Alterations at Imola allowed a welcome return to the grand prix calendar — and produced a dramatic Emilia Romagna GP
While not being particularly enamoured with current Formula 1, I was most impressed with the changes made to the Imola circuit [Where Ayrton Left His Heart, last month]. I still decry the loss of Tamburello and the Villeneuve curve before Tosa, the removal of three chicanes is almost a first in modern circuit alterations. I remembered how much better the double-apex Acque Minerali was in the 1979 non-championship race before the ridiculously tight chicane was added for 1980, and the reinstatement of the flat-out blast from the second Rivazza to Tamburello removing Varianta Bassa has much improved this section of track. I accept that with the latter change it would be nearly impossible to sanction the return of Tamburello, but I’d love to see the Villeneuve ‘S’ removed and put back to the curve it was before. Well done to Imola for making these changes; great to see the circuit back on the calendar.
I loved the cult heroes feature [November 2020]; can I throw one of my heroes into the ring? I have loved IndyCar ever since Eurosport aired it. It was everything I wanted racing to be: fast, exciting, close, dramatic and dangerous. For me, the man who stood out among a sea of legends was Paul Tracy. He was too big to be a racing driver and looked like the Milky Bar Kid, but in the car he was magic. A maverick on the limit at all times. He got gripped by the throat by Al Jr, wrestled with Alex Tagliani and fought with Sébastien Bourdais. I remember a 1992 race at Belle Isle where he and Michael Andretti fought each other so hard that they fell over themselves and let Bobby Rahal through for the win. Just brilliant. Paul Tracy was a racer and while he was more Mansell than Prost, he learned from the genius of Rick Mears and changed his technique when he was witness to the Senna/Penske test. The fireworks were always there and you knew if Paul was in the race, he would be at 10/10ths and hang the consequences!