After more than 7 months without a race visit, it was really time to be live at the track again. Since the event at the Imola race track is also the first race of the 2022 season in Europe, there was no question that we had to travel to Italy! Although we could already hear the sound of the cars in Barcelona (in front of the entrance to the track), and were lucky enough to meet drivers there as well, a race experience is, of course, a completely different highlight. So, off we went to the small town of Imola for the Imola F1 2022 race!
A Wild Journey Across Europe
The journey to the south of Europe began at 4 am since our plane to Munich was scheduled to take off shortly after 6 am. We were only too happy to leap out of our warm beds, excited about arriving at the Imola race track, even if a little bleary from the early hour. Once we arrived in Munich, we freshened up before heading to the gate. We were already late, so we walked quickly to the boarding area.
Once there, however, the expected flight information display did not await us. After checking the large boards for departures, we realized with panic that the gate had been changed. At breakneck speed, we set off and managed to board the plane at the last second — our names were already being called out!
We used the one-hour flight to recover so that we could land in Bologna with normal pulse rates, immediately buying coffee from the vending machine. Caffeine was provided as well as mobility — a gray Citröen would convey us on our adventure to the Imola F1 2022 race track. Actually, we had expected that this would start right at the arrival terminal since the drivers also had to arrive somewhere. However, this assumption turned out to be wrong. So, after waiting and driving around for a bit, we finally visited a supermarket to supply ourselves with food for the next few days.
As always, we were excited to see the fabulous Italian food on offer but then decided to keep it simple. It was clear to us that we didn’t want to cook in the evenings, as time was at a premium. Arriving at the spacious and warm (God bless it!) apartment, we prepared delicious wraps for the evening tour to Bologna.
According to public tips, there were two hotels in the Medieval city that drivers liked to stay in. However, the result was only wet feet and horrendous prices for highway use and parking. You can't always get what you want!
A Rainy First Day in Bologna
Thankfully, we had better luck the next morning and were able to meet two German compatriots. With umbrella in hand, we bumped into Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher, who was in the throes of signing the Haas cap he’d brought along. After this experience, we made our way to the Imola race track, found a safe parking place, and went about one of our usual pursuits: breakfast in the car. Well fortified, we went to the track, again armed with an umbrella. The rain had already made the area quite muddy — something our white shoes could have done without. Fortunately, though, the Imola F1 2022 event area hadn’t yet descended into complete chaos, so we closed our eyes and plowed through.
Our seats at Acque Minerali Park for Imola race track were well chosen. Quite a few pilots had encountered difficulties because of the wet asphalt, ending up in the gravel or against the guard rail, so action was not in short supply.
For more action we went to the fan zone, which offered less than expected. To protect ourselves from the rain, we positioned ourselves under the Imola race track’s main grandstand. Here we unexpectedly ran into some Formula 1 celebrities, so we couldn't have chosen a better place to protect ourselves from the rain. Here we also met our Mexican fans, who we had become fond of in Barcelona, before the qualification for the Sprintrace pulled us back to the grandstand.
Speaking of pulling, as we made our way back to our car in the evening, a tractor was busy pulling stuck cars out of the muddy parking lots. So the weather had caught up with us again, after all. Luckily, we parked our rental car further away from the Imola race track on a paved road!
A Saturday at the Races
Saturday we started very early to have a chance to meet other riders together with some of the fans. The excitement at Acque Minerali was contagious. We thought we might have a chance to meet our great idol, Lewis Hamilton, leaving us weak-kneed and tongue-tied. But before his conspicuous Mercedes approached, hours passed, so that when the car finally arrived we were back to our senses.
In the driver's seat was none other than Toto Wolff, who took more time than anyone else for the fans. Of course we spoke to him in German and he happily signed the autograph card for our (directly quoting Wolff) "nice granny". This meeting was really the highlight of the whole trip to the Imola race track, compelling us to hug each other and jump for joy.
The weather also put us in a good mood, enabling us to drive to the track, grinning happily. For this day, we had decided to wear Ferrari gear. In the red shirts, we also explored the inner park of the Imola race track and the Ayrton Senna Monument. Here under the trees it was ideal to relax, close our eyes, and compensate for our lack of sleep. With the beginning of the sprint race, we went to our seats and enjoyed the sound of the cars. The sounds and atmosphere always vindicate our motto, “Attending races is our kind of vacation!” This includes (unfortunately) the traffic chaos after the Imola F1 2022. It took us more than 2 hours to drive what usually takes 30 minutes, get home and enjoy dinner.
One Last Day
We had much more fun at the Imola race track the next morning. We started the Sunday race with a family reunion of the Sainz dynasty. We ran into Carlos Senior and Junior, and the older of the two even recognized us. His sly eyes examined us, confirming that he’d already seen us in Austria the previous year. Apparently, that short meeting over 10 months ago had remained in his memory. We also met Pierre Gasly, who was dressed stylishly as always, and he wondered where our Alpha Tauri merch was. Next time, we definitely know what we’ll wear!
After our sunny morning, the clouds returned and as soon as we’d parked our car in the grass at the Imola race track, heavy rain started. Although it stopped after the end of the Drivers Parade, we feared a mess in the parking lots. This time we didn't have the chance to park on solid ground, so we came up with a rescue plan — we would leave the race early to avoid the muddy track. Until then, we enjoyed the day in the grandstand. The spectacle had drawn a crowd, with the majority cheering for Ferrari, of course. As we all know, there was less to celebrate as early as the first lap, when Sainz (who we’d met earlier) lost his car and had to retire.
As planned, we gave up our place early and hurried to our car. It was definitely the right decision to leave the Imola F1 2022 race track early, because we were already sliding down the slope and were barely able to avoid a crash into another car.
Ciao, Bologna — Until Next Time!
Once home, it was time to pack our bags and get everything ready for departure. At 3 am, the alarm clock rang. Fortunately, the streets to the airport were empty, in contrast to the departure hall itself. Obviously, many fans had booked early flights and were waiting, just as tired as we were, for their flights home. We arrived at Munich International without any further incidents and started the washing machine once home.In any case, our trip to the Imola race track for Imola F1 2022 was unforgettable, bringing us closer to Italian life — even though we didn't eat a single pizza!
The new F1 season is nearly here. 2021 F1 testing was reduced from two sessions of three days each, to only one session of three days. With the 2021 regulations receiving only minor tweaks the cars will be minor evolutions from 2020 and teams should be very familiar with their operation. The season’s only test session has freshly concluded and here’s what we saw: