Emilia Romagna GP: Bernie Collins Analyzes Strategic Factors in the Return of Formula 1 to Imola - Latest Global News

Emilia Romagna GP: Bernie Collins Analyzes Strategic Factors in the Return of Formula 1 to Imola

Ahead of this week’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Sky Sports F1 strategy expert Bernie Collins analyzes some of the key considerations for teams and drivers at Imola.

Anticipation is high as Formula 1 comes to Europe for the first time this season following Lando Norris’ stunning first victory in Miami.

The Brit’s triumph not only created special scenes in Florida, but also raised hopes that Max Verstappen faces a serious challenge as the Red Bull driver hunts for a fourth consecutive drivers’ title.

While McLaren will receive a lot of attention to see if they can match the speed that a huge upgrade package enabled in Miami, the main attraction in Italy will of course be Ferrari.

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Lando Norris took his first victory in Formula 1 at the Miami GP

The passionate Tifosi’s expectations are only heightened by Ferrari bringing its own upgrade to the race, which takes place just an hour or so from its Maranello factory.

With Mercedes also bringing the second half of an upgrade package they introduced in Miami, each of the event’s three practice sessions promises to be crucial as teams get the chance to collect more data after two consecutive sprint weekends.

Further mystery due to missing Imola data

Not only do the teams have to install new parts, but they also come to Imola with limited data at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

Last year’s event was canceled due to extreme flooding in the region, while in the previous two years both races were started on intermediate tires due to rain.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took victory at the 2022 Emilia-Romagna GP

This means that the last time teams had a dry start from which they had useful data to start on the grid was in 2020, of course before the introduction of the new generation of vehicles in 2022.

More importantly, the fact that the previous races started on a wet track means that the level of tire wear will be of little help on these occasions.

Who should the race track be suitable for?

Given the importance of the upgrades currently underway, it is difficult to make firm predictions.

A high number of medium-speed corners would probably have been seen as problematic for McLaren at the start of the season, but if their upgrade is as effective as Norris’ Miami pace promised, the Brit may be able to challenge Verstappen once again.

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Speaking on the F1 podcast, Harry Benjamin believes McLaren’s win in Miami could be a “real turning point” and challenge Red Bull week in, week out

The circuit’s chicanes require continuity when changing direction, a feature that Ferrari has highlighted throughout the ground effect regulations.

It’s safe to assume that if the SF-24’s upgrades work, the red cars could be in contention for victory, or at least in the hunt for the podium.

Amid the excitement at the prospect of more competitive action, it is important to remember that there were extenuating circumstances in each of the races Verstappen failed to win this season, with a technical failure in Australia and an early safety car interruption in Miami.

That said, even when he’s not at his best, the RB20’s all-round excellence means Verstappen is always in the hunt for victory.

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The F1 Podcast team discusses where McLaren’s form deviates from Mercedes and whether the Brackley team can make progress in 2024?

What is the most likely strategy?

There are two key factors that mean that, despite some confusion about tires, we are likely to see one-stop strategies in a dry race.

Firstly, overtaking on the racetrack is very difficult, meaning that a significant speed advantage is likely required to overtake, as was the case in Miami.

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Ride aboard Michael Schumacher as he dueled Fernando Alonso in the final laps of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix

The long loss of time caused by a stop, entailing the circuit’s long pitlane, will also deter drivers from attempting a two-stopper.

While a one-stopper certainly seems like the way to go, the fact that the tire compounds are a step softer than the last running of the race in 2022 could lead to some danger.

Drivers may have to use up the life of their tires, but the difficulty of overtaking should help them.

It’s also worth noting that the challenge of overtaking brings both the undercut and overcut into play, with a timely stop for fresh air offering the potential to make up several places.

More safety car drama?

While Norris finally got some well-deserved luck in Miami, there is every chance that the safety car could be a factor for a second race in a row.

It is understood that the likelihood of a safety car at Imola is very high as it has been required at each of the last three races at the circuit.

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Norris pulled away from Verstappen during the safety car restart at the Miami GP

As we saw in Miami, the timing of a safety car can change the entire course of a race, with a later stoppage at Imola potentially giving drivers the opportunity to switch to a two-stop strategy.

The added challenge of the wet weather was undoubtedly a factor in the safety cars required in recent races at Imola, but that could be the case again on Sunday.

While it looks likely to be dry on Friday and Saturday, there is currently a significant chance of rain on Sunday, which would only add to an already exciting weekend.

The Emilia Romagna GP live schedule from Sky Sports F1

Thursday, May 16th
1:30 p.m.: Drivers’ press conference

Friday, May 17th
8:50 a.m.: F3 practice
10 a.m.: F2 training
12 p.m.: First GP training in Emilia Romagna (meeting starts at 12.30 p.m.)
2:00 p.m.: F3 qualification
2:55 p.m.: F2 qualifying
3:45 p.m.: Second GP training in Emilia Romagna (meeting starts at 4 p.m.)
5:30 p.m.: The F1 show

Formula 1 will visit Europe for the first time in 2024 with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola

Saturday May 18th
9 a.m.: F3 sprint
11:15 a.m.: Third GP training in Emilia Romagna (meeting starts at 11:30 a.m.)
1:10 p.m.: F2 sprint
2.10 p.m.: Preparation for the Emilia Romagna GP qualifying
3:00 p.m.: Emilia Romagna GP qualification
5:00 p.m.: Ted’s Qualification Notebook
5:30 p.m.: Indy 500 qualifying

Sunday, May 19th
7.30am: F3 feature race
9am: F2 feature race
12:30 p.m.: Grand Prix Sunday: Preparation for the Emilia Romagna GP
4 p.m.: Checkered flag: Reaction of the Emilia Romagna GP
5 p.m.: Ted’s notebook
8:00 p.m.: Indy 500 qualifying

Formula 1 heads to Europe as Imola returns to the calendar after last year’s canceled race. Watch the Emilia Romagna GP from May 17th to 19th. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month membership – no contract, cancel anytime

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