Formula 1 Racing

Third consecutive wet F1 race at Imola on the cards · RaceFans

Variante Alta, Imola, 2024

Since the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari returned to the F1 calendar in 2020, only one Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend has not been affected by wet weather.

That was the Imola circuit’s first weekend back as a grand prix circuit in 2020, when the weekend was compressed to just a single practice before qualifying on the Saturday before the race on Sunday, and held in November.

But in 2021 and 2022, when the race was held earlier in the season, drivers had to contend with a wet start to the Imola race. On both visits the track eventually dried out as the laps progressed.

The weather also had a major impact on last year’s event – to such an extent that the entire round was cancelled because of flooding in the area.

If teams were hoping for a simple, dry weekend at Imola this year, they may end up disappointed. Not least of which that rain is expected this afternoon during the final day of preparation ahead of tomorrow’s first day of running.

Fortunately enough, Friday’s two practice sessions will be run in entirely dry and sunny conditions – the perfect climate for teams to gather data on their new parts and tinker with their set-ups for Sunday’s race. With ambient temperatures topping off at 23C, this will be a slightly milder weekend than last time out in Miami, while still being warm.

There is also no rain expected for Saturday’s day of qualifying, with near-identical conditions to those on Friday expected. While this will hopefully help to provide a clear idea of the true performance order after qualifying, it will also mean a dry sprint race for both Formula 2 and Formula 3, held on the same day.

But on the most important day of the weekend, Sunday, the sun is likely to disappear behind a cover of cloud. Not only that, there is a moderate risk of rain for the early afternoon – highest at around 2pm, as the teams will set up on the grid for the start of the race at 3pm.

If that comes to pass, it may be the third Imola start in a row that requires wet or intermediate tyres. Although the likelihood of rain decreases as the race will progress, there is a constant risk of some showers continuing. If so, then this weekend’s race looks set to be a challenge for drivers and their strategists alike as the grip levels could fluctuate wildly around the narrow Imola circuit over the course of the race.

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