By Adam Tate, Managing Editor
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, better known as Imola, the beloved home of the San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006 has stated it is ready to return to Formula One.
Since losing Italy’s second round of the championship a decade ago, the track has undergone massive renovations and is one of the few FIA Grade 1 circuits not currently on the schedule, which is odd when one considers that the raison d’etre of grade 1 circuit is to host Formula One.
With the fraught negotiations between Bernie Ecclestone and Monza dragging ever on, Imola may be drafted in to save the Italian Grand Prix. The Circuit hosted it once in 1980, but all subsequent races there were named after the nearby, hilltop microstate of San Marino. Imola boss Selvatico Estense has met with Ecclestone for talks as recently as the Bahrain Grand Prix.
What will come of the negotiations remains to be seen. Imola may replace Monza for a season or two, but that would prove wildly unpopular as Monza has been on the schedule every year since 1950, barring Imola’s previous one off in 1980. Bernie may be using the threat of Imola against the officials at Monza and be stringing Estense along as he has so many before.
The best result for the sport would be a return to Imola. It is a hugely historic venue with passionate fans that has seen more than its fair share of exciting racing, such as the 2005 duel between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher pictured above. It has also been the site of moments that changed the sport forever, like Ayrton Senna’s death in 1994. It deserves to be on the schedule and with any luck it will return sooner rather than later.