F1 Fantasy: top picks & predictions for the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix


Imola's narrow and twisting layout puts the emphasis on qualifying performance this weekend, as Red Bull faces further challenges. Here are our F1 Fantasy tips and predictions for the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Imola Verstappen

Is Verstappen your best bet in Imola?

Red Bull

Choosing your F1 Fantasy team hasn’t been this difficult for a long time. The race to the top step this weekend in Imola could be contested by six different drivers from three different constructors.

McLaren is on a roll after Lando Norris‘s Miami victory, where he had the genuine pace to beat the Red Bulls after a major upgrade. He’s the second-most expensive driver in the game, at $24.4m — $4.4m more than team-mate Oscar Piastri who gets the full upgrade for the first time at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and is rarely far behind Norris. The pair could well be a force to be reckoned with.

Ferrari arrives at its home race with its own upgrade, hoping for a share of the same stardust, Charles Leclerc ($22.3m) and Carlos Sainz ($20.7m) have been consistently competitive in 2024, with Sainz winning after Verstappen retired in Austria. This time they may not need Red Bull to falter to be in with a chance of victory.

That being said, Max Verstappen ($30.2m) and Sergio Perez ($23.3m) struggled on the first day of practice Imola, potentially making both drivers obscenely overpriced should their lack of pace carry over into the competitive sessions. Qualifying is key on the narrow and unforgiving circuit, and although Verstappen is yet to miss out on a single pole position so far this season, a start from further back in the pack could impact how many points the Dutchman can score with little room for overtaking. So, instead of investing more than $30m in the Dutchman, your F1 Fantasy budget may be better spent on a team that qualifies well instead of an individual.

2024 F1 Fantasy — F1’s best qualifiers 

Points scored from qualifying positions in 2024 

Driver Points scored from qualifying position
Max Verstappen 60
Sergio Perez 47
Charles Leclerc 41
Lando Norris 37
Team Points scored from qualifying 
Red Bull 167
Ferrari 131
McLaren 127
Mercedes 87

F1 Fantasy players can get their weekend off to a flying start by maximising the qualifying bonus points available from constructors. If both drivers from either of your selected teams make it through to Q2, you’ll receive a 3-point bonus. If they accomplish the same feat for Q3, you’ll receive a ten-point bonus, on top of the points that both drivers receive for qualifying in the top ten.

In Miami, Ferrari ($21.8m) gained 17 points from Leclerc and Sainz qualifying second and third, plus a bonus 10 as both made it into Q3. In contrast, Aston Martin ($14.6m) scored 3, as both drivers failed to make it beyond Q2.

Given their upgrades, Ferrari or McLaren ($24.2m) look to offer good qualifying points potential, at a lower price than Red Bull, with Leclerc securing a spot at the top of the timesheets in FP1 and FP2, while Piastri finished an impressive second in the latter session. But as we set out below, you’re probably going to want to keep or add the reigning champions to your squad.

Despite its Miami woes, Aston Martin ($14.6m) has tended to qualify well in 2024, having earned 65 points from qualifying sessions so far — only 22 less than the $20.3 Mercedes squad. But if you’re looking for an ultra-low budget team, RB may be your best bet. For only $8.9m, the Italian outfit has scored 28 points from qualifying sessions in 2024, an impressive overall value of 3.14 points per million. Yuki Tsunoda also impressed throughout the first day of practice: finishing third in FP3. Of course, for a clearer picture of the running order, we’d recommend keeping an eye on the final practice session of the weekend on Saturday morning before finalising your squad ahead of the 3pm deadline, just as qualifying starts.

Read on for our tips and predictions for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and don’t forget to join the Motor Sport Fantasy league.

There are more on the rules and scoring in our F1 Fantasy full guide; and if you need some creative inspiration, check out our F1 Fantasy team name generator. For more information on the chips available and when to use them, we’ve got an F1 Fantasy chips explainer too.

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How to score the most F1 Fantasy points possible in Imola

While picking a team that qualifies well in Imola is more crucial than at most other races on the calendar, predicting who will end up at the front this weekend is a difficult to deduce. We’d recommend diversifying your line-up as much as possible with at least one asset from each of the predicted top three constructors — therefore covering all the bases.

Even after a disappointing first day of practice, picking up Red Bull as one of your constructor cards is a no-brainer, as the Milton Keynes outfit has scored 530 F1 Fantasy points so far this season — over 100 more than any other constructor. Both Verstappen and Perez also have a history of pulling out brilliant performances from seemingly nowhere,  and with one final practice session still to come, we’d recommend retaining some faith in the reigning world champions. That should then leave you with enough budget to pick up at least one driver from both McLaren and Ferrari.

A Norris and Leclerc combination would leave you with less money to fill out the rest of your line-up, but in return your team would gain two drivers in imperious form. While Norris will likely enter Imola brimming with confidence following a debut win in Miami, Leclerc has been equally impressive this season, having finished no lower than fourth in the six races he’s entered so far — scoring him the second-most F1 Fantasy points as a result (195). The Monegasque driver also finished at the top of both FP1 and FP2 — a showcase for what could be in store.

A Sainz and Piastri combination would be cheaper, and potentially just as lucrative: Sainz has scored on average 33.2 points per race this year (taking into account the race he missed), compared with Leclerc’s 32.5, while Piastri was in contention for Miami victory until an unfortunately-timed pitstop, compounded by a late clash with Sainz. Choosing this pairing would allow you to pick up a better-scoring midfield option.

Here are our suggestions for some high-value low-cost options, as well as some drivers you should avoid in Imola:


Nico Hülkenberg 

2024 Australian GP Nico Hulkenberg Haas

Hulk’s smashing F1 Fantasy right now


Nico Hülkenberg is amongst F1 Fantasy’s best bang-for-your-buck drivers right now, following another impressive drive in Miami. The $8.1m German has scored 44 points so far this season — only five less than $8.6m team-mate Kevin Magnussen — and also boasts a stellar qualifying record, reaching Q3 three times in the last six races.

Hülkenberg’s years of experience are also seemingly paying off in race pace. He has been able to keep his Haas at the point-scoring end of the grid this year instead of fading backwards after a strong qualifying session and losing points as a result, which happened too frequently in 2023.

With a seat already confirmed at Sauber for 2025, the German won’t be feeling the pressure to over-perform. The same can’t be said for Magnussen. He walked away from the Miami weekend with just a single F1 Fantasy point to his name following a collision with Logan Sargeant in the grand prix.


Logan Sargeant

Logan Sargeant 2024 Williams

Sargeant’s inexperience could cost F1 Fantasy players in Imola

Getty Images

Williams’ application to grant Kimi Antonelli a superlicence before his 18th birthday in August has done nothing to dispel the doubts over Logan Sargeant‘s future at the team but until his Miami Grand Prix crash with Kevin Magnussen, he had a respectable F1 Fantasy score, scoring 27 points from the first five races of the season — 2 short of Pierre Gasly and 26 more than his team-mate Alex Albon  — despite missing out entirely in Australia as Albon was given his car for the race.

But he might not be a driver to back on his first F1 visit to Imola. It’s regarded as one of the toughest circuits on the current calendar; its narrow and winding asphalt quickly punishing errors, which carry the risk of a retirement and 20 point penalty. Sargeant was second only to Esteban Ocon last year in total points lost from DNFs and so even for just $6.1m, we’d recommend leaving him out your line-up.


Esteban Ocon

Alpine Esteban Ocon 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Alpine’s secret gem?

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Esteban Ocon is currently making the best of a bad situation at Alpine, having secured a commendable 43 points from races so far this season — 19 more than team-mate Pierre Gasly — despite struggling against the machinery underneath him.

That being said, the French outfit has begun to find some competitive pace over the past few weekends, with Ocon managing to score the team’s first constructors’ points in Miami with a 10th place finish.

Should this be a sign of things to come, the Frenchman could be a very good low-budget pick: costing players only $9.5m. Gasly is a good alternative, but has often been inconsistent behind the wheel of the A524.


Zhou Guanyu

cheers for the home talent Zhou Guanyu

Zhou Guanyu is currently F1 Fantasy’s worst qualifier

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Despite his often excellent ability to score solid Fantasy points from F1’s close midfield, Zhou Guanyu has struggled to qualify well in 2024, which could prove to be a major downfall in Imola.

The Sauber driver has only lost points from qualifying sessions this year, after failing to be classified during Q1 in Jeddah, and with little opportunity to climb through the field in Imola, Zhou may not be able to make up the points difference with a showcase in overtaking.

Instead, we’d suggest picking up the likes of either Hulkenberg or $6.7m Sauber team-mate Valtteri Bottas.


What F1 Fantasy chips should I use in Imola? 

Imola isn’t an obvious place to use your chips.

More sprint race weekends in Austria, USA and Brazil will give you plenty of opportunity to use up your Extra DRS Chip — tripling the score of a chosen driver over the course of both the sprint and GP events — while Monaco or Singapore could give you the perfect chance to use your No Negative chip (which ensures no negative scores can be applied to your final tally) or your Final Fix chip (which allows you to make a single change to your team after qualifying), particularly if there’s rain in either race.