Formula 1’s first season of the 2020s was meant to unfold somewhat differently. It was to mark the final year for the current crop of cars, the comeback of the Dutch Grand Prix, and the F1 debut for Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. But a global pandemic forced F1 to push back its new cars a year, and its planned new race venues with them. When the person behind the Vietnamese GP’s place on the calendar was arrested, though, the event fell off F1’s scheduler entirely, leaving a late-April blank on F1’s provisional 2021 calendar. And now, said date could reportedly be assigned to one of the 2020 season’s one-off hosts, among which Imola is said to be the leading candidate.
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, better known by the name of the nearby town Imola, is “considered the favorite to fill the empty slot” according to RaceFans. Imola reportedly faces rivals in Turkey’s icy-slick Istanbul Intercity Park and Portugal’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, which in 2020 brought F1 to their countries for the first time in nine and 24 years respectively.
All three venues produced eventful races, owing largely to drivers’ inexperience at each track. As races in Portugal and Turkey both proceeded in slippery conditions, however, both occurring under rainfall and the latter on a freshly paved surface, Imola may be seen as the most repeatably entertaining venue.
Imola also offers F1 a dedicated local fanbase, one whose turnout its rivals may struggle to match. Portugal’s F1 following has likely diminished with no Grand Prix in its borders between 1997 and 2019, and with the open race weekend falling at the height of Ramadan, there couldn’t be a poorer time of yea to host a spectator sport in Turkey.