News has broken of what the format of the Emilia-Romagna GP held at Imola will look like. Already, it was known that this would be a two-day event but motorsport.com has published a more precise schedule for the proceedings. For any race in Italy this is a huge deal for Scuderia Ferrari so what chance does the Prancing Horse have of success following this announcement?
The format for the Emilia-Romagna GP (not named the Italian GP for obvious reasons) will be a single 90-minute practice session as opposed to the usual three free practice sessions. This unique free practice session will commence at 10am local time, on Saturday October 31st. Then, a mere two and a half hours later, an unchanged qualifying format will take place at 2pm.
Scuderia Ferrari is aware that all is not right with their 2020 F1 Challenger the SF1000 and so it is no surprise to see that the recent restructuring at Maranello has resulted in Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto taking a step back from his involvement with the technical department.
“It took some time organise ourselves, to make sure the technical department was reorganised,” Binotto told the media when discussing recent changes at Maranello. “It’s not something you do in one day. I am able, now that we've got people in the right role, having responsibilities and able to do the right job, to not do any more of the technical director job. There are other people doing it. They've got clear objectives. I think they are certainly as well enthusiastic and focusing on the objectives they need to achieve.
The objective at Maranello is to win Grand Prix races and F1 titles so maybe with a more compressed race schedule at Imola they will have a chance to do this a satisfy the need of the Tifosi. The changes for Imola’s event do not stop with Saturday seeing how the race itself will begin at 1.10pm local time, which is two hours earlier than normal for continental European events.
The reason for such optimism for any beleaguered Ferrari fan comes down to the fact that with a shortened schedule there is less time, in theory, for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas juggernaut to run the data and implement strategy from their several thousand employees. Also, should there be any technical issue, spin (as seen by both Mercedes drivers in Free Practice already this season) or unforeseen error, this could allow Ferrari a chance - as slim as it may be.
Despite the fact that the 2020 F1 season has been a largely unpredictable one in terms of the race calendar, what can be expected in Imola is a continuation of F1’s End Racism movement. This cause has been well championed by Lewis Hamilton and at the fourth attempt, this part of pre-race proceedings seems to have found its groove at last. The British Grand Prix featured seven drivers choosing to stand whilst the rest took a knee. However, due to specific driver placing being outlined creating a row of standing drivers immediately behind the row of those kneeling - the image on Sunday was a stark contrast to the rushed moment seen in Hungary.
Sunday saw Kevin Magnussen join the list of drivers choosing to stand which shows an increase in previous races. By the time Imola rolls around, you can be sure that even if more drivers choose to take this approach, Lewis Hamilton clearly won’t be one of them. The Black Lives Matter message now features prominently on a specially made race garment designed by Puma which Hamilton wears under his race overalls.
No one knows what this stance will look like by the time the GP in Imola commences or what the race outcome may be but seeing how it features on Halloween, an race fan donned in red will surely be hoping for a treat from Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel. If those two racers could find their way to the podium – that would be quite some trick!
Further uncertainty can also be found elsewhere on the grid: