The weather forecast for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is biblical. In Imola, the heavens have already opened and that is expected to continue over the weekend with heavy rain expected over Saturday and Sunday, turning to lightning on Monday. By the time the lightning strikes, we could have seen an epic race, or a complete wash out that spoils the entire weekend.
The organisers are confident that the race will not be disrupted by the wet weather. WTF1 is reporting that “F1 sources are adamant that there is no concern about the event not going ahead”.
What must be avoided is a repeat of the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. A three-hour wait was followed by a pit-lane start, as the cars trundled around behind the safety car for two laps, before returning to the pit lane. Once two laps have been completed, half points are available to be awarded and Max Verstappen was given the race win and 12.5 points on his way to his first World Championship title.
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That ‘race’ didn’t suit anybody - well, perhaps the Red Bull garage that scooped a minor advantage over Lewis Hamilton that weekend. The controversial Michael Masi may have left his role as race director, but that doesn’t mean we are in the clear from officiating blunders.
Safety must be a priority, and if that means not having a race this season - that’s fine. We’ve got plenty more Formula One to enjoy this season, in fine conditions. However, if we do get to race, it will be intriguing to see how the consistently wet surface affects the supremely quick Red Bulls, and the rest of the pack.
It hasn’t rained yet at any track on race day this season. We expected some in Miami but it never arrived. Australia held onto its blue skies and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were both typically warm. We’ve not seen Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin push the Red Bulls in the rain and although all signs point to yet more dominance from Christian Horner’s team, it could spark something different.
Areas near the circuit, including the rivel 30 minutes away from the track have begun to flood.
The torential rain will continue for at least the next 24h.
© | @Julien_FEBREAU
Strategy mistakes, driver errors and mechanical failures are realistically the only way any other team is going to stand on top of the podium this season. It may sound a little early to say that given the extended season, but Red Bull are so far clear they might as well lift the Constructors’ Championship this weekend. The wet weather increases the chances of all three of those things, with multiple safety cars potentially opening a window of opportunity for the chasing pack.
What we will also see for the first time this weekend is the debut of the new Pirelli rain tyre. Can I get an ‘oooh’ from those at the back? It’s a tyre that doesn’t need to be heated up to produce maximum grip which should mean in extremely wet conditions we see less accidents. That’s the theory behind it anyway as Pirelli’s head of racing Mario Isola commented: “Track tests have shown even better performance than the previous Cinturato Blue full wet, even without the electric heating of the tyre. The result of studies carried out by Pirelli, it is the first concrete step towards the use of dry tyres without preheating.”
The Emilia Romagna area has been hit by both droughts and floods in recent weeks, with fears that the flooding could get a lot worse after the weekend. It’s the worst time for F1 to come to town, and yet it could finally give us the drama we all crave after the Red Bull procession we have seen so far.
*18+ | BeGambleAware