Imola was an early-season Formula 1 highlight but it is best remembered for the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994.
Imola was an early-season Formula 1 highlight but it is best remembered for the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994. It survived that disaster with extensive modifications, particularly to the ultra-quick Tamburello corner where Senna crashed. But F1’s desire to expand outside Europe ended Imola’s time as a Grand Prix venue before an unexpected one-off return. Set in the undulating Castellaccio Park outside Imola, the circuit is a fast succession of demanding corners broken up by chicanes. It did not reach the forefront of international motor racing until it was refurbished in the early 1970s. Imola held a non-championship F1 race in 1979 and was chosen to hold the 1980 Italian Grand Prix following Ronnie Peterson’s fatal accident at Monza in 1978. Although Monza was back in favour within 12 months, Imola was awarded the San Marino Grand Prix – a title of convenience referring to the principality 50 miles away – and it held the race until 2006. The circuit was modernised in 2008 but a Formula 1 return seemed a forlorn hope before the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced the promoter to look for replacement venues, including a two-day meeting at Imola.
1985 - 1994
Permanent road course
Chicanes built at Villeneuve and after Variante Alta