We are at the gates of the Qatar Airways Made in Italy and Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix , the sixth round of the Formula 1 World Championship and the first round in Europe.
Up to now Red Bull has been the master: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have taken six doubles. Only Lewis Hamilton, at the Melbourne Grand Prix, managed to interrupt the streak by putting his Mercedes behind the reigning world champion and ahead of Fernando Alonso with Perez only fifth across the finish line.

One week before the GP we contacted Gian Carlo Minardi, President of Formula Imola, to understand what to expect at Imola’s Enzo and Dino Ferrari Circuit: “Imola is not only the first round in Europe but it will also be the stage for the new system of qualifying which will see all the drivers race with the same compounds in the three sessions: Hard in Q1, Medium in Q2 and Soft in Q3. I don’t know exactly what to expect but it will be interesting to analyse this new development.

“On the race front Red Bull absolutely presents itself as the favourite but most of the teams – Mercedes and Ferrari first of all – will bring new innovations onto the track to try to reduce the gap and try to put some pressure on Verstappen and Perez. Also keep an eye out for Fernando Alonso, who comes from four podium finishes in five GPs

“In the circuit we are finalising the work to welcome the fans better. Compared to the last edition we have made many changes, starting with the new stands bringing the capacity to 89,000 places (compared to the 73,000 of 2022). We have already sold more than 170,000 tickets for the three days (30,000 more than 2022). There are still 10,00 tickets available for the Sunday and a few places for Friday which is traditionally the calmest day under this respect,” said Minardi, “We plan to grow even more also thanks to the opening of three on site sales points where it will be possible to buy tickets on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We have also worked hard on the logistics front increasing the parking spaces. Furthermore, thanks to the agreement with Trenitalia it will be possible to reach Imola with the Frecciarossa, Intercity, Eurocity and regional trains and then walking the 1,200 metres through the historic city centre which separate the station from the circuit. There will be no shortage of entertainment off the track thanks to a rich Fan-zone which will be accessible with any kind of ticket.

The weekend’s intense programme will also see Formula 3, Formula 2 and the Porsche Cup on the track, “Also to be followed are the training championships which are part of FIA’s pyramid to reach F1. This is an opportunity to get to know and support the possible champions of the future. After the first two rounds in Formula 3 Gabriele Mini occupies fourth place and Leonardo Formaroli ninth place”.

In these weeks the news that Daniel Ricciardo is ready to replace Nyck de Vries after having his seat made at Alpha Tauri has been causing quite a stir. “Ricciardo is the third driver of both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri. Therefore, the seat had already been ready for some time. Unfortunately, Red Bull, and in particular Dr Helmut Marko, are known for pillorying young drivers even before giving them the opportunity to express their potential to the fullest.

“We are coming from a series of new circuits for the rookies. In Miami the drivers had only one session of free practice available before entering the heart of the weekend. I am certain that Nyck de Vries, just like Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri, hasn’t forgotten how to drive a car. With the arrival of Europe and on tracks that they know they will all have the chance to show their worth and the Imola round will be interesting from this point of view. For me Piastri is a pretender to becoming a major name in the next Formula 1,” concluded Minardi.