Leclerc unsure if Imola will make a good sprint race venue

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc says he does not know if Imola will produce an exciting first sprint race of the season.

In brief

Leclerc unsure if Imola will make a good sprint race venue

Charles Leclerc says he does not know if Imola will produce an exciting first sprint race of the season.

The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend will also be the first of three sprint race weekends for the 2022 season. The race on Saturday will decide the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, with more points for the highest placed finishers for this season.

“I had completely forgotten that we have a sprint race there,” Leclerc said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“There are a lot of things that are going to be quite crazy in Imola for us and obviously other that it will also be a race weekend where we’ll have a sprint race. Whether it’s the right track to do so or not, I don’t know – I think we’ll have the answer after the weekend. With these cars, also, maybe it’s a bit easier to follow, so hopefully it should be an exciting sprint race and race.”

Zhou would have scored point if Albon had rejoined behind on final lap – Pujolar

Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar believes that Zhou Guanyu would have held off Alex Albon for tenth place in the Australian Grand Prix had he gotten ahead of the Williams on the final lap.

Albon pitted at the end of lap 57 of the 58 lap race, emerging in tenth place just meters ahead of Zhou. Despite the Alfa Romeo’s efforts to pass the Williams out of turn two, Albon was able to use his fresh tyres and pull away.

Pujolar says that Zhou just missed out on a point after only just failing to beat the Williams out of the pitlane.

“We were trying to push and give him the gap, but he was struggling at that point to get any more pace,” Pujolar said when asked by RaceFans. “We lost some time in the last few laps with traffic, with [Lance] Stroll and all that, but anyway, it was very, very close. I think if Zhou was in front, that point was for us.”

Collet quickest as F3 test ends

Caio Collet ended the second day of FIA Formula 3 testing in Barcelona fastest of all as the only in-season test of the F3 season came to an end.

The MP Motorsport driver’s best time of a 1’31.507 was just over three tenths of a second faster than his team mate Alex Smolyar, with Franco Colapinto third-fastest for Van Amersfoort. Championship leader Victor Martins was 14th fastest in the second day.

The F3 season resumes next weekend for races three and four at Imola during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

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Comment of the day

With the Formula 1 calendar expanding to three races in the USA once again, @tommy-c believes F1 has more chance to succeed this time around…

It’ll be interesting to see if this apparent explosion in interest will be a long term thing. I imagine F1 would have been relatively difficult to access in the Americas in 1982 due to time zone differences and a lack of internet. Hopefully this time around the fans stay and the sport grows. The fear I have is that we may well lose some incredible purpose built tracks to mediocre temporary street circuits to maximise exposure and access.

Happy birthday!

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On this day in motorsport

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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22 comments on “Leclerc unsure if Imola will make a good sprint race venue”

  1. F1 has more strategy now after removing the counter productive q2 rule, the start of the season has been awful for the naysayers.
    Imola what Charles? Leclerc is being racist and on a religious weekend. He now has to flee Italy, not fly…

    1. ????? ??? ? Drop the pint!

  2. That Pujolar interview is as relevant as Charles’ teamradio in turkey. F1 is formula 1 but when it isn’t it is not.

    1. @qeki ‘If Zhou had finished in tenth place, he would have scored a point’ – Will Buxton

    2. Tommy Scragend
      17th April 2022, 9:36

      Haha yes. “Zhou would have scored a point if he had finished tenth”. You don’t say!!

  3. There are no good sprint race venues.

    1. I wanted to make the same comment

    2. @red-andy Except for generally racing-friendly ones.

    3. @red-andy
      While I don’t like them either, I have to admit that Silverstone was pretty decent. It just depends on the nature of the track and the circumstances (i.e. Carlos Sainz charging through the field after getting hit by Russell on lap 1 at Silverstone).
      But F1 can certainly go without the Sprint venues, that’s for sure.

      1. Let’s just see what happens with the new cars. Could be very exciting.

        1. @robbie, I suspect the opposite.

          Most teams are struggling with setup on these new cars so to effectively limit setup to a single practice session (P2 after first qualifying is a waste) could mean conservative set ups and conservative driving just to get through it.

          Personally I hope it’s a dismal failure and F1 takes the hint and gets rid of the idea of sprints for good. I know that they won’t, and most likely wouldn’t admit it if it was a failure but I can always hope.

          I’ll have to read about it post race though as I will continue to boycott all events that include the sprint abomination – 1 small protest that probably won’t make any difference but if enough people protest ……..

          1. @dbradock Not sure about the conservative driving in that as soon as a bloke does that he’s going to get passed. Anyway, let’s just see as this is uniquely their first time doing this with these cars and they are uniquely still learning so much about their cars and the tires. Whatever happens next weekend does not set in stone the future.

            I respect your decision to boycott and it does make a difference, particularly to you. And of course to F1 if enough people join you. And I still like what Sam Walton of Walmart fame said…”the customer is the boss for they can fire us in a heartbeat.”

    4. @red-andy

      Except for Monaco!

  4. Appreciating Grosjean’s efforts to talk fans through his IndyCar season, also explaining rules, etc… Seems to really be enjoying the challenge. Good on him for trying something new.

  5. I had also forgotten Imola was Sprint race too. Still don’t see the point of them.

  6. I made a similar early on that Imola isn’t the best possible choice for a Sprint as the track has never been hugely overtaking-friendly.
    Spa alongside Red Bull Ring & Interlagos would’ve been better, but perhaps the new generation cars will provide decent racing also in Imola.

    Probably yes, since Albon managed to keep Ocon behind for quite a few laps despite the latter having both tyre & car advantage over him. Therefore, plausible Zhou could’ve equally kept Albon behind for a single lap.

    I share COTD’s sentiment.
    Slightly, unfortunately, also the part about losing purpose-built tracks to temporary ones.

    1. @jerejj
      I think they chose Imola because the track is shorter and therefore the drivers complete more laps. If I’m not mistaken, at Imola they drive 21 laps, while at Spa they would only manage 15. Maybe that’s what F1 was thinking. Also if you look at the other circuits who host sprint races this season, they are shorther, with both under 70 sec in qualifying.
      I also hope the new cars allow for better racing at Imola. If the driver behind can follow closely enough through the Villeneuve chicane, then we could see some outbreaking manouvres in Tosa or the driver behind preparing an overtake in Tosa and outdragging the other car up the hill to Piratella. Rivazza 1 could also be an overtaking spot, if the cars can follow each other through the Variante Alta and manage to stay close in the fast right hander before Rivazza.

      1. @srga91 Yes, 21 for Imola, although Silverstone & Monza 17 & 18, respectively, so not massively more than Spa would have. In the end, lap amounts are for the same minimum full distance, i.e., 100.000 km, so the overall distance is roughly the same regardless of a specific lap amount.

  7. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    17th April 2022, 14:51

    Oh god another race weekend overshadowed by the god awful sprint format. We don’t need it.

  8. The pic of Leclerc flying the Ferraris is spectacular. Assuming this is not a Photo-Shop.
    I had assumed the downforce would eliminate getting airborne and all this time, I thought that it was only Red Bull that Gave You Wings.

    1. @rekibsn I think this is last year’s car though. Definitely not the 2022 version.

    2. Most likely took a kerb aggressively and launched himself into the air @rekibsn

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