The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari is located right next to the town of Imola and is popularly known as such. Because the circuit is also relatively close to the Ferrari factory in Maranello, it is also seen as a Ferrari home circuit. That's why it is named after its founder and his son.
The fast character of Imola
Built in 1953 as a semi-street circuit, the Imola circuit was considered one of the fastest in the world for the first twenty years of its existence. Although the modern layout is still largely the same, several chicanes have been built over the years to get the speed out of it. Think of the Variant Alta.
Although Formula 1 races were previously held at Imola, the first official Grand Prix was not held here until 1980. The circuit then replaced Monza for the Italian GP, and it was such a success that they decided to come back here from now on. From 1981, the San Marino Grand Prix was created especially for this purpose.
The black history of Imola
With its beautiful location between the historic center of Imola and the hills of the Apennines, the F1 race quickly became a classic here. Battles like the one between Ferrari teammates Didier Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve became famous.
Unfortunately, it was also soon discovered that the circuit at Imola was not without its dangers. The crash of Gilles Villeneuve in the corner, which would later be named after him, already showed this in 1981. Also Nelson Piquet and Gerhard Berger were lucky to survive their crash at Tamburello in 1987 and 1989.
It would all be a harbinger for that one dramatic weekend in 1994, when first Roland Ratzenberger crashed in the Villeneuve curve and Ayrton Senna the same happened in Tamburello a day later. So after that year, chicanes were built in those places.
The home of Ferrari
Although the track is named after Ferrari's founder, the team itself has been dry here for a long time. From 1984 to 1998, all victories went to British teams, with McLaren and Williams accounting for the majority.
The tifosi, who turned the hills around the track red every spring, had to wait until 1999 before Ferrari could win here again. That was thanks to none other than Michael Schumacher. He won five more times until the last Grand Prix in 2006, and with a total of seven victories, he's also a record holder.
Changes for 2020
The circuit has changed a lot compared to the last GP in 2006. The Variant Bassa for coming up the straight has been removed. From the Rivazza to the Tamburello is now at full throttle, giving the track back to its old character.
The San Marino Grand Prix has also been cancelled. The race now gets the name of the region where the circuit is actually located: The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. By the way, the GP will cover not three, but two days, also a first for F1.