Sunday, May 19, 2024

2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Talking Points ahead of Imola

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is back next weekend for Round 7 of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The 2023 event was cancelled due to a large flooding amount of flooding in the build-up to the planned Grand Prix weekend, meaning F1 hasn’t raced at the legendary circuit since 2022. 

F1 heads to Imola off the back of Lando Norris’ first win and McLaren F1 Team’s first win since Daniel Ricciardo took his eighth career win at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix. The main talking point in the build-up to the weekend will be if Norris and McLaren will once again be able to take the challenge to Max Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing at the front. Another boost for McLaren will be Oscar Piastri receiving all the upgrades on his car that Norris was running in Miami. The Australian driver showed good pace, even without the new parts in Florida, so plenty of eyes will be on how he compares to Norris next weekend.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for a better weekend than the one they endured in Miami. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team duo both finished outside the top five in Florida and are yet to finish on the podium this season, with Russell’s fifth place finish at the season opener in Bahrain still their best result. Toto Wolff predicted an upturn in performance from the updates they bought to Miami but it didn’t translate on track, and the Brackley based outfit will be hoping for a much needed good weekend.

Photo: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Ricciardo will be hoping to impress on F1’s Imola return as he looks to relieve some of the pressure that’s racked up over the past few weeks. The Australian’s pace has been better over the past few race weekends, and he scored his first points in Miami, finishing fourth in the Sprint. He’ll be hoping for more points, and a dominant weekend over teammate, Yuki Tsunoda.

In other news, Scuderia Ferrari have replaced Charles Leclerc’s race engineer going forward, starting in Imola. Xavier Marcos Padros will step down into a different role within Ferrari, while Bryan Bozzi will step up as Leclerc’s race engineer from his previous role as performance engineer. 

The 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was won by Verstappen, ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Norris scored a podium that day after a spin from Leclerc in the final stages of the race. Valtteri Bottas finished fifth that day – the Stake F1 Team driver will be hoping to score his first points of the season next weekend.