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Imola GP Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1

Imola GP: Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1

15/05/2024

At Imola, Tsunoda revisits past flood scenes, blending personal heroics with RB F1’s high stakes.

Daniel Ricciardo, despite struggling in both qualifying and the race, excelled in the sprint in the USA, in Miami, finishing in 4th place.

Will Miami remain an exception, or the race that kick-starts the Australian’s season? This weekend’s Grand Prix at Imola will provide answers.

Imola GP Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1

At the moment, how does Daniel feel after his rollercoaster weekend?

“Obviously, it’s a home race for the team, so the week is a bit busier, but it’s good; it’s nice to go to the factory, to see the team and to see how things are progressing. We’re always traveling around the world and don’t have much time to meet all the employees, so when we do, it’s good to give some hugs to the team, a bit of love.”

“It’s the first European race of the year. It’s a very familiar race for us, we’re going back to the Energy Station (the motorhome of the two Red Bull teams) and a familiar environment.”

“Imola is fun and challenging, very fast and quite narrow, with high-speed chicanes, and a qualifying lap is very enjoyable. It’s really on the edge with bumps in the chicane where you really smash the curbs. The race is tricky, so qualifying is important.”

“Overtaking, although possible, is more difficult on this kind of old-style circuit. It can create a challenging environment when you’re trying to be aggressive and overtake, but it’s a challenge we all rise to and try to enjoy. We haven’t raced on this circuit for a few years, so it’s going to be good. I really loved my first experience in 2020; it was a very enjoyable circuit to drive and a great experience, so I’m looking forward to going back.”

Brilliant in the race in Florida, Yuki Tsunoda, who fairly dominated George Russell in Miami, can he again achieve a top 7 or 8 this weekend at Imola and confirm all his good form?

The Japanese driver also recalls helping, last year, the locals deal with record-breaking floods (Yuki Tsunoda lived not far from Imola).

Imola GP Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1

“I’m very excited and it’s one of the circuits I have driven a lot in the past. It’s another home circuit, my second one. Unfortunately, we couldn’t race there last year because of the floods, so I’m very excited. The floods had a significant impact, there was mud everywhere and people lost everything: their homes with everything in them, their possessions, and their memories, their photos. It was impressive to see how people helped each other. Those who were not affected went around town with shovels and baskets asking if they could help people they didn’t even know. My house wasn’t affected, but I couldn’t just stand by and watch others help, so I took my shovel and went to the downtown area, which was massively affected, and started cleaning the streets.”

“We will always remember the flood and how the town recovered. The region recovered much faster than I thought and is now looking forward. Imola is back this year, 15 km from my home. It’s weird, because it’s exactly the same routine as when I spend time in Faenza. I feel like I’m living a normal day, with a breakfast I prepare myself, with yogurt and fruit, and my cappuccino from my coffee machine. I only have a 20-minute drive and I’m in my racing suit, ready to jump into the car. In the evening, I go home and have dinner normally. But in fact, it’s a race week.”

“The circuit itself appeals to me a lot. It is very technical, with many medium and high-speed corners and high-speed chicanes, a bit like Suzuka, but slightly narrower. It’s always enjoyable to drive and I have many good memories there. I’m looking forward to going back and seeing especially our grandstands filled with people who work so hard at the factory—to let me drive a fast car. We can finally race in front of the factory people, alongside those who support us, and I hope the team can achieve a good result in front of them!”

Alan Permane, the sporting director, gave a more technical update on the demands of the Italian autodrome.

“This is a very special race because Imola is only 15 km from our base in Faenza. It’s really our home circuit and we will have the pleasure of seeing many members of our factory team in the stands over the weekend.”

“The circuit features very high-speed directional changes, numerous elevation changes, and tricky curbs to master. Therefore, it is necessary to find a compromise between a stiff car for high speeds and some flexibility for handling the curbs.”

“Pirelli is providing the softest tires in its range, which are a bit softer than those used here in the past. We aim to maximize mileage with both drivers on Friday to optimize performance in qualifying and the race.”

Imola GP Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1

Imola GP: Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1. Imola GP: Emotional Return Amidst Flood Memories for RB F1

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