April 19, 2006
San Marino GP Preview
The Imola circuit that hosts the San Marino Grand Prix, is a challenging circuit for all the teams. There are few quick corners, many short straights, a relatively smooth track surface and, of course, the famous kerbs that are an integral part of the racing line. In Imola kerbs are going to be the decisive factor when teams setup their cars for the weekend.
Suspension: Most of the teams have been focusing on front suspension in their recent tests.
Engine: 73% of the lap is spent at full throttle, which is among the highest values of the season. However, the longest period spent at full throttle is relatively short, which relieves the pressure on engine pistons; to compensate this, though the generally cool temperatures in this time of year at Imola results in high air density, meaning the engine develops more power and is under greater strain. The average engine speed at this circuit is relatively high, but the main danger for the engine comes from potentially over-revving when the car is launched over the kerbs and the driven wheels lose contact with the ground.
Reliability: The violent use of the kerbs around the lap puts the cars under particular strain, and Imola often sees a high retirement rate.
Tyres: Imola is not a particularly abrasive circuit, meaning the levels of degradation are generally lower.
Overtaking: The short straights mean overtaking is difficult. So the qualifying would be a key ingredient. In new qualifying format, a red flag here or there can jeopardize the qualifying prospects of the entire field ( Note: This is another new track for Yuji Ide and the Dinosaur of Super Aguri car)
Favorites: On current form Renault is the team to beat. But when it comes to past winners, having won 30 per cent of the races held at Imola, the WilliamsF1 Team is the most successful Formula One team in Imola since the inaugural race in 1981. In recent past Honda have done well in Imola. Never to discount the Mclaren team which have finished 1-2 on three occasions.
Imola preview can’t be complete without Mention of Late Ayrton Senna who is associated with Imola for the saddest of reasons. But don't forget that he also holds a remarkable record at the circuit: he started Imola races from pole position an incredible eight times and seven of those were in succession
Ref: f1-fact, FIA site.