September 14, 1980: Imola hosts the Italian Grand Prix – HISTORY

Since the establishment of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1950Italy has always been the only country – along with Great Britain – that has remained on the calendars for all 73 seasons of that year to this day. Therefore Italian Grand Prix It represents a real historical event not only for the automobile culture of Bel Paese, but also for the entire circus. Moreover, in more than seven decades of competitions, the place of competitions has always beenMonza National CircuitCradle of Ferrari supporters and Temple of Speed at all. Always, so, or almost.

In only one case, in fact, was the Brianza route not taken into account for hosting the Formula 1 World Championship. 1980the season in which the Italian GP was still included in the championship tests, but on another track that ‘turned’ Emilia Romagna’s passion for motors: Imolaon a racetrack that was then known as “Dino Ferrari”, Son drake He died in 1956 of a serious illness.

To understand the reasons for this “departure from the norm”, it is necessary to go back to 1975, the year when it was first hypothesized that the Imola track would be used as a replacement for Monza. In fact, this did not happen either on the occasion of that world championship or in the immediately following tournaments, even with the constant risk of failure of negotiations between the two countries. the municipalities of Milan, Monza and SIAS, The company responsible for managing the racetrack. The agreement, which expired in 1978, was renewed for the following season, also as a direct result of a dispute between and ACI and Bernie Ecclestone. The latter, at the time chief of FOCA, reached an official handshake with ACI in Bologna to include Imola as the new home of the 1979 Italian Grand Prix, thus eliminating Monza. The signature was immediately challenged by the Italian Automobile Club, which asserted that only the body had the right to terminate this type of negotiation. Thus, after long disagreements, a final peace was made: Monza was confirmed as the race site in 1979, while the event organization for 1980 was assigned to Imola.

With this official status, the Imola factory was redeveloped in light of the race weekend, which was also attended by Enzo Ferrari. For him, as well as for fans of Ferrari faith, 1980 was one of the most disappointing years in red history, if not the most disappointing ever. not by chance, Gilles Villeneuve He did not go beyond eighth place in the qualifying competition dominated by Renault Jean-Pierre Jaboe and Rene Arnault, the last author of the pole position. However, in addition to the fact that Imola became the home of the Italian race for the first and only time, it also entered history for other reasons.

the first was scary accident Who saw Villeneuve as the protagonist, who lost control of his car in the almost curve that precedes the brake Shot. Despite the violent impact, the Canadian got out of his car happily unharmed. Then, with the changes made to the path layout, a variant was made at the same point where a file was createdpilotknown today specifically as Villeneuve’s alternative Just in memory of that episode. The race finally saw Brabham’s success Nelson Piquetbut the podium completed by Alan Jones and Carlos Reitman allowed a span of Williams To be able to win an account The first global title for creators from its history. After that weekend Monza permanently returned as the home of the Italian Grand Prix from 1981, while the San Marino GP organization was set to Imola from that year until 2006, then back from 2020 as the home of the Emilia GP. Romagna.

FP | Alessandro Prada

All rights reserved