Car video reviews:
A Little History About the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
The first race of the "European season" in this year's Formula One season was held at the legendary Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, best known as Imola. It was called the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (actually, it had a super and unnecessary long name), but it used to be known simply as the San Marino Grand Prix back in the good old days.

A Little History About the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Alain Prost San Marino GPMichael Schumacher San Marino GPRalf Schumacher San Marino GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GPHistory of Emilia Romagna GP
The idea behind the circuit was to create a track like a mini Nurburgring, with the same technical layout but shorter in length, and situate it in the area of Monte Castelluccio, on public roads but quite far from city centers.

Now, let's talk about April 1953, when a motorcycle competition gave the "Imola fans" their first race with the "Gran Premio Coni." Motorcycle races are a big part of the history of the Imola track and they made it what it is today.

On 21 April 1963, racing fans saw Formula One cars racing around the track for the first time, even though it was a non-championship event. It gave people a taste of what was to come. Imagine seeing greats like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, or Jack Brabham pushing their limits behind the wheels of V8 monsters that could kill you immediately if you made a mistake.

In 1979, Imola had become a permanent racing facility but again held out a non-championship race. This time, the event was known as the Dino Ferrari Grand Prix, a tribute to Enzo Ferrari's son, who had died at the age of 24 due to muscular dystrophy. The race was won by the late great and three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who jumped in his Alfa Romeo-powered Brabham.

However, Formula One cars were back in Imola for the 51st Italian Grand Prix one year later. It would be the only time when the Italian Grand Prix was not be held at Monza. Why, you may ask? Well, the "Temple of Speed" was a little bit long in the tooth and required some updates to improve the quality of racing and, of course, safety.

Then, from 1981 to 2006, Imola staged a round of the F1 world championship in its own right, known as the San Marino Grand Prix. For 25 years, Italy had two races, with Imola hosting one in the Spring and Monza the other in early Fall, which was great news for the Tifosi.

In 2006, the San Marino Grand Prix was dropped to make room for the Belgian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, this track was the place for arguably the worst weekend in Formula One history. We are talking about the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. During the Friday qualifying session, Rubens Barrichello had an awful crash hitting the tire barrier at 225 kph (140 mph). The impact was so powerful that it left the Jordan driver unconscious.

Eighteen minutes into the final qualifying session, Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger failed to negotiate a corner in his Simtek; he hit the opposing concrete retaining barrier wall almost head-on and was critically injured.

On Sunday, we all know what happened. On Lap 7, Ayrton Senna was going at a speed of 305 kph (190 mph); Ayrton's car could not take the high-speed turn at the Tamburello corner and hit the concrete barrier at a rate of 211 kph (131 mph). Senna was killed instantly, and when the officials were examining the wreckage of the Brazilian car, they found an Austrian Flag in honor of Roland.

As of 2020, the Imola track is back into the world of Formula One, and in 2022 it signed a contract for another five years. All we can say is that we love the addition of a legendary track with so much history in the new era of F1.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories