Charles Leclerc is ready for the challenge of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari this weekend, with the Monegasque racer heading to the third Italian race of 2020 knowing there will be very little room for any mistakes.
Imola is back on the Formula 1 schedule for the first time since 2006, so for many drivers on the current grid, it will be the first time they’ve experienced the track in Formula 1 machinery. This includes Leclerc, although the Scuderia Ferrari driver has raced there previously in Formula Renault.
Leclerc is expecting a tricky weekend on what he calls a very technical track, and this will not be helped by the condensed two-day Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.
“I’ve already raced at Imola twice in Formula Renault,” said Leclerc. “It’s a track that I love and really enjoy driving at. The circuit is very technical, with some very tricky corners and it’s also a track where there is very little room for mistakes. I think that most of the drivers who are yet to discover it will love it there.
“This weekend we’ll also try the two-day track activity format for the first time, even if, to be honest, we’ve tried something similar because of the circumstances a few weeks ago at the Eifel GP, when bad weather kept us in the garages on Friday. It will be interesting to see how this compressed weekend will work.”
“I think it is a great track, which doesn’t allow for mistakes” – Sebastian Vettel
Whereas Leclerc has raced at Imola in junior Formulae, his team-mate Sebastian Vettel has never raced there during his career, so this weekend will be a new experience for the four-time World Champion.
Like his team-mate, Vettel is expecting any mistakes to be punished on what is an old-school track, and even though the final chicane has been removed since Formula 1 was last there fourteen years ago, he is looking forward to racing at the circuit for the first time.
“I have never raced at Imola, but everybody knows the circuit as it used to be a permanent feature on the calendar for so many years,” said Vettel. “I was there in 2006, and that’s the only memory I have of Imola, when I was a support driver for the BMW Sauber team. I haven’t even walked the track and so this will be my first ever race there.
“I think it is a great track, which doesn’t allow for mistakes. I remember the last chicane before the start finish line also looked interesting and challenging but it isn’t there anymore. I’m very much looking forward to finally driving here this weekend.”