Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Why Did F1 Stop Racing at Imola?

Published 04/01/2021, 12:35 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – November 1, 2020 Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during the race Pool via Reuters/Miguel Medina


In 2020, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari made its return to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 2006. Imola, as it is popularly known, made its glorious return as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in the 2020 season. Now, the race is back once again in 2021 at the iconic circuit.

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However, it does beg the question, why was the Imola GP absent from the F1 calendar for so long?

Apparently, the primary reason was that F1 wanted to accommodate the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. Since then, the sport never managed to find a slot to slip the Imola race seamlessly. As a result, it dropped off the F1 map for the next 14 years.

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The Imola circuit was a true old-school circuit and one of the most popular, but it did not meet the FIA standards for a fairly long time. However, once it underwent major renovation, it finally received approval to host a Formula 1 race. Admittedly, many thought that Imola’s chances of returning were slim, because F1 was still expanding its empire.

Another reason behind its absence could be because it could not afford to pay the hosting fee. Luckily, the circuit returned to the calendar in 2020, with Lewis Hamilton winning the Grand Prix.

Many were excited for Imola’s return to Formula 1 in 2020

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The iconic circuit has hosted F1 races for 14 years, 15 if we include the 2020 season. Now, the circuit has been bumped up the order to second. Last year, Imola was placed near the middle of the calendar, but this year it is the second race of the season. After its exciting return, many drivers and fans are excited to go back to Imola once again. Despite its bad reputation, after the tragic passing of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, many fans still love the track.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – General view during the race Pool via Reuters/Davide Gennariimola

Last year was a treat for Italian fans, as Imola joined Monza and Mugello on the calendar. In other words, there were three Italian rounds in the 2020 Formula One world championship. This year, there is no Mugello, barring something dramatic like a last-minute addition or drop off from the 2021 F1 calendar.

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Dhruv George

11441 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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