Norris, Sainz, Ricciardo Challenge F1 on Imola Circuit

In the eyes of Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, and Daniel Ricciardo, Formula 1 should uphold its appreciation for historic circuits alongside the influx of new, revenue-generating events. They emphasize the importance of preserving the sport’s heritage amidst the current trend of favoring modern tracks.

As anticipation builds for the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Formula 1 continues its quest for fresh venues, including street circuits like the recent addition in Miami, where Norris clinched his inaugural victory.

However, this pursuit of novelty comes at the expense of classic tracks, which are dwindling in number with each passing year.

Reflecting on the evolution of Formula 1 since Ricciardo’s debut in 2011, iconic circuits such as Hockenheim and the Nurburgring have vanished from the calendar. Barcelona is set to follow suit in 2026, while Spa, Imola, and even Monaco face uncertain futures.

“I think it’s what we all miss a little from all the new venues that we go to, this old school feeling of a track, the history behind them,” remarked Sainz during an exclusive discussion with select members of the press at Imola.

“I’m glad the calendar keeps these venues because I think it reminds us all where we all come from and why we all became fans of this sport so I’m a big fan of coming back to places like Imola and Monaco next week.”

Gasly continued: “I agree with all the points of Carlos, I think it’s part of the DNA of our sport. As a kid I remember watching these guys driving around here and these days it’s one of the best tracks the way you attack the kerb and the chicane is very iconic here.

“It’s just a very cool track to drive and the history there is very impressive, I definitely think it’s important for us both to keep these types of venues.”

Although Lando Norris entered the Formula 1 scene only in 2019, he has witnessed the addition of Saudi Arabia, Miami, Las Vegas, and Qatar to the racing calendar since then. However, he fondly recalls his recent experience in Florida.

Acknowledging that some of these newer circuits may provide a more conducive environment for racing compared to venues like Imola, Norris emphasizes the significance of Formula 1 maintaining its traditional roots.

“I think we want these circuits because they’re more challenging for us as drivers,” Norris stated. “I think the history is always a part of every sport and you always want to keep definitely parts of history within it for whatever reason it is.”

Sainz stands out as the sole driver, besides Norris, to have surpassed a Red Bull since 2022, securing victories in Singapore and Melbourne. However, his performance in Miami saw him unable to challenge the McLaren driver, finishing fifth following a post-race penalty for contact with Oscar Piastri.

In discussing Formula 1’s historic tracks, Sainz asserts that they cannot afford complacency. He points to Imola’s lengthy pit lane as an illustration, suggesting that it eliminates a strategic element from the race.

“I do think maybe there’s potentially a bit of work to do in some of these tracks to maybe make them a bit better for the show in terms of overtaking when we look at the overtaking possibilities in Monaco or here,” Sainz further stated.

“I think we need to see how long is the pit lane, see how we can make the old school tracks maybe a bit more exciting with the overtaking opportunities and making the race better.”