Lando Norris says he is excited to race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari for the first time in a Formula 1 car this weekend as Formula 1 races in Italy for a third time in 2020 with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The McLaren F1 Team racer was only six when Imola last hosted Formula 1 back in 2006, and although he has experience of the track in junior formulae back in 2015 whilst racing in the Italian Formula 4 Championship, he is eager to find out what the track feels like in his MCL35.
“I’m excited to be going to Imola right after a race weekend,” said Norris. “The last time Formula 1 went there I was only six years old. I’ve actually raced there before in Italian Formula 4 back in 2015 and it was an amazing track, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like in a Formula 1 car.
“With it only being a two-day race weekend, it’ll definitely make things interesting by missing out on two free practice sessions. Hopefully, my previous experience there will give me a helping hand on Saturday and Sunday.”
Norris admits the results of the past few races have not been what he would have wanted, but he says despite this, there are plenty of positives to take as he continues his fight for fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship.
He has not finished inside the top ten since the last race in Italy at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello last month, but he is eager to turn around his fortune this weekend at Imola.
“Looking back on the past few races there are a lot of positives to take despite the results,” said Norris. “It’s still very close in the Constructors’ Championship and I know the entire team is pushing hard to give us every chance to outperform our competition.
“The car is showing a lot of potential that can hopefully help us get some big points this weekend.”
“No running on Friday will be an interesting test” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. enjoyed last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix after finishing sixth, with the Spaniard having led a few laps at the start when conditions were at their trickiest.
Sainz believes the team took a step forward in performance last weekend after the introduction of many new parts to its MCL35, and he hopes this weekend will see them make another step in the right direction at Imola.
The Spaniard, who will move to Scuderia Ferrari next season in place of Sebastian Vettel, says the two-day weekend format will be an interesting test, with no running taking place on Friday at Imola.
“We come away from Portugal after scoring good points that are crucial for both championships,” said Sainz. “The car felt a step better last weekend, so we did a good job as a team in understanding the different upgrades and deciding which direction to take.
“It’s great to be heading to Italy for the third time this season with this weekend being in Imola. No running on Friday will be an interesting test as there will be limited time to get to grips with the track and less data to analyse ahead of quali.
“Personally, Fridays make sense as long as the number of races are reasonable. Looking forward to this weekend.”
“Imola is a welcome addition to the calendar this season” – Andreas Seidl
Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal of McLaren, says Imola is a welcome addition to the Formula 1 calendar, although it comes with the additional challenge of being a two-day weekend.
Friday practice at Imola will not happen, with the teams being given a single ninety-minute practice session on Saturday morning to prepare for Qualifying and the race, with Seidl says it is good that Formula 1 are experimenting with their race weekend formats.
Seidl was also left encouraged by the performance last weekend in Portugal, and he hopes for another strong haul of points this weekend.
“We round off this double-header by returning to Italy for a third race at another exciting track,” said Seidl. “Imola is a welcome addition to the calendar this season with the last Formula 1 race being held there in 2006.
“This weekend brings with it an exciting challenge of a two-day format. We welcome these types of formats in Formula 1. We’re prepared and eager to make the most of our limited running time to give us the best possible chance to score vital points.
“Our performance in Portimão was very encouraging with several positives to take away from the weekend that once again confirm we can challenge for strong points.
“Looking ahead, we need to build on last weekend and continue to extract the most out of the cars to keep us in the fight with our competitors. I know the entire team back home and at track are continuing to work hard to give us the best chance to compete.”