The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, better known as Imola, is a motor racing circuit in the town of Imola, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Bologna. It is one of the few major international circuits to run in an anti-clockwise direction. The circuit is named after Ferrari's late founder, Enzo Ferrari, and his son, Alfredo "Dino" Ferrari, who died in 1956 at age 24. Before Enzo's death, it was called Autodromo Dino Ferrari. The circuit has an FIA Grade One licence.[2]

Imola was the venue for the San Marino Grand Prix between 1981 and 2006. During this period, two Grands Prix were held in Italy every year, with the Italian Grand Prix taking place at Monza, so the Imola race was named after the nearby state. Imola also hosted the 1980 Italian Grand Prix in place of Monza. When Formula One visits Imola, it is seen as the home circuit of Scuderia Ferrari, and masses of supporters come out to support the local team.

The venue returned to the Formula One calendar during the 2020 season to help the sport fill calendar gaps caused by cancellations of other races due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the race at the circuit being named the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in honour of the region where the circuit is located. This also meant the venue hosted a World Championship race under a third different name having hosted the 1980 Italian Grand Prix and the San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006.[3]


The track was inaugurated as a semi-permanent venue in 1953. It had no chicanes, so the runs from Acque Minerali to Rivazza, and from Rivazza all the way to Tosa, through the pits and the Tamburello, were just straights with a few small bends; the circuit remained in this configuration until 1972.

In April 1953, the first motorcycle races took place, while the first car race took place in June 1954. In April 1963, the circuit hosted its first Formula One race, as a non-championship event, won by Jim Clark for Lotus. A further non-championship event took place at Imola in 1979, which was won by Niki Lauda for Brabham-Alfa Romeo.

In 1980 Imola officially debuted in the Formula One World Championship calendar by hosting the 1980 Italian Grand Prix. It was the first time since the 1948 Edition held at Parco del Valentino that the Autodromo Nazionale Monza did not host the Italian Grand Prix. The race was won by Nelson Piquet and it was such a success that a new race, the San Marino Grand Prix, was established especially for Imola in 1981 and remained on the calendar until 2006. The race was held over 60 laps of the 5 kilometre circuit for a total race distance of 300 kilometres.

Imola has hosted a round of the Superbike World Championship from 2001 to 2006 and later since 2009. It hosts the final round of the FIM Motocross World Championship since 2018.

The World Touring Car Championship visited Imola in 2005 for the Race of San Marino, in 2008 for the Race of Europe, and in 2009 for the Race of Italy. The venue hosted a round of the International GT Open from 2009 to 2011. The TCR International Series raced at Imola in 2016.

The 6 Hours of Imola was revived in 2011 and added to the Le Mans Series and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup as a season event until 2016. Since 2017 it hosts the 12 Hours of Imola, a round of the 24H Series.

The track was also used as part of the finishing circuit for the 1968 UCI Road World Championships, which saw Italian cyclist Vittorio Adorni winning with a lead of 10 minutes and 10 seconds over runner up Herman Van Springel, the second largest winning margin in the history of the championships, after Georges Ronsse's victory in 1928. In addition Adorni's countryman Michele Dancelli took the bronze and five of the top six finishers were Italian.[4] The circuit was used for stage 11 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia, which was won by Ilnur Zakarin,[5] and stage 12 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia, won by Sam Bennett.[6] The circuit also served as the start and finish of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships on 27 September 2020.[7]


Despite the addition of the chicanes to several parts of the lap, the circuit was subject to constant safety concerns, mostly regarding the flat-out Tamburello corner, which was very bumpy and had dangerously little room between the track and a concrete wall without a tyre barrier that separated the circuit from the Santerno river that runs adjacent to it.

In 1987, Nelson Piquet crashed heavily during practice after a tyre failure and missed the race due to injury. In the 1989 San Marino Grand Prix, Gerhard Berger crashed his Ferrari at Tamburello after a front wing failure. The car caught fire after the heavy impact but thanks to the quick work of the firefighters and medical personnel Berger survived and missed only one race (the 1989 Monaco Grand Prix) due to burns to his hands. Michele Alboreto also had a fiery accident at the Tamburello corner testing his Footwork Arrows at the circuit in 1991 but escaped injury. Riccardo Patrese also had an accident at the Tamburello corner in 1992 while testing for the Williams team.

The death of Ayrton Senna on 1 May 1994 sealed the fate of the corner being run flat out ever again. To make Tamburello safer, it became a left–right–left chicane instead of a flat out left hander to slow down cars.

1994 San Marino Grand Prix

The circuit's layout at the time of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

In the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, during Friday practice Rubens Barrichello was launched over a kerb and into the top of a tyre barrier at the Variante Bassa, knocking the Brazilian unconscious, though quick medical intervention saved his life. During Saturday qualifying Austrian Roland Ratzenberger crashed head-on into a wall at over 310 km/h at the Villeneuve corner after his Simtek lost the front wing, dying instantly from a basilar skull fracture. The tragedy continued the next day, when the three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna lost control of his car and crashed into the concrete wall at the Tamburello corner on Lap 7. Senna died in hospital several hours after his crash. In two unrelated incidents, several spectators and mechanics were also injured during the event.

In the aftermath, the circuit continued to host Grands Prix, but revisions were immediately made in an attempt to make it safer. The flat-out Tamburello corner was reduced to a 4th gear left–right sweeper, and a gravel trap was added to the limited space on the outside of the corner. Villeneuve corner, previously an innocuous 6th gear right-hander into Tosa, was made a complementary 4th gear sweeper, also with a gravel trap on the outside of the corner. In an attempt to retain some of the quickness and character of the old circuit, the arduous chicane at Acqua Minerali was eliminated, and the Variante Bassa was straightened into a single chicane. Many say that the new circuit configuration is not as good as it used to be as a result of the new chicanes at Tamburello and Villeneuve.[8][9]

The circuit layout changed after 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, used between 1995-2006

Another modification made to the Imola track is that of Variante Alta, which is situated at the top of the hill leading down to Rivazza and has the hardest braking point on the lap. The Variante Alta, formerly a high-kerbed chicane, was hit quite hard by the drivers which caused damage to the cars and occasionally was the site of quite a few accidents. Before the 2006 Grand Prix, the kerbs were lowered considerably and the turn itself was tightened to reduce speeds and hopefully reduce the number of accidents at the chicane.

The old pitlane, June 2006.

The Grand Prix was removed from the calendar of the 2007 Formula One season.[10] SAGIS, the company that owns the circuit, hoped that the race would be reinstated at the October 2006 meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council and scheduled for the weekend of 29 April 2007, provided renovations to the circuit were completed in time for the race, but the reinstatement was denied.[11]

Recent developments

Imola during reconstruction, March 2007.

Since 2007, the circuit has undergone major revisions. A bypass to the Variante Bassa chicane was added for cars, making the run from Rivazza 2 to the first Tamburello chicane totally flat-out, much like the circuit in its original fast-flowing days. However, the chicane is still used for motorcycle races.

The new pitbox and start/finish straight, April 2008.

The old pit garages and paddock have been demolished and completely rebuilt while the pitlane was extended and resurfaced. The reconstruction was overseen by German F1 track architect Hermann Tilke.

In June 2008, with most of the reconstruction work completed, The FIA gave the track a "1T" rating, meaning that an official Formula One Test can be held at the circuit; circuits require the "1" homologation to host a Formula One Grand Prix.[12] As of August 2011, the track received a '1' FIA homologation rating after an inspection by Charlie Whiting.[13]

In June 2015, the owners of the circuit confirmed they were in talks to return to the Formula One calendar should Monza, whose contract was scheduled to run out after the 2016 season, be unable to make a new deal to keep hosting a round of the world championship.[14] On 18 July 2016, Imola signed a deal to host the Italian Grand Prix from the 2017 season.[15] However, on 2 September 2016, it was announced that Monza had secured a new deal to continue in hosting the race,[16] and Imola's officials took legal action against this decision questioning the legality of government funding awarded to Monza.[17] On 8 November 2016, they withdrew their case.[18] In February 2020, the owners at Imola submitted a bid to replace the 2020 Chinese Grand Prix pending its cancellation as a precaution in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] On 24 July 2020, it was confirmed that the circuit would be added to the calendar for the 2020 Formula One World Championship with the race being called the "Emilia Romagna Grand Prix" in honour of the region the circuit is situated in. In a break with Formula One tradition the event at the circuit took place over two days instead of three on 31 October and 1 November 2020.[20] Imola was kept on the calendar for 2021 following the postponement of the Chinese Grand Prix due to the ongoing pandemic.[21]

The circuit's president is Giancarlo Minardi of the former Minardi F1 team.[22]

Lap records

The official lap record for the current circuit layout is 1:15.484, set by Lewis Hamilton during the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The official race lap records at the Imola Circuit are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event Circuit Map
Grand Prix Circuit: 4.909 km (2008-present)
F1 1:15.484[23] Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Imola 2009.svg
GP2 Asia 1:28.097 Romain Grosjean Dallara GP2/11 2011 Imola GP2 Asia Series round
LMP1 1:33.112[24] Sebastien Bourdais Peugeot 908 2011 6 Hours of Imola
LMP2 1:34.799[25] Nicolas Lapierre Oreca 05 2016 4 Hours of Imola
Euroformula Open 1:35.273[26] Jak Crawford Dallara 320 2021 Imola Euroformula Open round
FTwo (2009-2012) 1:38.576 Robert Wickens Williams JPH1 2009 Imola Formula Two round
FREC 1:38.769[27] Hadrien David Tatuus F.3 T-318 2021 Imola FREC round
LMP3 1:40.019[25] Ligier JS P3 2016 4 Hours of Imola
LM GTE 1:41.024[28] Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 2014 4 Hours of Imola
LMPC 1:44.443[24] Kyle Marcelli Oreca FLM09 2011 6 Hours of Imola
WTCC 1:55.388[29] James Thompson Honda Accord Euro R 2008 FIA WTCC Race of Europe
Motorcycle Circuit: 4.936 km (2009-present)
World SBK 1:45.727[30] Chaz Davies Ducati Panigale V4 R 2019 Imola World SBK round Imola 2009 moto.svg
World SSP 1:51.101[31] Jules Cluzel MV Agusta F3 675 2015 Imola World SSP round
Supersport 300 2:08.200[32] María Herrera Yamaha YZF-R3 2018 Imola Supersport 300 round
Modified Layout: 4.959 km (1995-2006)
F1 1:20.411 Michael Schumacher Ferrari F2004 2004 San Marino Grand Prix Imola.svg
GP2 1:33.871 Nicolas Lapierre 2005 Imola GP2 Series round
WTCC 2:00.208 Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 156 2005 FIA WTCC Race of San Marino
Original Grand Prix Circuit with Acque Minerali Chicane: 4.909 km (1981-1994)
F1 1:24.335 Damon Hill Williams FW16 1994 San Marino Grand Prix Circuit Imola 1992.png

Non-motorsport events

Since 1981,[33] the circuit has been hosting the early-September Mostra Scambio ("Trading Exposition"), an open-air market primarily focused on the exhibition and trade of vintage vehicles and their parts; this event is also popularly (but inaccurately) called CRAME, after the name of the historical society organizing it.[34] The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19.[33]

Among the major musical performances held on the track were:

Partially due to the vicinity of the Romeo Galli athletics stadium, the Acque Minerali park, and the Tre Monti hills, the Autodromo is not commonly used for bicycle or on-foot sporting activities (albeit with notable exceptions, such as two segments of the Giro d'Italia in the 2010s, and 2020 UCI Road World Championships); however, the civic administration does occasionally allocate summer days in which the public can walk or cycle along the track.[35][failed verification]


  1. ^ "Structure & Organization-Autodromo di Imola".
  2. ^ "List of FIA licensed circuits" (PDF). FIA. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Formula 1 adds Portimao, Nurburgring and 2-day event in Imola to 2020 race calendar". Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  4. ^ Fotheringham, Alasdair (19 May 2015). "Giro d'Italia stage 11 preview: Organizers bring back 1968 Worlds finish circuit in Imola". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  5. ^ O'Shea, Sadhbh (20 May 2015). "Giro d'Italia stage 11: Zakarin motors to win on F1 track in Imola". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  6. ^ Arthurs-Brennan, Michelle (17 May 2018). "Sam Bennett breaks into early charge to win stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  7. ^ "The UCI reveals the routes for the Imola – Emilia-Romagna 2020 UCI Road World Championships". UCI. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  8. ^ BBC (17 February 2006). "Circuit Guide - Imola". BBC News. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  9. ^ The Guardian (3 March 2003). "Imola, San Marino". London. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  10. ^ "San Marino loses Grand Prix race". 29 August 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  11. ^ "Imola hopes to get back on 2007 calendar". 30 August 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  12. ^ "Imola receives '1T' FIA rating". 30 August 2006. Archived from the original on 21 July 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  13. ^ "F1: Imola Eyes Return With Top FIA Rating". 5 September 2011. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Exclusive: Imola begins talks to save Italian Grand Prix". 15 June 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  15. ^ Cooper, Adam (18 July 2016). "Imola signs agreement with Ecclestone for Italian GP". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  16. ^ Parkes, Ian (2 September 2016). "Monza secures new three-year F1 deal to host Italian Grand Prix". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  17. ^ Rencken, Dieter; Barretto, Lawrence (6 September 2016). "Imola taking legal action over Monza's new Italian GP deal". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  18. ^ Rencken, Dieter; Barretto, Lawrence (8 November 2016). "Imola withdraws legal action over Monza's F1 Italian GP". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  19. ^ "2020 F1 Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to novel coronavirus outbreak". 12 February 2020. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Nurburgring, Portugal and Imola races added to F1 2020 calendar". Sky Sports. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  21. ^ "F1 Schedule 2021 – Bahrain to host season opener as Australia moves later in calendar and Imola returns". Formula One World Championship Ltd. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  22. ^ Redazione (22 December 2020). "Gian Carlo Minardi appointed president of the Imola Circuit "I am Honoured by this office"". Minardi. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  23. ^ McDonagh, Connor (2 April 2021). "Who holds the lap record for each circuit on the F1 2021 calendar?". Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  24. ^ a b "2011 6 Hours of Imola Classification By Fastest Lap By Driver After - ByClass" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  25. ^ a b "2016 4 Hours of Imola Classification By Class" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  26. ^ "2021 Euroformula Open Championship Imola Session Facts". Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  27. ^ "Formula Regional European Championship 2021 Imola Race 1 Provisional Classification after 16 Laps - 78.326 km" (PDF). Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  28. ^ "2014 4 Hours of Imola Classification By Class" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  29. ^ "2008 World Touring Car Championship Race Of Europe Session Facts". Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Pirelli Italian Round, 10-12 May 2019, Results Tissot Superpole Race" (PDF). World Superbike. 12 May 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  31. ^ "Pirelli Italian Round, 10-12 May 2019, Results Race" (PDF). World Superbike. 12 May 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  32. ^ "PATA Italian Round, 11-12-13 May 2018 World Supersport 300 - Results Race" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  33. ^ a b "L'Autodromo di Imola - Storia dell'Autodromo". Mostra Scambio Imola (in Italian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  34. ^ "Club Romagnolo Auto e Moto d'Epoca" (in Italian). Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  35. ^ "Calendar – Visiting Imola". IAT – Informazione e Accoglienza Turistica, Comune di Imola. Retrieved 26 June 2020.

External links