It is 40 years since the World Championship first raced at the Santerno circuit, when it hosted the Italian GP instead of Monza, which was closed for modernisation. The following year, the national race returned to Monza on the outskirts of Milan, but for 26 years, Imola hosted the San Marino Grand Prix. Scuderia Ferrari has won here eight times, the first in 1982 with Didier Pironi in a race where relations soured between the Frenchman and his Canadian team-mate Gilles Villeneuve. The following year, Patrick Tambay won and then came six wins for Michael Schumacher (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006).
There are no lap times to aim for, partly because Formula 1 has not been here for several years and mainly down to the fact the layout has been changed: the chicane leading onto the pit straight has gone so that now, from the exit to Rivazza to the Tamburello chicane, the cars are accelerating all the way. Lap time should be around the 1 minute 14 second mark, much faster than Schumacher’s time of 1’20”411 set in 2004. Otherwise, the track is unchanged with its legendary corners such as the high speed Villeneuve, Tosa, the demanding Piratella and the downhill Acque Minerali.
In 1970, at a City Council meeting the mayor of Imola, wishing to honour Ferrari and mark the importance of the links between the race track and the Maranello marque, named the circuit after Enzo Ferrari’s son Dino, who died at the age of 24 in 1956. When Enzo himself passed away in 1988, the decision was taken to add the father’s name to that of his son.