Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Verstappen criticises “stupid” plan for single practice session at Imola

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen criticised Formula 1’s plans for its two-day race weekend at Imola later this year.

The championship will return to the track, which last held a grand prix in 2006, for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix later this year. The event will be run over two days instead of three.

Instead of the usual three sessions totalling four hours of running, driver will have just 90 minutes of practice on Saturday before qualifying. Verstappen isn’t impressed with the plan.

“If we would have had it on a track which we know and we have been driving with the cars we have nowadays, I think it’s not a problem at all,” he said.

“But when you go to a new track and only have one session… At the end it’s the same for everyone so there is no problem with that but I think it’s just a bit wrong. Give us two sessions to just sort a few things out, just make sure everything is working well, instead of just one.

“The two-day format, I don’t really care, but then give us two practice sessions. Even it’s better to do two one-hour session than one one-and-a-half. So I think it’s a bit stupid.”

The Red Bull driver last raced at the circuit in 2014. “I’m very excited to go racing there,” he said, “I just think it’s a bit wrong how they did it. It’s a shame. It’s a great track.”

Verstappen’s team mate Alexander Albon queried why the shortened race format is being used for a race at a track the series hasn’t visited recently, when the championship is holding back-to-back three-day events at other tracks such as Silverstone.

“It would to me make a bit more sense to do a two-day event on a track like this where we’ve done a double-header,” he said. “We don’t really need to do three days at the same circuit.

“I think it would have been a good idea to test it out now and give us three days in Imola.”

However Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has no concerns over the shortened race weekend format.

“It is what it is,” he said. “I’ve have actually been there but I’ve never driven there. I guess we all get the same amount of time to get into a rhythm and head into quali. It should be exciting.”

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Keith Collantine
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24 comments on “Verstappen criticises “stupid” plan for single practice session at Imola”

  1. Wow, for once I totally agree with Max – this is utter stupidity.
    They could have at least had 2 sessions + qualifying

  2. Imola is an interesting circuit.
    Shortened practice could catch some drivers out.

    1. @nullapax Yes, even if not the most overtaking-friendly, but driving-wise, it’s quite decently flowing. I’ve driven the track in its present configuration on Assetto Corsa.

      1. @jerejj I love Imola from a gaming perspective.
        It is by far and away my favourite track to play on from the early Amiga days right up to … erm …. anyway.
        I don’t always bother to watch the video replays but this track will deff be an exception.

    2. Gravel traps will make short work of many drivers who might push too far and since there are Friday FP sessions they certainly wont know limits or track will be dirty.

      1. Good – teach them to drive within the lines :)

  3. Not ideal but better than no race at all.

  4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    6th August 2020, 17:24

    Why is it shortened? Like is there actually a reason other than they want to try and add a random element into the race as everyone won’t have any information on what to expect? Kinda agree with Albon, if it was a race they’ve done several times it’d be fine to skip a few practices but with a track nobody really has any strong relevant data on seems… weird.

    1. Because they have to travel by truck all the way from Portimao, which is a 2500km route. It simply takes a few days to get there and unpack. Keep in mind teams want everything build up on thursday.

      I really don’t get why they linked Imola to Portimao and not to the Nürburgring. The remaining calendar should have looked like this;

      09 Aug – Silverstone 2
      16 Aug – Barcelona
      30 Aug – Spa-Franchorchamps
      06 Sep – Monza
      13 Sep – Mugello
      27 Sep – Sochi
      11 Oct – Nürburgring
      18 Oct – Imola
      01 Nov – Portimao/Jerez
      08 Nov – Jerez/Portimao
      22 Nov – Bahrain 1
      29 Nov – Bahrain 2
      13 Dec – Abu Dhabi

      1. @montalvo Why should Imola necessarily have to be paired with Nurburgring when it could equally be a standalone event?
        Here’s how I wish the remainder of the season to be post-Nurburgring:
        Imola October 25
        Portimao/Jerez November 8
        Jerez/Portimao November 15
        Bahrain I November 29
        Bahrain II December 6
        Abu Dhabi December 13
        I notice you have a weekend between Bahrain II and Abu Dhabi, which isn’t going to happen and would be unnecessary anyway, especially in this COVID-year.
        The above scheduling is how I’d do it to minimize travelling, but unfortunately, Jerez would have to be a standalone event if it gets added since the schedule is set until the original Mexican GP weekend.
        Most likely, it’s going to be like this:
        Jerez November 15 followed by the Middle Eastern events on the above dates, or
        Bahrain I November 15
        Bahrain II November 22
        Abu Dhabi November 29
        These are the two scenarios I see as the two most realistic ones as to how the season’s going to end.

        1. @jerejj Liberty will want a as long as possible season, that’s much better for the sponsors. And the teams are already complaining after the first triple header, I seriously doubt they will end the season with a triple header (or an extended season in january).

          1. @montalvo Yes, but 15 is what has been the minimum target this whole time since the salvation-process of this season commenced, so either 16 or 17 would be fine in this regard, and also a good damage limitation considering the circumstances in this COVID-year. The triple-header formed by two Bahrain races and the Abu Dhabi GP is what has looked quite likely for some time now, so I expect that to happen unless there’d be two races between Imola and Bahrain, in which scenario it’d probably be
            Bahrain (once) December 6
            Abu Dhabi December 13
            The thing about extending on the other side of new year’s eve was merely about if having 15 races until say Christmas wouldn’t be achievable, and more precisely until the above mentioned December 13, but that hasn’t looked like it’d happen for a while anymore.

    2. The reason given was because the teams were concerned about packing up all the trucks and equipment and moving by road from Portimão in Algarve to Imola and getting there in time, as I believe teams usually start arriving on Wednesday and setup on Thursdays. So they were given extra day to take pressure off logistics teams.

      (Portimão to Imola is 2,451km away for comparison, Silverstone to Imola is 1,692km)

      1. @Daniel Vary It’s also about the local noise limit in Imola.

    3. @rocketpanda Guess we will find who has the best simulators and who can actually setup a car.

      Also “never waste a catastrophe”, what I am inferring us that this season is a perfect (or as perfect as you will get) cover for experimentation. Never could fo this under normal circumstances.

    4. @rocketpanda some have pointed to logistics, but others have also indicated that it is because the circuit has to keep within certain noise emissions.

      The noise levels of the engines is such that they are only allowed to exceed that noise threshold for two days of the year, so having just one practice session is the compromise the sport has had to make to accommodate those restrictions.

  5. Hard to believe Lewis and Seb have never raced an F1 at Imola.

    1. @StephenH Seb indeed hasn’t, but Lewis actually has in GP2 in 2006.

    2. StephenH, is it necessarily that surprising when Imola hasn’t featured on the Formula 1 calendar for 14 years, meaning that only one driver – Raikkonen – took part in the last F1 race there?

      Eight of the drivers on the grid were 10 years old or less when that circuit was last used in F1, two teams that were there in 2006 no longer exist (Toyota and Super Aguri), three further teams have changed ownership (BMW-Sauber, Honda and Spyker) whilst, on top of that, Renault sold and then bought back their team too.

      When you consider that there have been four major rule changes within the timeframe since F1 last raced there, multiple changes in teams and drivers and the ownership of the commercial rights themselves have changed hands in that timeframe, the idea that neither of those drivers have raced at Imola is really not all that surprising.

      1. @anon The Spyker was Midland for 2006 and Spyker for the following, but close enough. The thing about being surprised is I suppose more about no one seemingly not racing there in even lower-categories except for Lewis and also Lance at least.

  6. Can someone get Verstappen some cheese to go with his whine?

    1. Funny thing is: you’re now whining more than he was in the interview…

  7. As if this will jumble up the field in any meaningful way. Likely it will only cement the big teams’ advantage and further spread the field.

    And it wouldn’t matter if cars got out of position in qualifying anyway, because it’s practically impossible to overtake here.

    Plus fans will not get to see cars one day less.

    I really hoped there would be a new era with Brawn and others coming in, but it’s as if nothing has changed.

  8. If Liberty go ahead with the 25 race season the 2 day race weekend will probably become a thing.

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