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Formula 1

Imola test shows F1’s getting track design wrong – Kvyat

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Daniil Kvyat says his AlphaTauri team’s recent test at Imola shows that Formula 1 has taken the wrong direction in trying to make circuits “too perfect”.

Kvyat and team-mate Pierre Gasly drove at the ex-San Marino Grand Prix venue last month in a 2018 Toro Rosso and the rebranded team’s 2020 car, in preparation for this weekend’s season-opening Austrian GP.

Imola last hosted an F1 race in 2006 but has got FIA Grade 1 certification and has repeatedly tried to court F1 into adding it to the revised 2020 schedule, which will likely comprise some unexpected venues as the calendar is rejigged following the coronavirus crisis.

Responding to a question from The Race about the experience of driving Imola in current F1 machinery, Kvyat said: “It was a great track, I knew it already from past experiences, I always thought it was a very exciting track to drive.

“It’s quite old school, it’s quite bumpy, the kerbs are challenging.

“We can learn that changing tracks too much and trying to make them all similar, installing the same kerbs everywhere or to be too afraid of bumpiness and trying to make all tracks too perfect, I think is the wrong direction to take in Formula 1 and racing in general.

“So that’s probably the good thing about Imola, I had a lot of pleasure to drive there, and it was cool.

“An F1 car through corners like Acque Minerali, the entrance is so fast, it’s so cool, it really gives you a lot of adrenaline.

“It gave me very good emotions to drive on.”

Imola is not considered a leading candidate to be added to the F1 schedule, with Mugello, Hockenheim and Algarve more likely.

“You have these high-speed corners with such a short run-off area,  you really feel the potential of an F1 car” :: Pierre Gasly

Kvyat added: “Imola, Mugello, this kind of tracks would be very special to happen on the F1 calendar.

“Very unusual, high speed tracks and high speed corners which are great for Formula 1 car and drivers as well.”

Gasly was similarly as enthusiastic about Imola, having also driven it back in his Formula Renault days.

He said it is an “amazing” venue and the test was “one of the best experiences driving a Formula 1 car”.

“Just the history of that track makes it really special,” he said.

“With the downforce and the speed we go out with these Formula 1 cars, still kind of old tracks with pretty small run-off areas, the adrenaline was incredible, so I would really like to see Imola on the calendar.

San Marino Grand Prix 2006

“The track layout, the specificity of the corners, you have these high-speed corners with such a short run-off area, you really feel you’re at the limit of the car, you really feel the potential of an F1 car.

“Also you’re taking the risk of going through these corners at such a speed.

“It’s inside a park and it creates a real energy, quite similar to Spa for some reasons.

“I just think it’s a track that suits an F1 car really well.”

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