What tyres will the teams and drivers have for the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola?
Pirelli are going one step softer with the tyre allocation for the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – here are all the details about tyres for the upcoming race at Imola, which returns to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 2006.
This weekend there's no Friday action and just a single 90-minute practice session on Saturday before qualifying, as F1 tries out a two-day race weekend format. Only two sets of hard, two sets of medium and six sets of soft tyres will be available over the weekend: 10 sets in all, compared to 13 over a normal three-day weekend.
Pirelli will bring C2, C3 and C4 tyres to the 13th round of the season – one step softer than at those used at Portimao last week, with their head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola explaining that the two-day format and tricky layout have played a part in Pirelli's choice.
"This weekend at Imola, there's going to be a lot to get used to in a short space of time," said Isola. "After travelling back from Portugal the teams have to cope with a new race weekend format and reduced practice time on what will be a brand new track for most of the drivers – although inadvertently, they practised this exact scenario at the Nurburgring recently.
"As you would expect on a circuit with so much history, Imola has an old-school feel to it like Mugello, and we believe that the drivers are going to love racing there. Finding the right set-up as quickly as possible is going to be key to success, as the technical nature of the track means that a number of important compromises have to be made, so it's always tricky to find the right balance.
"Overtaking could be quite tricky and the weather at this time of year is unpredictable, so strategy is set to play an important role – but that strategy has to be flexible enough to adapt itself to changing circumstances," he said.
The narrow, anti-clockwise circuit has been modernised since it was last used for a Grand Prix, and AlphaTauri actually used it for a pre-2020 season filming day. The final chicane is gone, and the long straight heading into Tamburello is now split, with two right-hand corners added in between.
Circuit run-off has been expanded at Variante Alta, and new pit garages contrast with the old tower overlooking the previous start-finish complex. The circuit has also been re-surfaced since the last Grand Prix in 2006, making for a smoother ride. However, the surface is still bumpy and with large kerbs, meaning some extra stress on the compounds and drivers.
Isola also expanded on the prototype tyre tests that took place in FP2 for the Portguese Grand Prix.
He said: "The tests we carried out last weekend in Portimao to assess 2021 tyre specifications went well, as expected. We are now analysing all the data collected, because by November 1st we have to nominate the definitive specification for next year."