The fourth race in the 2005 F1 world championship
is this weekend in Italy, and it is also the first Grand Prix back in
Europe. The circuit, which is located 20 miles south-east of Bolgna,
is laid out in the Castellacio Park and was first used in 1950.
Originally 3.118 miles long, it was used for the
occasional non-Championship race, but was very much a second-string
circuit until 1973 when it was refurbished with the addition of
Varianta Bassa and renamed Autodromo Enzo E Dino Ferrari. Variante
Alta was added in 1974, when the length increased to 3.144 miles and a
chicane was added at Aqua Minerale in time for the first Championship
race in 1981, when the length of a lap became 3.132 miles.
It is a quick, undulating, circuit with a series of
demanding corners broken by chicanes. Popular with almost everyone, it
was Imola’s misfortune to be the scene of the fatal accidents to
Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994 and these tragedies have
made Imola remembered by everyone. It was lucky not to be dropped this
year, as F1 goes further into Asia, but I fear its life is very
The Ferrari team need a good result this weekend if
Schumi is to pull off another world title, and they don’t need me or
you to remind them of this fact!
Renault, and Alonso in particular, is riding the
crest of the wave, with three wins out of three and two on the trot to
Alonso. McLaren are not far behind, and in fact de la Rosa set the
fastest lap in Dubai, and Raikkonen was his usual unsmiling self in
third place on the podium. The next team seems to be BMW Williams, but
they are still having a few problems, with Webber’s revs being
limited in Dubai, being the reason he couldn’t hold off de la Rosa.
With a fresh engine this weekend, let’s see what he can do.
I am still in the UK, so keep my seat at
Jamieson’s Irish Pub warm! The race should begin at 7 p.m. but check
with the local TV feed, so you don’t blame me for missing the start!