Imola keen for Formula 1 return

The start of the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix

Circuit bosses at Imola have admitted they hold a desire to see Formula 1 return to the venue.

Imola hosted the San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 until 2006, having first appeared as host to the Italian Grand Prix in 1980.

The circuit is best known as the scene of the tragic weekend in 1994 which claimed the lives of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

That event prompted changes to the circuit ahead of the 1995 race with the installation of chicanes at the Tambarello and Villeneuve corners, the location of the previous year’s tragedies.

More recently the circuit has undergone a considerable facelift with upgrades to the final chicane and pit complex.

The redevelopment has seen it maintain its FIA Grade 1 licence, needed to host Formula 1, making it one of just 43 venues globally capable of doing so.

Heading into last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix it was confirmed that Monza would remain on the calendar for another five years.

Prior to the announcement, Imola was mentioned as a possible alternate location for the Italian event, which was struggling with the financial commitment required from Formula 1.

“We are proud and proud to be considered among the racetracks capable of hosting Formula 1,” said Imola venue director Roberto Marazzi.

Circuit president Uberto Selvatico Estense added: “The great work done by ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani in maintaining Formula 1 in Italy could reopen the possibility, even at our historic racetrack, to see the red cars and the whole circus return.

“To achieve such a result it is essential to have the full support of regional and metropolitan institutions, as is happening for Monza and Mugello.”

Italy has three Grade 1 circuits, the others being Monza and Mugello.

The latter has never hosted a Formula 1 grand prix but did hold testing until 2012, and currently hosts the Italian MotoGP.

During the majority of Imola’s tenure on the F1 calendar it was run as the San Marino Grand Prix, effectively giving Italy two events a year.

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