrixUnited KingdomDamon HillUnited KingdomWilliams-Renault
1996 San Marino Grand PrixUnited KingdomDamon HillUnited KingdomWilliams-Renault
1997 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyHeinz-Harald FrentzenUnited KingdomWilliams-Renault
1998 San Marino Grand PrixUnited KingdomDavid CoulthardUnited KingdomMcLaren-Mercedes
1999 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherItalyFerrari
2000 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherItalyFerrari
2001 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyRalf SchumacherUnited KingdomWilliams-BMW
2002 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherItalyFerrari
2003 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherItalyFerrari
2004 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherItalyFerrari
2005 San Marino Grand PrixSpainFernando AlonsoFranceRenault
2006 San Marino Grand PrixGermanyMichael SchumacherItalyFerrari

NotesEdit

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