Formula 1 confirmed the Emilia Romagna and San Marino GP as a two-day event in Imola on the 2020 calendar. Imola offered to host a race in February, as the coronavirus pandemic started to spread around. The proposal lost momentum when the circuit found itself in competition with Mugello for a second Italian race.
Nevertheless, with the ongoing flight restrictions and related problems with scheduling a Formula 1 event, Formula 1 confirmed a third race in the country.
"We have been looking for this goal for many years," claimed Selvatico Estense .
"We talked with the F1 Management people for a long time, and now we've achieved the target that we tried to get.
"I think our heritage is so important, we are so famous for F1 that this opportunity came true not only because of Covid, but also because F1 needs to come back to the historical tracks, back to the real passion of F1 fans.
"We are trying to apply to F1 for an opportunity for next year, but there's everything to discuss after the race, I think. Our will is very clear, we are driven by our passion."
Estense added that an easing of the current restrictions will allow Imola to sell tickets for the 2020's race.
"On Friday our minister of health announced that probably after September they will open the opportunity to get spectators into events," he said.
"So we cross our fingers and we hope that the grandstands will be available for spectators, but nothing is fixed. Everything changes every day, so it's very difficult to make a forecast. Our will is obviously to try to open the event, but who knows?
"Last year in that period the weather was not so bad. I think that it is workable. Obviously Italy in that period is not like in summer, but I think that it will be attractive for people in case there is a possibility to have spectators."
Imola's boss continued remarking that there was no real competition between Imola and Mugello.
"We just knew from F1 that they also discussing with Mugello," he said. "It was not really a competition, but we tried to schedule in the best way alongside Mugello.
"It’s true that the first option was a back-to-back with Monza, and then when Ferrari proposed this celebration of their 1000th race we just discussed how to have a different challenge. Three races in Italy is something epic, I don’t think that will happen again.
“The region supported us for this purpose since the beginning of the discussions. This year they also spent a lot of money in order to grant the MotoGP in Misano, so I think this situation was also possible for us because of MotoGP.”
Estense concluded, stating that no major work to the track was necessary to comply with the FIA requirements.
Michael Masi came to Imola for the inspection, and he was really surprised about our situation," Estense said. "We received compliments from him, and this obviously leaves us very proud.
"Right now we don’t have to change anything. We have to improve some details, but nothing very heavy or very important. We don’t have to modify kerbs or run-off areas.
"We just made some changes a few months ago on the run-off area after the Villeneuve curve, where Roland Ratzenberger crashed. We changed the shape of that run-off area and we increased it at some other parts of the circuit, and the FIA people have been very happy about it.”
As regards to the two-day format, Estense pointed out: “It’s something new. F1 informed me that they want to get this innovation at Imola, they want to try this new format, and I think it can suit well.”