The West McLaren Mercedes team approaches the European season having consolidated its lead in the Constructors' Championship during the South American leg of the World Championship trail. The Imola track carries with it an interesting history....
The West McLaren Mercedes team approaches the European season having consolidated its lead in the Constructors' Championship during the South American leg of the World Championship trail.
The Imola track carries with it an interesting history. The first non-championship Formula One race took place in 1979 and was won by Niki Lauda for Brabham. It was in the same year that the circuit came into prominence when it was announced that it would host the 1980 Italian Grand Prix. The Italian Grand Prix then reverted back to Monza in 1981 leaving Imola to become the home of another regular fixture on the grand prix calendar - the San Marino Grand Prix.
The track is named after Enzo Ferrari and his son Dino and as you would expect is the home of Ferrari fans, otherwise known as the "Tifosi". A terrific atmosphere is created by the "Tifosi", who can be seen gathered on the slopes surrounding the circuit long before the weekend begins in earnest.
The flow of the circuit has bee n truncated since the introduction of chicanes to slow down the pace, which in turn has reduced the number of overtaking opportunities. Despite this, it is still a favourite track amongst the drivers and one at which McLaren have enjoyed considerable success over the years.
`I like Imola' commented David Coulthard, `even with the recent changes it offers an interesting challenge and I normally go reasonably well there. It is like a smaller version of Monza with shorter straights and slower speeds but the f eel is very similar.'
`Last year's Grand Prix was full of incident for me and I was rather frustratingly caught behind Alesi, spending a major part of the race battling with him", said Mika, `This year I feel more confident than ever with the car and am looking forward to the first European race of the season'.
`The team has been testing in between returning from Argentina and leaving for Imola,' said Ron Dennis. `It is our intention to continue the development of the MP4-13 in order to stay ahead of the
competition. The result of the Argentine Grand Prix only goes to prove how short lived technical advantage can be and at McLaren we understand that it is only through constant hard work and development that races and ultimately Championships can be won.