Why Is The Race At Imola No Longer Called The San Marino Grand Prix? – WTF1
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Why Is The Race At Imola No Longer Called The San Marino Grand Prix?

When the famous Imola circuit returned to the F1 calendar in 2020, many were surprised to learn that it didn’t retain the same title as previous years – the San Marino Grand Prix. Instead, it had a new name, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Why doesn’t the race have the ‘San Marino’ title anymore?

Before we start, time for a quick history lesson. Apart from its inaugural race in 1980, and the post-2020 races, the F1 race at Imola has always been known as the San Marino Grand Prix.

For its first race, it was known as the Italian Grand Prix as it replaced Monza. However, F1 returned to the track the following year, so forced the name to change.

The name comes from a nearby country, the Republic of San Marino. It’s about 75 kilometres away from Imola, but with an “Italian Grand Prix” already on the calendar thanks to Monza, they needed to take inspiration from elsewhere.

Imola was keen to remain on the F1 calendar after their first event in 1980 and asked the Automobile Club of San Marino to apply for their own Grand Prix that Imola would host. It was approved, and the San Marino Grand Prix was born.

The circuit bid farewell to F1 in 2006, with many unsure if it would return. However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of so many races, F1 was forced to return to the FIA Grade One listed venue.

So, why did the name change?

Imola – or the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari to give it its full name – is located in the Italian region Emilia Romagna. Locals are so proud to see F1 back; they wanted to shout about their region.

“Seeing Ferrari and the other cars racing on the Imola circuit will be a profound emotion,” Stefano Bonaccini, the Emilia-Romagna Region president, said in 2020.

“Imola has always been a natural venue for F1, and we’ve chosen to name the Grand Prix at Emilia-Romagna, in homage to our region, the land of motors par excellence.”

Do you miss the old San Marino GP name? Let us know in the comments.

13 thoughts on “Why Is The Race At Imola No Longer Called The San Marino Grand Prix?

    • Well… San Marino has no tracks that match the international safety standards and Imola’s circuit is 100% in Italy. Where are you from? UK perhaps? Well would you like to see a circuit in Southampton named as the Ireland GP? Probably not… Imola and Italy gifted San Marino with some notoriety for many years… now the time is over!

      • James Haslett says:

        I get that, but GPs should be named after a country. I’m not sure what track you are thinking of in Southampton but calling such a race ‘Hampshire Grand Prix’ would be stupid. There used to be a British GP at Aintree (Silverstone wasn’t used those years); if they resurrected that track somehow and held an ‘Irish Grand Prix’ there, I (and plenty of Liverpudlians!) would be quite happy because there’s already a British Grand Prix. We even had extra races at Donington just to call it European Grand Prix’ – so where were all the other European races held then? Also Europe! It’s silly having two races in UK or Germany just to call one of them ‘European Grand Prix’. It’s silly having two races in the USA. It’s silly having a ‘Pacific Grand Prix’ or a ‘Pescara Grand Prix’. And therefore it’s silly calling a race ‘Emilia Romagna’ just as it would be if we brought back Brands Hatch and called it ‘Kent Grand Prix’. It’s a WORLD championship so in my book every race should be named after a different country.

  • Emilia Romagna is also the region where (to name a bunch of them) Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Dallara, Pagani and Ducati are all based.

  • Emilia Romagna is also the region where Ferrari, Lamborghini, Dallara, Maserati, Pagani and Ducati are all based.

  • Paul Hamilton says:

    I miss the old track. Of course the death of Senna was going to have an impact, but you can hardly recognize the place any more.

    • I say the same thing about Hockenheim. The old track was a spectacular race. Unfortunately it can’t be made to meet modern safety standards for cost reasons. Yet somehow Circuit de la Sarthe is safe enough to run cars for 24 hours at similar speeds.

      • Paul Hamilton says:

        +1 on Hockenheim. It must have been a great challenge for the engineers to come up with a setup that worked for both the stadium and open sections. And of course the old track had actual overtaking opportunities.

  • The Real Saxon says:

    They want to distant themselves fromF1 black weekend that will always be associated with San Marino GP

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