Imola (dpa) – The shortened format for the return of Formula 1 to Imola is putting extra pressure on the teams.
“With the limited time you don’t have the chance to try different things. That puts more emphasis on the work before the start of the event,” Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel said of the challenge. The racing series forego the two usual training sessions on Friday prior to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. After a 90-minute training session on Saturday morning, qualifying starts in the afternoon.
“There is no night work. On Saturday evening the cars will be locked for the race, because you don’t get any technical power”, Vettel explains. There is hardly any chance of intensive work on tuning the car. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had criticized this as “wrong”. “If we had done that on a well-known circuit on which we would have driven these cars, it would not have been a problem,” said the Dutchman. Since Formula 1 has not raced in Imola since 2006, it was “stupid” not to do two training sessions, the 23-year-old said.
Only Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen among the current drivers has already gained Formula 1 experience at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Imola only came back this season after a 14-year Grand Prix break as many other races had to be canceled due to the corona pandemic. After performances in Monza and Mugello, it is Ferrari’s third home game in Italy.
The young Scuderia star Charles Leclerc can certainly gain something from the shortened service. “We don’t need three free practice sessions to prepare for qualifying. So I was quite happy,” Monegasse said recently at the Nürburgring when practice was canceled completely on Friday due to bad weather.