F1 News

changes to imola circuit with more gravel beds

Verstappen gets his way: Imola more and more old school

14 May at 16:00
  • Ludo van Denderen

Max Verstappen is an enthusiast: the Red Bull Racing Dutch driver prefers to race on old school circuits; tracks where every little mistake is punished. The iconic circuit in Imola, Italy, which hosts the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, is exactly that. The gravel is always close, exit lanes are far from always there. And in '24 it gets even more exciting.

In the run-up to the Imola Grand Prix, a lot of work has been done on track modifications. For example, the piece of asphalt behind the curb from the Piratella has disappeared and there is now sand there. This means the drivers can no longer go too wide at that spot, otherwise there is a chance of ending up in the sand - with all the consequences.

More gravel, fewer run-out lanes

A similar change has also been made in the Acque Minerali. Until recently, there was a stretch of asphalt in front of the gravel pit, but this has been removed. This means that drivers have to be much sharper there when going through corners 11 to 13. Finally, in the Gresini Variante Alta, the barriers have been removed and gravel has been placed there too. In short, there is little margin for error at Imola next weekend.

The reason the Imola circuit has made these changes is partly in view of the future. The track still has a place on the Formula 1 calendar until 2026 but, after that everything is open. Since F1 has two races in Italy - Imola and Monza - the big question is whether it will stay that way. For the Italians, the priority is first to extend the contract with Monza, preferably for a 10-year period.

This article was written in collaboration with Sophia Crothall.