While Mercedes won last year’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Williams and Ferrari are historically the most successful teams at Imola. Here’s everything you need to know about each team’s history at the circuit!
WINS: 1, POLES: 1, PODIUMS: 2
2020 RESULT: HAMILTON 1st, BOTTAS 2nd
Prior to 2020, the Mercedes works team had not raced at Imola before. Imola was first on the Formula 1 calendar in 1980, when Mercedes were already 25 years into their hiatus from motorsport following the Le Mans Disaster in 1955. On their first appearance at Imola last year, Mercedes secured the 2020 Constructors’ Championship with a 1-2 finish. The team locked-out the front row in qualifying.
Though 2020 was their first appearance at the track as a works team, Mercedes have powered one win here, for David Coulthard at McLaren in 1998, and five pole positions. Mercedes power also provided eight podium finishes here – including two for Mercedes in the last two San Marino Grands Prix held at the circuit in 2005 and 2006. Meanwhile, the Brackley-based team were in their Honda guise at the last San Marino Grand Prix in 2006, where Jenson Button finished seventh and Rubens Barrichello finished tenth. The team started from the front row in two of the last three San Marino Grands Prix, including with pole position for Button in 2004; that being the first pole of the Briton’s career. In 2005, both cars were disqualified due to being underweight and the team were subsequently banned for two races.
2020 marked Red Bull’s third appearance at Imola. Vitantonio Liuzzi remains the only Red Bull driver to score at the circuit, doing so with an eighth place finish in 2005. Both drivers retired from the 2006 race. In 2020, Max Verstappen retired while Alex Albon finished only sixteenth following a late race incident. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marked the first time the team reached Q3 at the circuit, doing so with both cars. Verstappen qualified in third place, while Albon was sixth.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0
2020 RESULT: ALBON 15th, VERSTAPPEN DNF
WINS: 6, POLES: 9, PODIUMS: 19
2020 RESULT: SAINZ 7th, NORRIS 8th
McLaren won the San Marino Grand Prix six times, with their most recent Imola victory being recorded in 1998. Since 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2020, are the only years that no McLaren drivers finished on the podium at the circuit. Both drivers scored at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with Carlos Sainz finishing seventh and Lando Norris in eighth. The team recorded double DNFs here in 1993 and 1996, while the 1980 Italian Grand Prix is the only other Imola race in which the team has failed to score.
McLaren hold the record for most pole positions at Imola, with nine. They set the qualifying pace at four consecutive San Marino Grands Prix between 1988 and 1991, and repeated the feat ten years later between 1998 and 2001. Six of those occasions were front row lock outs. Their most recent pole here was in 2005, when Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest Saturday time. 2004 is the only time in the last 23 races at the circuit that neither McLaren driver has qualified in the top ten. Both Norris and Sainz reached Q3 last year, with the pair qualifying in ninth and tenth respectively.
The 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be the fourth consecutive race at Imola at which Team Silverstone has appeared with a different name. They were Jordan at the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, Midland at the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix, Racing Point at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and Aston Martin at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. In 2020, Sergio Perez became the first driver for the team to score at Imola since 2001, finishing in sixth place. Jordan last scored at the track in 2001, when Jarno Trulli finished fifth and Heinz-Harald Frentzen came home in sixth. It’s the only time that both of the team’s cars have scored at Imola. Their best result here is fourth, recorded by Giancarlo Fisichella in both 1997 and 1999. The team recorded double retirements in four of the last seven San Marino Grands Prix.
Between 1995 and 2001, Martin Brundle was the only Jordan driver to fail to qualify in the top ten at Imola. He qualified twelfth in 1996. The team’s best qualifying result here is fifth, recorded by Ralf Schumacher in 1997 and Jarno Trulli in 2001. No driver for the Silverstone-based team has qualified in the top ten since 2001. Both Midland drivers were eliminated in Q1 at the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix, while both Racing Point drivers were eliminated in Q2 at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0
2020 RESULT: PEREZ 6th, STROLL 13th
WINS: 2*, POLES: 3*, PODIUMS: 11*
2020 RESULT: RICCIARDO 3rd, OCON DNF
Appearing at the track as Toleman, Benetton, Renault and now Alpine, Team Enstone have recorded two previous victories at Imola. Michael Schumacher won for Benetton in 1994, while Fernando Alonso took a memorable victory for Renault in 2005. The Enstone team has taken a further seven podium finishes at the circuit, the most recent being Daniel Ricciardo’s third place for Renault at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The team last recorded a double DNF at the circuit in 1998.
Team Enstone has taken a single pole position at Imola, with Michael Schumacher starting from the front in the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix. The Renault name has taken two poles at Imola. Both of their poles came in the 1980s, when they locked out the front row in 1980 and 1982. The Enstone team last started on the front row at the circuit in 2005, when Fernando Alonso qualified in second place. Last year, Daniel Ricciardo qualified in fifth place, while Esteban Ocon was eliminated in Q2.
The 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the first time that Ferrari failed to finish on the podium at Imola since 1993. Other than Charles Leclerc’s fifth place and Sebastian Vettel’s twelfth place in the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, since 1994, the only times that a Ferrari driver has finished outside of the top six at the track were due to retirements (in 1994, 1999, 2001 and 2005). Ferrari won six of the last eight San Marino Grands Prix, with their 1999 victory being their first at Imola since 1983. 1982 and 2002 are the only years in which the team has recorded a 1-2 finish at the circuit. The team recorded their fifth and most recent double DNF at the track in 1993, while 1980 is the only other race at the circuit where they have failed to score.
Ferrari took pole position at three of the last five San Marino Grands Prix. The team has taken six poles in total at the circuit. Since 1986, Michael Schumacher – who qualified fourteenth in 2005 –and Sebastian Vettel – who qualified fourteenth in 2020 – are the only Ferrari drivers to fail to qualify in the top ten at Imola. Vette’s Q2 exit last year marked only the fifth time that a Ferrari driver has qualified outside of the top ten here. Jody Scheckter recorded the team’s worst qualifying result at the circuit with sixteenth place in 1980. 2002 is the only season in which the team has locked out the front row at the track.
WINS: 8, POLES: 6, PODIUMS: 24
2020 RESULT: LECLERC 5th, VETTEL 12th
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0
2020 RESULT: KVYAT 4th, GASLY DNF
When Formula 1 visited Imola for the last San Marino Grand Prix in 2006, Toro Rosso were entering only their fourth Grand Prix. While Scott Speed was eliminated in Q1, Vitantonio Liuzzi reached Q2 and qualified in sixteenth place; one position ahead of Red Bull’s Christian Klien. In the race, Liuzzi finished fourteenth, while Speed finished just behind in fifteenth. Flash forward fourteen years and in 2020, AlphaTauri recorded a fourth place finish with Daniil Kvyat. Pierre Gasly also looked set for a good result having qualified an impressive fourth, but retired from the race. Both Gasly and Kvyat reached Q3 for the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, marking the first time that this team had qualified with both cars in the top ten since 1991, when it was under its Minardi guise. In both 2006 and 2020, AlphaTauri finished ahead of the senior Red Bull team in the race.
The 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the only race of the 2020 season in which both Alfa Romeo drivers scored points. Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth, with Antonio Giovinazzi behind him in tenth. When Alfa Romeo appeared at Imola for six races in the 1980s, Eddie Cheever’s seventh place in 1984 was the only time that one of their cars reached the chequered flag. Meanwhile, Sauber appeared in every San Marino Grand Prix from 1993 to 2006. The team scored on a handful of occasions, with their best result being fourth place, recorded on their first appearance by JJ Lehto in 1993 (even though he failed to finish the race), Karl Wendlinger in 1994 and Jacques Villenueve in 2005.
Both Alfa Romeo drivers were eliminated in Q1 at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Sauber recorded their best qualifying result at Imola on their first appearance at the circuit, with Karl Wendlinger qualifying in fifth place in 1993. 1994 is the only year that both Sauber drivers qualified in the top ten at Imola. The team recorded six top ten qualifications since then, most recently with eighth place for Felipe Massa in 2005; though the Brazilian started only eighteenth due to an engine penalty.
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0
2020 RESULT: RAIKKONEN 9th, GIOVINAZZI 10th
WINS: 0, POLES: 0, PODIUMS: 0
2020 RESULT: GROSJEAN 14th, MAGNUSSEN DNF
Haas made their first appearance at Imola at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Haas joined the sport in 2016, ten years after the last San Marino Grand Prix. Both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were eliminated in Q1 at the event, qualifying in sixteenth and seventeenth respectively. In the race, Grosjean finished fourteenth while Magnussen retired following gearbox issues and suffering from a headache.
Williams share the record for most Imola victories with Ferrari, having won at the track eight times. They recorded their only 1-2 finish at the circuit in 1992. Williams scored in all of the last six San Marino Grands Prix, including their most recent win at the track in 2001. The team failed to score last year, with Nicholas Latifi finishing eleventh and George Russell crashing out of the race under Safety Car conditions. Russell’s retirement was the first for a Williams driver at Imola since 2001. Between 1992 and 1997, the team won all but one of the races at Imola; that race being the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, in which Williams’ driver Ayrton Senna lost his life as a result of a crash.
Williams have taken pole at Imola four times, and have locked out the front row on three occasions, most recently in 1997. In the last 22 San Marino Grands Prix, there have been only three occasions on which a Williams driver failed to qualify in the top ten. That included Jenson Button recording what was then the team’s worst qualifying position at the circuit with eighteenth at the 2000 San Marino Grand Prix. Nicholas Latifi recorded a worse result than Button in 2020, qualifying only nineteenth. While Russell reached Q2 and qualified thirteenth, this was the first time since 1983 that neither Williams driver qualified in the top ten at the track. Williams last started from the front row at the circuit in 2003, when Ralf Schumacher qualified in second place.
WINS: 8, POLES: 4, PODIUMS: 15
2020 RESULT: LATIFI 11th, RUSSELL DNF
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.