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Emilia Romagna GP: Preview - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
18/04/2022

Formula 1 returns to Imola, one of Pirelli's two home races (alongside Monza), with the C2, C3 and C4 tyres nominated for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as P Zero White hard, P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Red soft respectively. This is the same nomination as was made for Imola last year, although the compounds are of course different with the latest generation of 18-inch tyres.

The tyres are all-new but the Imola track is just as it was at this time last year, with a narrow, old-school feel. The asphalt dates from 2011, which makes the 11-year old surface reasonably abrasive. That's why we don't see the same double step between medium and soft as we had in Australia a couple of weeks ago: the more mature surface at Imola generates more grip and therefore more heat in the tyres, requiring a more robust softest compound.

The forces at work on the tyres are generally equal between lateral and longitudinal, making it a flowing track where drivers need to find a good rhythm. It's particularly important to get good traction out of the final Rivazza corner in order to have a strong run down the start-finish straight before a heavy braking area into the first corner: a key overtaking opportunity.

Imola marks the first sprint session of the year, with rules that are slightly revised compared to last year, including more points on offer. From 2022, pole position will be recorded as the driver who goes fastest in Friday's qualifying session - and this driver will be the recipient of the Pirelli Pole Position Award. The tyre rules are the same as last year's sprint events though. Rather than having 13 sets of tyres for a conventional weekend, there will be just 12 sets. These consist of two sets of P Zero White hard, four sets of P Zero Yellow medium, and six sets of P Zero Red soft. In addition, the teams will have up to six sets of Cinturato Green intermediates and three sets of Cinturato Blue full wets available in case of wet weather.

Mario Isola: "Imola is an old-school, challenging track, where overtaking can be tricky, also because the circuit is quite narrow in places. So the strategy is likely to centre around avoiding traffic, and effectively the teams start from scratch here in terms of tyre knowledge - as the compounds are completely different this year, and last year's race also began on the wet-weather tyres, before being interrupted by a lengthy red flag period.

"Generally speaking, Imola is a medium severity track for the tyres, and it's a venue that is used quite frequently. This means that we might see a little less track evolution than we've been accustomed to at other circuits as the track is well rubbered-in already: the first round of the Pirelli-equipped GT World Challenge took place at Imola last month, which gave us some useful data.

"These are just some of the factors that the teams will have to take into account when establishing the tyre strategy for the opening sprint session of the year: another first for the 2022 season."

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