Sergio Pérez says it will be a challenging weekend at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari due to the condensed two-day format in place for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and he expects drivers to have maximised their preparation for the event.
Unlike in other races, the Imola weekend is being run on only Saturday and Sunday, with all the Friday action cancelled. This is due to the vast distance between Imola and the previous round at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, which happened only last weekend.
The BWT Racing Point Formula One Team racer joked he will be giving the track a go on his Playstation ahead of the one and only practice session on Saturday morning.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge as the two-day format means we will only have the one practice session,” said Pérez. “We will definitely come into the weekend having maximised simulation and watched plenty of onboards to make sure we head into qualifying and the race as well-prepared as we can be. I’ll also give it a go on the PlayStation!”
“It’s such a classic venue and there’s been so many memorable races – so hopefully this weekend will be another! I can’t wait to get going.”
Pérez admits he has enjoyed racing on circuits that were not on the original calendar in 2020 and which only were added when it became clear that it was not going to be possible to go to other events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So far in 2020, Formula 1 has visited the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, the Nürburgring and Portimão, and Pérez is looking forward to his weekend at Imola.
“I’ve enjoyed racing on circuits that we didn’t expect to visit,” said the Mexican. “Places where we don’t have years of data to fall back on. It puts the emphasis on maximising track time and analysing the limited information you get from practice, especially on a shorter weekend format.
“I think we’ve risen to the challenge so far, and all credit to the team that we’ve been fighting for good points even at new circuits.”
Stroll ‘Relishing’ the Return to Imola
Team-mate Lance Stroll secured his FIA Formula 3 European Championship title at Imola back 2016, and he is relishing returning there for the first time since then this weekend.
The Canadian says the two-day format has potential to mix up the grid, and he knows he will have to avoid mistakes if he is to be in a position to capitalise on mistakes of others as he bids to end a streak of four consecutive races without a point.
“I’m very excited! Not only is Imola such a famous circuit, but we’ll have the two-day format as well, which has the potential to really mix things up,” said Stroll. “I also have great memories there, so it’s a weekend I’m relishing.
“It’s clearly a very technical track and narrow in places – I think precision is going to be very important. That won’t be easy, it’s a tough track and hitting all the marks will be a challenge every lap for all the drivers.
“It’s going to be demanding mentally and physically, but overtaking could be a real challenge.”