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Formula 1 Preview: Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Written by Marcus Woodhouse, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit: Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images

It’s the world-renowned Formula 1 MSC Cruises Gran Premio Del Made In Italy E Dell’Emilia-Romagna 2024 race weekend, and the pre-race excitement is at fever pitch. Spirits all across the paddock are still soaring after Lando Norris’ eventual, spectacular maiden victory in Miami, and the whole world will be watching to see if he or any other can take the fight to Max Verstappen once more in Imola.

Circuit Guide

Credit: Formula 1

With a proper old-school feel accompanying the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, each of our 20 drivers will have their mettle truly tested as they zip around this 4.909 km (3.050 mile) circuit. 

They will be pushing the limits of their mental and physical endurance for 63 laps anti-clockwise, and overtaking opportunities are not handed out for free, with a solitary DRS (Drag Reduction System) detection point preceding Rivazza, and the DRS zone being the start-finish straight. 

Some iconic features of this track include the riveting turns of Piratella and Acque Minerali, while the Variante Tamburello chicane, although only similar to what preceded it in name, brings back memories of Ayrton Senna’s tragic passing in the San Marino Grand Prix 30 years ago now, in which we also suffered the loss of Roland Ratzenberger.

Weekend Format

It’s taken a while, but we finally have a Formula 1 race weekend with standard, recognisable timings and a regular weekend format.

Schedule (in BST)

Practice 1 - Friday, 12:30 pm

Practice 2 - Friday, 16:00 pm

Practice 3 - Saturday, 11:30 am

Qualifying - Saturday, 15:00 pm

Race - Sunday, 14:00 pm

Weather Forecast

Fairly warm temperatures of 22-25oC (72-77oF) will make for a pleasant weekend all round, and while rain is off the radar for qualifying on Saturday, Sunday sees a 45% chance of rain at the race start, and no significant drop-off for the remainder of the action.

Major Talking Points

  • Can McLaren keep up the fight at the front? - It was a successful weekend on all accounts for the Papaya boys and girls in Miami, clouded only slightly by Oscar Piastri’s race-destroying clashes with Carlos Sainz, so can they maintain this high performance and challenge for victory again on Sunday?

  • Is the curtain closing on Logan Sargeant’s F1 career? - Frustration was the theme in Miami for Sargeant, as a wretched collision with the seasoned professional Kevin Magnussen sent his dreams of a home race result into the barriers. With plenty of anticipation around the young, extremely talented Kimi Antonelli, is it the end of the line for the American?

  • Who else can Ferrari add to their 2025 team? - With the news breaking that the Prancing Horse’s latest inductee Lewis Hamilton has brought over two former Mercedes men to aid their quest for glory next year, the question beckons as to who else they can bring to the table. Will all this motion tempt even design guru Adrian Newey into a big-money deal at Ferrari?

Drivers to Watch

Credit: Mario Renzi - Formula 1 via Getty Images

Lando Norris - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

It’s been a long time coming for the young Brit, but he finally earned the chance to step up onto the top spot of the podium in Miami and take all the spoils. What makes it an even more exciting result for the McLaren crew is that he was able to pull away so rapidly from the charging Verstappen in his mirrors and eventually pull out a gap of just under eight seconds. 

The upgrades have clearly made a noticeable difference, and there is no reason why Norris can’t fight for victory again this weekend, at a circuit where he already has two podiums in two races.

Charles Leclerc - Grazie Ragazzi

While his Ferrari remained frustratingly just a little slower than Verstappen’s Red Bull or Norris’ McLaren last weekend, it was certainly an understated weekend from the Monegasque driver. He converted second on the grid for the sprint into a second place finish, before coming home to claim an impressive podium finish when it mattered the most on Sunday. 

With the Tifosi filling the grandstands here in Imola, it would be foolish to count out Leclerc from delivering the goods, and delighting all those in attendance with a shock result this weekend.

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