Imola is a picturesque little town in the province of Bologna which can be found on the Santerno river in north-central Italy. For much of the year this ancient Roman settlement enjoys a charming tranquillity that lends itself to romantic getaways and leisurely holidays. Imola is best known for two things – it is the home of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and the San Marino Grand Prix. It also unfortunately known as the track where the legendary Ayrton Senna lost his life in 1994. Rubens Barrichello was also badly injured in that very same race.
The Formula One San Marino Grand Prix is named for the nearby independent republic of San Marino but it is held in Imola. The track as Imola was used for the 51st Italian Grand Prix in 1980 and became a regular home for the San Marino Grand Prix shortly afterwards. This Formula One championship race has been run at the Autodrome Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola since 1981. It was named for San Marino as there was already an Italian Grand Prix at the time. Since San Marino is too small to host a grand prix, the decision was made to use the track at Imola and name the Grand Prix after the republic.
Motoring enthusiasts are usually pleased to learn that the area surrounding Imola is home to a number of racing car manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. What’s more, a number of local roads have been linked together to form a test track for these manufacturers. This means that bystanders are often given the opportunity to see new and improved models in action as they are being tested on the public roads. Imola has a strong racing legacy and cars have been zipping around the area since 1954.
The first non-championship event with Formula One cars to be held here took place in 1963. However the racetrack at Imola really came into its own when, in 1980, the Italian Grand Prix was temporarily moved to Imola from Monza after a massive and tragic start line pile-up. The following year the Italian Grand Prix was moved back to Monza and the decision was made to launch the track in Imola as the San Marino Grand Prix. Though the track has been incredibly popular during the course of it’s racing career, recent accidents and deaths have brought up complaints of unsafe road-surfaces and other scruples. As a result the San Marino Grand Prix may soon end a long and successful period as a brilliant Formula One Grand Prix host.
The 2010 Italian Grand Prix will be held at Monza.
The San Marino Grand Prix forms a part of the Formula One Championship calendar each year. It has been held at the Autodromo e Dino Ferrari of Imola, Italy for several years, and as there was already an Italian Grand Prix when it was established, it was named the San Marino Grand Prix. A number of thrilling races have been recorded during the San Marino Grand Prix, which draws large numbers of Formula One fans each year.
Imola proves to be the perfect setting for Formula One racing. For decades it has been surrounded by numerous racing car manufacturers such as Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini. San Marino hosted its first car race in 1954, and several years later, in 1963, San Marino held a race with F1 cars. This non-championship race was won by Lotus’ Jim Clark and set a precedent for things to come. By the year 1980, the Italian Grand Prix was transferred to Imola from Monza after an awful startline pile-up in 1978. This amazing Formula One race was won by Nelson Piquet. The Italian Grand Prix moved back to Monza in 1981, with Imola creating its own race, namely the San Marino Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, the history of the San Marino Grand Prix was marked by 3 large accidents in 1994. That year was sadly marred by the death of F1 legend Ayrton Senna as well as great driver Roland Ratzenberger. However, there have been many exciting events at the San Marino Grand Prix. One of the most notable was the duel between Didier Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve in 1982.
The San Marino Grand Prix runs for 62 laps around the 4.93 km circuit of Autodomo e Dino Ferrari. Thus the race totals 305.61 km. Michael Schumacher has won the San Marino Grand Prix in the following years: 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000,1999 and 1994. Fernando Alonso gained victory in 2005 and Ralf Schumacher took the lead in 2001.
Unfortunately, the facilities at Imola deteriorated to the point that the San Marino Grand Prix was excluded from the 2007 calendar and has not featured since.
Heading into the halfway point for the 2006 F1 season, Michael Schumacher held off Fernando Alonso in a tight duel Sunday May 7th to win the San Marino Grand Prix. Schumacher covered 62 laps around the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 6.486 seconds, with Alonso 2.0 seconds behind.
A look at the current standings:
|1) F. Alonzo||44 Points|
|2) M. Schumacher||31 Points|
|3) K. Raikkonen||23 Points|
|4) G. Fisichella||18 Points|
|5) F. Massa||15 Points|
|6) J. Montoya||15 Points|
|7) J. Button||13 Points|
|8 R. Schumacher||7 Points|
By winning the European Grand Prix on Sunday, Schumacher has re-established himself as a bonafide championship contender. Defending champion Fernando Alonso might find the German a bit tougher last year’s runner-up Kimi Raikkonen was in 2005. The European Grand Prix saw a masterful performance from Schumacher, who put in quick pit stops and matched Alonso lap for lap setting Schumi up to defeat the championship leader for the second successive race. Felipe Massa finished third. And as the point spread between Alonzo and Schumacher narrows, at this point it’s a safe bet to say “it’s anyone’s race”!