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Five things to expect from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

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Five things to expect from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1 returns to Imola for the first time in 14 years this weekend for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The inclusion of the legendary circuit has put a smile on the face of fans and drivers alike, with only Kimi Raikkonen of the current grid previously racing at the Italian venue in a Formula 1 car.

So what are we expecting as we revisit an icon? Here are five things to keep an eye on.

Two-day weekends - the new normal?

We have already seen once this season how limited practice running can affect race preparations, with teams eventually guessing their way through stints and hoping their factory simulations guide them towards success.

The impromptu test at the Nürburgring, where fog cancelled Friday running, provided encouragement that such a format could be beneficial in the long term.

The scheduled two-day weekend, however, has been refined to make up for a lost day of running, with the solitary practice run extended to 90 minutes rather than the typical one-hour session usually held on Saturday morning.

An interesting challenge awaits then, especially at a track the teams have no data to 'guesstimate' with.

Ferrari resurgence?

Charles Leclerc has a strong case for being named driver of the season. In a woeful Ferrari SF1000, the Monégasque somehow manages to produce performances of the highest standard and rack up points finishes whilst his more established team-mate in Sebastian Vettel languishes in the lower ends of the midfield.

So whilst Vettel is still trying to find some confidence in his final year with the Scuderia, Leclerc is finishing best of the rest behind the typical big three of Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

At the third Italian race of the year, and after forgettable showings at Monza and Mugello, could Leclerc provide the Tifosi with a small crumb of comfort this weekend?

Gasly - can results improve further with pressure off?

Talking of driver-of-the-season candidates, Pierre Gasly has certainly outshone the capability of his AlphaTauri. Already a race winner in Italy this season, his performances have been consistent and exemplary.

Another superlative drive at last weekend's Portuguese GP to finish fifth has left the Frenchman a single point behind Alex Albon, who disposed him of the senior Red Bull drive last season.

Much of the narrative over the past two months has been whether Gasly would be reinstated given his fine form but following confirmation of his AlphaTauri seat for 2021, will we see even better performances with a weight released from his shoulders?

More Haas fallout?

In the build-up to the Portuguese Grand Prix, it was announced that both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen would leave Haas at the end of the season.

What has been surprising is how far Grosjean has gone in opening the floodgates of truth. After openly stating that he has nothing to hide following news of his departure, the Frenchman has branded his car the worst on the grid and has gone into thorough detail as to exactly why that is the case.

After a dire weekend in Portimão, where the duo finished 16th and 17th, it will be interesting to see whether the team have managed to mute Grosjean, or whether the power battle continues as the wounds remain raw.

Who will top the midfield battle?

There are two consistencies in F1 this season. The obvious being Mercedes' dominance of the sport, and the other being the inconsistency of midfield form.

Just when you think Racing Point is the frontrunner for third place in the constructors', McLaren comes along with exceptional speed, or Renault - and Daniel Ricciardo, in particular - suggest they have what it takes.

We know the McLaren is very sensitive to changing conditions across the weekend, whilst the Renault seems to prosper at lower downforce tracks - although this is something the team thinks it is now on top of.

So who will come out on top at Imola?

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Mon 30 Nov

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