The Formula One paddock moves on to Italy for the second event of the season this weekend, visiting Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The track returned to the calendar after a 13-year absence as part of the rearranged 2020 season, where the team came agonisingly close to a points-scoring finish.
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 track is narrow in places, making overtaking challenging, and strategy therefore key.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Having spent several weeks in Bahrain, we are looking forward to putting the FW43B through its paces at a different circuit. We were pleased with our performance when we visited Imola in late October and we felt that we adapted to the challenge of a two-day event well. This year we have the opportunity to revisit this great circuit and to spend a full weekend exploring the car set-up.
Imola is a fast, flowing circuit with some tricky corner combinations. The weather conditions should be similar to those that we encountered in October and providing it stays dry, the weather is unlikely to a major factor for the weekend.
There will be a few changes to the car this weekend mainly aimed at resolving the issue that caused us to retire Nicholas's car in Bahrain. We also have some additional test items to try as we look to improve the characteristics of the car and to adapt it to the different challenge of Imola.
Both George and Nicholas drove well here last year and found good set-ups to deal with the kerbs and anti-clockwise nature of the track. As a team we are all looking forward to building on the lessons learnt six months ago and putting up another strong performance at this historic venue.
George Russell: Imola is a fantastic circuit; it's very fast and you really need to be committed. It also has a lot of character that the newer tracks sometimes lack, and you feel that when you're bouncing over the kerbs. I'm very happy that the track is back on the calendar this season.
I made what is probably the biggest mistake of my career at Imola in 2020 when crashing under the safety car. It's a track where, if you make a mistake, you're out. But that's what racing should be about! I'll look to try and rectify my mistake from last year with a good result this weekend.
Nicholas Latifi: I'm excited to hit the track at Imola; it was a circuit that seemed to suit our car quite well last year and I had one of my best results of the season in the race. I'm curious to see how the car is going to perform there, especially after a weekend of inconsistent conditions in Bahrain with the wind. Having all three practice sessions will be useful, as last year we only had the one, so we'll be able to build the weekend from there and hopefully we can be competitive and have a good race.