2023 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix – Preview
"New initiatives at Imola with a view to a more sustainable Formula 1"
“The first European round of the 2023 season will feature two important tyre innovations; both aimed at improving the environmental sustainability of Formula 1. The first centres around qualifying: at Imola, we will be testing a new regulation that requires teams to use a different compound for each of the three sessions, with the hards fitted for Q1, the mediums for Q2, and the softs for Q3. This means a reduction of slick tyre sets that each driver has available for the event from 13 to 11, decreasing the environmental impact generated by the production and transport of tyres. With the same aim, a new full wet tyre compound will be introduced that doesn’t require the use of tyre warmers beforehand. Track tests have shown even better performance than the previous Cinturato Blue full wet, even without the electric tyre blankets. Following comprehensive studies carried out by Pirelli, this is the first concrete step towards the use of slick tyres without preheating. Finally, we have chosen to bring our range of softer compounds (C3, C4, and C5) to Imola, which could offer the teams a wider variety of strategic options.”
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- Pirelli has opted to bring its softest range of compounds to the Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with C3 as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow medium and C5 as P Zero Red soft. Imola is only the second race on the 2023 calendar to feature the three softest compounds, after Baku.
- This choice could open up more racing strategies. Imola is traditionally a one-stop race but with a trio of tyres that are not as hard as those used in the past, the teams will have more options.
- The Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari celebrated its 70th birthday this year. Completed in 1953, Imola is an "old-school" track, narrower than many modern layouts. Overtaking is particularly challenging as a result, but also more spectacular.
- Although the asphalt was laid a number of years ago, it’s moderately abrasive on tyres. Imola is known as a flowing track, with balanced longitudinal and lateral forces. Levels of downforce and track evolution are about average for the season.
- In 2022 the Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was held during the penultimate weekend of April: a month earlier than this year. Theoretically, temperatures should be higher, but they are currently expected to barely exceed 20°C.
A NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT: THE ALTERNATIVE TYRE ALLOCATION
A new qualifying format will be tested during the Imola weekend. In each of the three qualifying sessions, teams will be required to use only one type of compound: hard in Q1, medium in Q2, and soft in Q3. This ‘Alternative Tyre Allocation’ (ATA) makes it possible to reduce the number of sets of slick tyres supplied by Pirelli to 11 per car, compared to the usual 13. The allocation will be divided into three hard, four medium and four soft. The wet tyre sets remain unchanged: four sets of Cinturato Green intermediate and three sets of Cinturato Blue full wet. Each driver will have a total of seven tyre sets available for Sunday’s race, including at least one of each of the mandatory compounds: hard and medium. Of the remaining four sets available, one will be returned after FP1, one after FP2, and two after FP3.
THE CINTURATO BLUE FULL WET WITHOUT TYRE WARMERS
The new Cinturato Blue full wet will also make its debut at Imola, no longer needing tyre warmers. Previously, extreme wet tyres were heated with tyre warmers for two hours at 40°C. Pirelli has now developed a new compound that can be fitted to cars without pre-heating. The introduction of this new compound is part of a research and development process agreed between Pirelli, the FIA, and F1 to allow the use of tyres without blankets by 2024.
Théo Pourchaire arrives at Imola at the top of the drivers’ standings with 65 points. The Frenchman, driving for ART Grand Prix, is only three points clear of Prema Racing’s Frederik Vesti and will be aiming for a strong weekend to ensure that his championship advantage remains intact. Ayumu Iwasa (DAMS) is third with 58 points, ahead of another Prema Racing driver: Oliver Bearman with 41 points. The Imola F2 round comes after a test session held at Barcelona in Spain.
After the race weekend in Melbourne, Formula 3 returns to action for the third round of the season. Leading the drivers’ standings is Trident's Gabriel Bortoleto with 58 points. Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) is 20 points behind. Following the top two is Dino Beganovic of Prema Racing; level with Italy’s Gabriele Mini (Hitech Pulse-Eight) on 28 points.
Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.