Start, Imola, 2003

FIA opens door to future Imola return

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting has reportedly approved the Imola circuit as a potential future Formula One venue.

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Comment of the day

After Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn’s suggestions that modern Formula One is ‘too technical’, @blockwall2 considers it more of an asset than an ailment.

For me Kaltenborn’s complaints suggest that Sauber don’t know that they are doing technically so they want the sport dumbed down. This makes sense when you look at their on track performance.

A side note that is kind of related: I get frustrated with people that want to go back to old tech because they can understand it more or because it was ‘cool’. You have to remember that the sport is built on people like Dan Gurney being innovative and discovering new ways of making racing cars go faster. A big reason why the old tech that a lot of people like was cool when it was around was because it was pushing the limit of what was technically possible at that time. Fortunately F1’s current engine and aero formula is allowing teams to do some really cool engineering that is innovative. Hopefully future changes to the formula are just as forward thinking from and engineering standpoint.

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On this day in F1

  • Ayrton Senna put his Lotus on pole position at Detroit on this day in 1987.

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  • 75 comments on “FIA opens door to future Imola return”

    1. I’m sure Toto just likes reading about himself in the news, I’m sure that’s why he’s always quick to give his opinion on everything and nothing in the pitlane.

      1. Or … just throwing this out there … perhaps he is simply giving his responses/opinions to questions posed to him by journalists?

      2. I find your comment on Toto a little silly, maybe, just maybe he gives his opinion because he is asked for it.

      3. Sounds to me like he was ask questions, and this time he felt obliged to say good things. Probably because it is a awesome car and hundreds of people worked passionately on it, and they should enjoy some praise.

      4. Bit of a silly statement; perhaps he’s just answering questons being asked of him, and as the team principal of the current defending champions his quotes are frequently published?

      5. This week, he’s saying “I believe our car is the fastest on the grid and I wouldn’t want any other.” This is only 1 race after him saying “It’s painful that we aren’t favourites anymore.”

        1. I think it is very easy to defend TW on this one. First of all, his ‘painful’ remark came at a time when they were not leading either Championship, only a handful of weeks ago. Why wouldn’t it feel painful after having such a strong run race after race for 3 years and 3 WDCs and 3 WCCs?

          Secondly, the remarks quoted above come from Mercedes own site. I can’t speak for who was asking the questions or what the inspiration for the comments was, but indeed he is clarifying, just as LH already had said, that they went 24/7 after Monaco to try to sort out and understand the car better and they feel they have. In calling the car a bit of a diva they are leaving some room that it may still not be strong or predictable at all tracks like the Ferrari seems to be, but they are much more confident now than they were.

          I just don’t know what anyone thinks TW should say that isn’t dictating what he must say. But then I also think that when TW would always say in recent years the Ferrari’s are closing in on them, when in fact they never really did, he was just being a diplomat of the sport and felt it was better to say things like that than to not only dominate on the track but to then be publicly in everyone’s face about it, which would gleen just as much or more criticism for him coming off cocky and needing to be taken down a notch.

    2. A celebration of Bernies contribution to motorsport !? would that be a row of port-a-loos to flush the sport down or perhaps a wind tunnel converted into a giant vacumn cleaner to hoover up all the cash ?

      1. COTD right there!

      2. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        20th June 2017, 0:52

        While the back-end of Bernie’s reign was nothing more than him trying to squeeze blood from a turnip, the front-end and middle of his legacy paved the way for F1 to grow into the mega-sport that it is today.

        1. Unfortunately the front end paved the way for the middle which paved the way for the back-end. Greed, all personal greed.

          1. I should come up with 1-liners like this ;)

        2. Is being a global mega-sport a good thing? His whole reign was horrible. Better when he owned a team.

          1. @darryn, one thing that is more positive is that, having seen two drivers that he managed being killed in accidents (Lewis Evans in 1958 and Rindt in 1970), he did also support Stewart’s campaign to make the sport safer and put circuits under pressure to construct proper medical facilities.

            1. Yes but the drivers had to threaten a strike before Bernie jumped on the safety train.

            2. I feel no real compulsion to defend BE nor even think about him anymore as F1 has moved on, but surely not everything he did over the years was bad or wrong such that there will be many people who have gotten very wealthy from F1 that had BE to thank. Most F1 insiders seem highly grateful for BE’s work even if they had some disagreements here and there which is only normal. I am not one bit surprised he is being honoured at Goodwood. I think F1 fans are much more critical of BE than F1 insiders themselves, in general.

    3. So Kubica is on their 2017 list? ;)

      1. my thoughts too :)

      2. Hahaha… And first he has to prove himself over half a season before he gets on 2018 list?

      3. :)) very good point, I hope very true too

    4. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I’m living in the past, but I would like to point out that within the era of worldwide TV coverage F1 used to run 2 GPs pa in Italy (or San Marino) and the grandstands were packed, this in reference to my comment on extra races posted yesterday.

    5. Had a bit of a chuckle when I initially saw the Adam Cooper article, but come to think of it, long shot, it may just work from a marketing stand point.

      As Cooper says, Brown is a man who can make a deal, and Marchionne is very much a numbers man. Both don’t carry the emotional baggage associated with brand legacy which would have affected the likes of LdM and Ron. If this decision is on the table, it would be purely business.

      If anything, more than McLaren getting a competitive engine, Alfa stands to gain significant global exposure, which is what Marchionne wants, plus he gets to plant Alonso’s face on it! Perhaps it could spill into the road car business as well? Alfa Romeo Giulia-McLaren? Eat my dust BMW M3!

      1. There is only one way I’d ever feel comfortable with McLaren getting Ferrari-engines, that is when McLaren agrees to become a Ferrari-junior team. I know, the time when McLaren were the super-villains of F1 and the main antagonist are long gone, but supplying them is going a bit far for my Ferrari-fan-taste.

      2. Sadly I’d rather a McLaren Honda coming last than a McLaren-Ferrari coming first…. mortal enemies are mortal enemies, even in fun. It’s a sickening thought.

        1. But badged as Alfa it could be tolerable…

          1. Are Alfa the new team that have been muted to be joining next year?
            Can’t see how a McLaren / Alfa Romeo partnership can worki from a commercial view point, it would more sense for M to produce or fund their own engine and Alfa to partner an independent.

    6. I hate all fake F1 fans. Now they are celebrating return of Imola but once first race is done they will cry about no overtakings. Just like they do with Monaco.

      1. This may be sacrilege, but with the use of safer barriers now I see no reason why they can’t put Tamburello back to its original state. They would only have to look at its implementation at Virage du Pont at Le Mans over the weekend to see how it can be done.

        1. That would be absolutely fantastic! And Villeneuve… Would create a fantastic overtaking spot at Tosa. Although you’d then be having to move that run-off back quite substantially.

        2. @bamboo I did think you were bonkers for suggesting this at first… but I totally see your point when you mentioned the changes at Le Mans with regards to actually bringing the wall in close to the track and making it a SAFER one. They have also done this at Montreal at the corner where Panis broke his legs, and also where Kubica had his crash (but not SAFER). And then the chicane at Villeneuve could be tightened to create a proper overtaking spot (if the speeds would be too high approaching Tosa without a chicane there). Mind you, the old chicane leading onto the pit straight has disappeared so overall speeds would be phenomenal with all the chicanes removed!

      2. Not sure if I see too many people celebrating here, though.
        Imola in its current state is not worthy of a GP. As @bamboo says, the Tamburello could be reinstated to vastly improve the circuit. But as it is at the moment, I think your comment about no overtaking is probably accurate.

        1. As you say, not too many celebrating Imola here @nickwyatt. Sure, good to see they are updating the track and safety etc. Maybe they can get back into more prestegious races there again. Or testing maybe.

          But for F1, escpecially the current cars, I really am not looking forward to Imola, not even if it were an addition to the calendar instead of replacing another great track (Monza), the racing just won’t be much good. It wasn’t all that great in F1 latter years either.

          1. @bascb

            the racing just won’t be much good. It wasn’t all that great in F1 latter years either.

            Although I disagree (2005 & 2006 are up there with my fave races of all time), if your definition of racing requires overtaking as an essential ingredient, I can understand, although I’d still prefer Imola to Monaco.

      3. I feel there are too few heritage circuits that could accommodate F1 without being butchered. Look at what happened to the Hermanos Rodríguez’s Esses.

        I still have that question. Is Tilke’s contract still active, Does New FOM want to work with him? Are they slowly killing it off without paying severance?

        1. @faulty, I don’t get why people seem to think that Tilke had an exclusive contract with FOM, since there are circuits on the current calendar which were designed by other companies.

          As I understand it, Tilke’s company is one of only a handful of companies that specialised in the design of racing circuits, and I believe they are the only company that could be described as a “one stop shop” – in other words, not only being able to produce the design of the circuit, they can also manage the construction (something that is pretty rare in the civil engineering sector altogether, let alone in something as specialised as circuit design).

          1. He was the only one that was given contracts for new venues, with the notable exception of COTA, and for refurbishing old venues that wanted back.

            1. Cota is designed by Tilke.

            2. No it wasnt

    7. About COTD Monisha’s comment is probably more about a lack of funding than a lack of competence.

      And about Renault’s comment on Kubica either Robert is not actually up to it or Renault has more interesting options.

      1. You’re mixing up “Renault” with “Cyril Abiteboul – the stupidest man in motorsport”.

        1. @petebaldwin
          Where does this hate for Abiteboul come from? I must’ve completely missed that trend, but I realise that it’s everywhere (or at least that its proponents are very vocal about it).
          Care to shed some light on this?
          As far as I’m concerned, I only know him as the important dude of Caterham (formerly) and now Renault, with not much more to add. I can think of a long list of persons that I’d spontaneously call stupid, but Abiteboul isn’t on that list. So, what has happened, what has he done?

          1. I believe it is something to do with the departure of Vasseur at the start of the season.

            Although I think I saw him in Monaco back in the Renault’s pits seated alongside Prost.

          2. nase, I do agree that the level of quite vicious hatred that some fans have towards Abiteboul is surprising, to the point where some seem to treat him as if he was setting fire to puppies in the middle of the pit lane for fun.

            As @johnmilk notes, the one reason that seems to be bandied about is the fact that Vasseur left the team after 11 months – note that he chose to leave after disagreeing with the direction of the team, rather than being sacked. Although Vasseur has competed in motorsport for a number of years at ART Grand Prix, he’d never worked in F1 before he joined Renault – Abiteboul, meanwhile, might have not spent quite as long as Vasseur managing teams, but he was the former director of Renault Sport (the motorsport engine manufacturing division), so it isn’t as if he was as ignorant of motorsport as some made him out to be.

            The other criticism is the performance of Caterham when he was there, though to be honest it was a difficult situation from the start. He joined at the end of 2012 at a time when Fernandes was losing interest in F1 and the team was beginning to be starved of funds – indeed, when he quit in 2014, it was reportedly in protest at a threat by Fernandes to shut off all funding to the team, which he did soon afterwards.

      2. @spoutnik You buy the competent people with founding.

    8. Not sure what Tobi Grüner expected, but it will be next to impossible to schedule F1 around the 2-week Indy500 ;)

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        20th June 2017, 10:14

        Precisely. Seems he forgot the qualifying format.

      2. @f1-liners Not to mention that I’m not sure Fernando really cares that much, as he is very unlikely to do Indy 500 in 2018

    9. Arad (@just-an-fan)
      20th June 2017, 11:04

      Haha looks like the 15 year olds don’t like Imola because they have read that their hero died there, therefore Imola must be hated just like everything else that directly or indirectly had challenged their hero.

      1. Maybe you’ll feel the same when you turn 15 in a couple of years :p

        1. @f1-liners
          Practising your one-liners? That one wasn’t too bad, but you did choose an easy victim. ;-)

          1. Arad (@just-an-fan)
            20th June 2017, 16:08

            That was very similar to the kind of things I used to hear from the boys who didn’t make it to secondary school if you know what I mean! ;-)

            1. Whatever, mate.

        2. Arad (@just-an-fan)
          20th June 2017, 16:04

          I hope i never turn 15 if that means I am becoming like you and the rest of 15 year olds! BTW I am doing great for someone who is couple of years away from 15 =))

      2. Senna passed away in 1994 not 2002

    10. Hope we’ll see Imola back on the calendar in 2019. It’s a challenging track that has a real flow to it. Even the chicanes are not the outrageously slow non-challenging type. And with the removal of the last chicane overtaking is again somewhat possible on the huge straight from Rivazza to Tamburello(though still not easy as Tamburello is a 3rd gear corner).

      1. Epic track. Poor overtaking? There wasnt much overtaking in Canada either, but still a fun race.

        1. @jureo I agree but only to a point. Canada normally has lots of overtaking and a few overtaking spots. Pre-2007 Imola was a track where it was nearly impossible to overtake unless the driver in front makes a mistake. It was not unlike Monaco in that respect just without the walls lining the track. That takes a lot of fun away. For example I think the popular opinion that 2005 and 2006 Imola races were great is dead wrong. Yes both were fights between Alonso and Schumacher. However all the driver in front had to do is not make a mistake and the attacking driver would have 0% chance to overtake. To me it was like watching a fake fight.

    11. Sergio Marchionne is a walking corporate governance issue: “Gee, I’ll sell Ferrari technology to its arch-competitor McLaren, so that I can promote the Alfa Romeo brand!”. In case Marchionne hasn’t noticed, the shareholders of Ferrari and Fiat are not fully coincident.

      1. Of course, in fairness to Marchionne he hasn’t suggested this, only Robin Cooper.

      2. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        21st June 2017, 1:23

        How is it a corporate governance issue? It’s just selling engines to a paying customer…

    12. I’m kind of torn on Imola because while it’s always been a circuit i’ve loved to drive on the various games/sims, It’s not really a circuit I overly enjoy watching races on since the 1995 changes & I’m also not especially fond on some of the more recent changes that they made.

      I think they ruined the Variante Alta chicane in 2006 when they turned it from a fun little right/left flick where positioning the cars over the kurbs was a challenge & fun to watch into a pretty boring/slow chicane that has nothing interesting or unique about it. It totally ruins the overall flow of the circuit & was a completely unnecessary & pointless change which I seem to recall the drivers hating.

      I was also kind of disappointed with the removal of the Variante Bassa a few years ago as it was an interesting little challenging chicane where again positioning over the kerbs was something that could gain/lose you a lot of time & it was always fun watching the slow-mo shots of the cars bouncing over the kerbs. Yes it wasn’t a super exciting corner & it wasn’t an easy overtaking spot (Although overtaking into it was possible) but for some reason I just always saw it as a fun little challenging corner.

      The thing that I find a bit interesting with Imola & even Magny-Cours in that when they were a part of the F1 calendar most fans always complained about how awful the races were (Fans renames Magny-Cours as Magny-Bores) yet both are circuits you always see as one’s fans want to be brought back. If they were I wonder how long it would be before fans started calling for them to be removed again because I don’t see the racing been any better on them now compared to when they were last used.

      1. You arr right. Magny cours and imola are fun in games like gp4 but suck in the real world.. like tilke tracks.

      2. @stefmeister I agree about Variante Alta but disagree about Variante Bassa. In addition to ruining the challenge and the rhythm, changing V.Alta also killed off the overtaking opportunity into Rivazza. Beforehand, a skillful driver who’d managed to attack the corner more, could position himself to attack the worse driver into Rivazza. Afterwards, the differences became miniscule and that door was closed off.

        In comparison, I don’t think the Bassa chicane added anything to the circuit. It was not an overtaking opportunity, but in fact a clumsy corner that the drivers were attacking on the limit only in qualy, because you can lose much more time there than you can gain. Consequently it did ruin the rhythm of the circuit, at least in race conditions. Having a huge straight from Rivazza to Tamburello recaptures some old Imola spirit in my mind. Also this moves the required downforce setup for the track from medium-high to just medium. Which, in turn, makes the rest of the circuit trickier for the driver.

    13. This is interesting:-

      I wonder. Ron Dennis agrees to sell his 30% in return for keeping the rights to the McLaren F1 Team name then pops up as a privateer entry of very same name.

      1. Epic, bye bye McLaren. Makes total sense this.

      2. That makes more sense commercially than the aforementioned suggestion

    14. Dear Chase Carey,

      Please revive the San Marino Grand Prix.

      F1 Fans.

      1. No! Signed long time f1 fan.

        1. @kpcart I agree with @zazeems re: Imola and disagree with you. However, no one should think that his opinion represents the whole of F1 fans so in that sense I see your point completely.

          1. Perhaps that was a tad hyperbolic of me. My apologies @kpcart

    15. The cotd is pretty weak argument for the tech levels in F1. In the olden days when dan gurney and all the others implemented new technologies in f1 it was done purely on performance reasons. Any part that was put into the car had to earn its place on lap time or on safety grounds. Carbon fiber monococques, turbo engines, slick tires, nose crash testing.

      The new era of f1 tech is completely different. Tech is not there to make the cars faster. It is there because the big manufacturers want it. In reality the hybrid tech makes the cars slower, heavier and more expensive. Nobody has issues with f1 being in the forefront of racing technology. The issue is that these new hybrid techs for example are bad tech for racing. They make the cars slower and that’s it.

      Back in the olden days the tech truly pushed the limits of what racing car can do on race track. Nowadays only thing that is being pushed further and further is the check books and the weight of the cars. The current f1 engine tech rules have been a total disaster. The competition has become worse, the manufacturers have iron grip over who can win, the costs have escalated out of control, the tech is no longer racing relevant but instead road car technology is being dumped into f1 cars. The on track performance differences are getting worse and worse and teams are dying because of boring hybrid engines costing too much.

      The cotd makes pretty simplistic argument for road car tech in f1 and dismisses all arguments that are not pro-hybrid tech simply as ignorant thinking. What he fails to do is to understand is even his own argument. F1 is dead set on a road to impossible future. If road car tech as it is today is also the f1 tech as it is today then only future f1 has is self driving electric cars. Is that the kind of development the cotd wants us to accept?

      I think f1 should be about the fastest tech that is proven to earn its place in a racing car. Based on speed. Electric power is not it and hybrid engines is not it either. I have no problem f1 being on the forefront of racing tech and I don’t even have problem with fully electric race cars (if that is the fastest tech) but at least put the bits on the cars that make them faster instead of write the rules in such way that boring hybrid tech must be used. Hybrid engines are road car tech, not racing tech. Make the f1 cars fast racing cars and forget the road relevance non-sense that makes everything suck.

      1. @socksolid, Just for a laugh remember why only 1 engine layout is allowed in F1, to keep costs down !!!! not for the teams benefit but so Bernie could keep taking half of all net revenue. Sometimes the old days really were better.

    16. Fortunately F1’s current engine and aero formula is allowing teams to do some really cool engineering that is innovative.

      What?! How is this even remotely true? COTD my backside Mr Collantine!

    17. Luke Harrison
      20th June 2017, 21:20

      In regards to comment of the day.

      It’s nice to finally see some like minded individuals. F1 for me has always been the pinnacle of motorsport technology. I get tired of hearing people want to go back to how things were. That’s not progressive. This is a sport that’s constantly changing! And things like the engine formula need to change as well to keep at as far forward as possible.

      I like the engine formula we have now. It feels like it’s new, like it’s pushing boundaries. That’s what F1 should be about.

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