The World Championship bids goodbye this weekend (30 October-1 November) to its European leg with the 2020 Emilia Romagna F1 GP, the thirteenth race of the season.
The event will take place at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit in Imola (Italy), a venue which had been absent from the championship four fourteen years (2006).
The track, which used to be the setting of the San Marino GP, is 4,909 meters long and has 19 curves, and it will pose a fresh challenge for riders, many of whom have never competed on it.
Imola is a very technical and old-school type of track, where mistakes are paid dearly. The third Italian appointment after Monza and Mugello will also introduce a major change to the usual Grand Prix format with the cancellation of Friday’s training sessions (Practices 1 and 2).
The teams will, therefore, only have one Free Practice session (90 minutes) on Saturday, two and a half hours before the qualifying round. On Sunday the race will be held behind closed doors once again to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus.
Mercedes: After its 7th Constructors’ Title
Mercedes are still the absolute favourites for the win at Imola. It does not matter much that they have never competed here during the hybrid era, or that they will have limited time to adapt and gather information on the behaviour of their cars.
Thanks to their overwhelming superiority this season, they will once again have a chance to seal the deal on their seventh consecutive Constructors’ Title.
At an individual level, and after beating Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins last Sunday in Portimao, Lewis Hamilton will seek his tenth pole and ninth victory of the year.
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) October 26, 2020
Red Bull: Looking for a breakthrough
Red Bull, or rather Max Verstappen alone, will stand once more against the German Empire as best as he can at the 2020 Emilia Romagna F1 GP.
The obvious talent of the Dutchman, however, can only do so much in the face of the mechanics of his RB16, which is just not good enough to defeat the Germans.
As for the other half of the team, Alex Albon, the rumours about his lay off are intensifying. The names of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are, in fact, sounding more and more insistently as possible replacements for the Anglo-Thai in 2021.
Ferrari: In need of another good result
The Scuderia arrives at the 2020 Emilia Romagna F1 GP, near its headquarters in Maranello, in turmoil. The umpteenth controversy was unleashed after a statement by Sebastian Vettel in which he suggested that his car was not the same as that of his teammate Charles Leclerc.
Ferrari’s Sports Director, Mattia Binotto, came out immediately to deny such insinuations. With unusual harshness, the Swiss boss declared that he expected more from a second driver, sending a not-so-subtle hint to Vettel.
The truth is that the SF1000 is making great progress at the hands of the Monegasque. So much so that they have already become a threat to the midfield. Leclerc got as fantastic fourth place at the Portuguese round and, if improvement continues at this rate, we shall see further progress in Imola.
A new battle in the midfield
All of the excitement and competitiveness lacking at the title bid end of things, can be found in abundance in the middle of the grid. This weekend at the 2020 Emilia Romagna F1 GP, we can expect another epic battle between Racing Point (126 points), McLaren (124 points) and Renault (120 points), all three separated by just six points.
After Carlos Sainz‘s sixth place in Portimao and the consistently good performances of Lando Norris, the team from Woking hopes to take the third place in the constructors’ standings back from Racing Point.
The changes to the aerodynamic package of the MCL35 in Portugal seem to have solved the problems experienced in Germany, so the outlook for the Tuscan race is a promising one.
Images of 2020 Emilia Romagna F1 GP: Alfa Romeo Racing.