San Marino Grand Prix
|San Marino Grand Prix|
|Circuit||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari|
|Circuit length km||4.959|
|Circuit length mi|
|Race length km||307.221|
|Race length mi|
|Most wins driver||Michael Schumacher (7)|
|Most wins constructor|| Williams (8) |
|Pole driver||Michael Schumacher|
|Fastest lap driver||Fernando Alonso|
|Fastest lap team||Renault|
The San Marino Grand Prix was a Formula One championship race which was run at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in the town of Imola, near the Apennine mountains in Italy, between 1981 and 2006. It is called the San Marino Grand Prix because there is already an Italian Grand Prix, and the republic of San Marino is itself too small to host a grand prix. In 1980, the Imola track was used for the 51st Italian Grand Prix.
The area around Imola is home to several racing car manufacturers - namely Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Following the Second World War, the town launched a program to try to improve the local economy. Four local motor racing enthusiasts proposed the construction of a new road linking existing public roads, which could be used by the local car manufacturers to test their prototypes. Construction began in March 1950. The first test run took place two years later when Enzo Ferrari sent a car to the track.
In April 1953, the first motorcycle races took place at Imola, and the first car race took place in June 1954. In April 1963, the first race with Formula One cars took place at Imola, as a non-championship event, won by Jim Clark for Lotus. A further non-championship event took place at Imola in 1979, which was won by Niki Lauda for Brabham-Alfa Romeo.
In 1980, the Italian Grand Prix moved from the high-speed Monza circuit to Imola, as a direct result of 1978's startline pile-up, which claimed the life of the popular Swedish driver Ronnie Peterson. It was won by Nelson Piquet for Brabham-Ford. The following year, the Italian Grand Prix returned to Monza, and Imola hosted the newly-launched San Marino Grand Prix, named after the nearby republic of San Marino.
In 1994, there were three serious accidents at Imola. During Friday Practice, Rubens Barrichello crashed hard into the fence at the Variante Bassa in which he decelerated violently and was knocked unconscious for a few minutes. There was also the death of Roland Ratzenberger at the Villeneuve Corner in the Saturday qualifying session, and the death of Ayrton Senna during the race itself at the 6th-gear Tamburello Corner. As a result, for the 1995 race, the Tamburello and Villeneuve corners were altered from flat-out sweeping bends into slower chicanes, and the Variante Bassa was straightened. It was also the catalyst to changes being made to other circuits, and the sport as a whole, in an attempt to make it safer.
In recent years, constructors have complained about the poor quality of the facilities at Imola, and there was much talk of dropping the San Marino Grand Prix from the Formula One championship, especially since there is another grand prix being held in Italy. On 29 August 2006, the race was excluded from the calendar released for the 2007 season.
Winners of the San Marino Grand Prix
- Roland Ratzenberger, died in a crash at Villeneuve Corner during qualifying for the 1994 grand prix.
- Ayrton Senna, died in a crash at Tamburello while leading the race on May 1, 1994.
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