Your A-Z Guide to the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
The first European track this season and also the first sprint weekend of 2022...
Welcome to your A-Z Guide to the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix! F1 makes its first trip to Europe in 2022 for round number 4 at the historic Imola Circuit in Italy! Besides being the first European race of this season, it is also the first sprint weekend of 2022 which should make for a very intriguing race weekend. So we're here with your full race preview as we'll be breaking down the track characteristics, the important sprint race details and changes, and a lot of F1 news and updates for the weekend. As always guys, if you like these A-Z Guides, subscribe to the channel and enable notifications so you never miss a race preview this season!
The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari is one of the more old school circuits on the modern F1 calendar. It's narrow, bumpy, and properly quick in an F1 car which gives drivers a legitimate thrill and challenge. The 4.9KM circuit runs anti-clockwise with 19 corners overall, 10 that go to the left, and 9 that go to the right. Imola has some fantastic track characteristics with plenty of elevation changes and bends. Being an old school track, gravel traps are never far away so drivers are punished for pushing past the limits. Teams often opt for a medium downforce setup range as it gives you good speed down the long back straights and enough grip through the demanding corners of Acque Minerali and Piratella. Tyre stress around Imola is not too harsh according to Pirelli as it is rated 3/5 on their tyre stress scale. But as you'll see in the weekend notes, the need for slick tyres might not even be necessary in Imola this weekend!
Imola's history with Formula 1 can be traced back to 1980 when it first appeared on the calendar. Since then, it's been called the San Marino Grand Prix and only until a few years ago did Imola make its return to the F1 calendar. Today it is called the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix simply because Emilia Romagna is the region the track is based in. The most successful team in Imola is unsurprisingly the home favorites Ferrari. They've won 8 races at this track for a total of 27% of the total wins. Williams is tied with Ferrari for 8 wins as well around this circuit with McLaren being the only other team to win more than once around here, as they have 6 victories of their own. Since this circuit has only recently returned to F1, only three current drivers have won at Imola and that is Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso. If you want to win a Grand Prix around Imola, starting on the front row is key. 34% of drivers have won from actually starting second on the grid while another 31% have been able to convert from pole position. Only 14% of race winners have been able to win starting from outside the top 3. And finally, the historical safety car probability around this circuit is at 14% but since F1's return to Imola in 2020, we've seen a 100% safety car deployment rate for the Emilia Romagna GP.
The first of three Sprint Weekends in 2022 so make sure to check your local session start times. The format is roughly the same as in 2021 with FP1 and Qualifying taking place on Friday. The Friday qualifying results determine the starting grid for the Sprint. On Saturday comes FP2 and the Sprint Race in the afternoon. The Sprint will then decide the starting grid for the full Grand Prix on Sunday. More sprint weekend changes will be in the weekend notes.
Let's start by looking at the predicted weather forecast for Imola.
Weather - Early indications are that we could be in for a wet weekend in Italy. Friday looks like the worst day with only a high of 13 degrees and a 90% chance of rain. Saturday looks clear for the Sprint race with a high of 22 but their is a chance of a shower for the race on Sunday at 40%.
Tyres - Pirelli go with the C2, C3, and C4 compounds for Imola. The track asphalt dates back to 2011 and is reasonably abrasive. Because it is a sprint weekend, drivers will only have 12 sets of tyres instead of the conventional 13. Importantly, teams will have six sets of Green marked Intermediate tyres, and three sets of blue marked full wets.
Sprint Race Format - Some changes to this year's sprint weekend we'll go over but just a quick reminder of how things work. The Sprint on Saturday will be a 100KM race with no mandatory pitstops and free tyre choice. However, what's new for 2022 is the points system. F1's Sprint will now award points to the top eight drivers with P1 taking 8 points with a sliding scale down to one point for eighth place. Lastly, in 2022, the driver to when the sprint was awarded the honor of pole position. This year, the driver who sets the fastest time in qualifying (which is on Friday) will be given that accolade.
Upgrades Everywhere - The development race is heating up and plenty of teams are bringing updates to Imola. Here is the current rundown of some of the new bits you should expect to see.
Alpine - The team is planning a 'significant' aero update for this weekend. The changes will likely focus on one area which is the floor.
Ferrari - The championship leaders were supposed to bring floor updates to their home race but they have decided not too because of the sprint weekend and possible wet conditions. They think the F1-75 is strong enough to be good in Imola as well.
Alpha Tauri - The home team will bring a major upgrade to Imola as Alpha Tauri will bring a floor update as well as revised front brake ducts.
Williams Shed Paint to save Weight - In order to help get closer to the 798kg weight limit, Williams have joined other teams in running large areas of their car in raw carbon fiber, after stripping down some painted areas around the sidepods and airbox that were previously in dark blue or gloss black.