As a legendary Italian team in the history of Formula 1 and motorsport, Ferrari's performance on their home ground is key to impressing the Tifosi.
Italian circuits hold a precious place in the record statistics and history of the team. Following a decent performance in Bahrain, the Maranello-based team head to Imola for the second round of the championship. They expect to fight in the top 10 of the grid, which would be a step forward from last year.
Former Ferrari driver and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has won the maximum number of races at Imola. The German’s last win at this iconic circuit was against current Formula 1 driver and two-time champion, Fernando Alonso.
A race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari - named after the Ferrari founder and his son - raises the team's expectations and echoes a sense of nostalgia. So far they have entered 28 Grands Prix hosted at this circuit, claiming six pole positions, eight victories, and 28 podiums, a statistic they are proud of.
With a fundamentally flawed car and an underpowered engine, Ferrari failed to make a mark last season. However, their recent performance in Bahrain highlights the team's potential of being able to target consistent points finishes.
Ferrari aim to battle old rivals McLaren at Imola
As Formula 1 heads to Europe, Ferrari’s goal is to target third place in the constructors' championship. They will face a stiff challenge from last year's third-place finishers, McLaren. The Scuderia battling with their old Woking-based rival is a sight this sport hasn’t witnessed in a decade.
It remains one of the most anticipated battles that Formula 1 enthusiasts look forward to. The teams have been bitter rivals in the past and are looking to resume their contentious relationship this season.
Ferrari’s SF21 features a more aero-efficient chassis compared to their rivals. However, McLaren’s MCL 37 runs on a Mercedes engine, which will have a significant advantage at a power-sensitive circuit like Imola.
Both teams were evenly matched at the race in Bahrain. The McLaren's finished in P4 and P7, while Ferrari finished in P6 and P8.
At a circuit that is more suited to their rivals, Ferrari will have to replicate a methodical approach. The team needs to nail the qualifying session, which is crucial at Imola.
Track position plays a key role at the track. The narrow circuit doesn't allow for many overtaking opportunities, making Saturday's session vital. A clean run in qualifying will ensure that Ferrari can hold off their Mercedes-powered rivals.
Speaking about the atmosphere at Imola, Charles Leclerc said:
"I can’t wait to get out on track here in Imola. This is a second home race for us after Monza, with Maranello being only 90 kilometres from here, which is why the atmosphere is special.”
The Monegasque also compared Ferrari's 2020 challenger to this season's car, saying:
“I said it already at the test and I can confirm that the SF21 is a significant step forward in every respect, from the engine to the balance and the aerodynamic grip.”
Ferrari's new signing, Carlos Sainz, spoke about the important weekend ahead:
“Here at Imola, it will be important not to make any mistakes on my quick lap in Q3 and to try and get a better start. Then we’ll see how things work out.”
At a circuit located an hour away from their factory, the Ferrari drivers aim to maximize their qualifying performance. The Scuderia will hope to battle it out with the McLarens this weekend. While the race will be held behind closed doors, the Tifosi will still be treated to a long-awaited battle between the red and orange squads.