Formula One’s first two-day weekend takes place at one motor racing’s great venues: Imola, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where an interesting race awaits.
The format change to expunge Friday practice from the schedule fulfils two aims. The first is to reduce the logistical burden of road travel between Portugal and Italy for back-to-back weekends, particularly with the background of COVID-19 restrictions.
The second reason has potentially far-reach consequences — the evaluation of the viability of a shortened format to ease the burden of individual races in exchange for cramming more events into a season.
Already the draft 2021 calendar is reportedly running at 23 events, including two of the previous forbidden triple-header rounds, which made an unwelcome but necessary return this year to account for time lost to lockdown.
Calendar permutation aside, the prospect of less practice time is a welcome one that promises to inject some variability into the form guide, if only a little.
With only 90 minutes to hone set-up less any time a team might be brave enough to sacrifice to testing updates, there’s less scope to perfect the package and more opportunity for mistakes to creep in.
It delivered a qualifying session that rewarded drivers willing to take significant risk, with Valtteri Bottas taking pole with a lap that left him shaking in the aftermath. Lewis Hamilton, for his part, conceded he just put together a poor lap.
|PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID|
Distance: 4.909 kilometres
Lap record: N/A
Track record: 1:25.269 (Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 2020)
Lateral load: medium
Tyre stress: medium
Asphalt grip: TBC
Asphalt abrasion: TBC
Safety car probability: N/A
Pit lane speed: 80 kilometres per hour
Pit lane length: 547 metres (approx.)
Pit lane time loss: TBC
Fuel consumption: 1.75 kilograms per lap
Tyres: C2 (hard), C3 (medium), C4 (soft)
Estimated tyre delta
Hard–medium: 0.5 seconds
Medium–soft: 0.6 seconds