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What you need to know about attending the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula Dev
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Friend of FanAmp, FormulaDev (Devyani), attended the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - here are her top tips from getting to Imola and the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari to track invasion, and all of the on-track action!

Formula One returned to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari aka Imola for Formula 1 MSC Cruises Gran Premio Del Made in Italy E Dell’Emilia Romagna 2024. The historic circuit held the San Marino GP from 1981-2006 and was brought back to the calendar during the 2020 to replace the Chinese GP. This year Imola was significant as it marked the 30th anniversary of the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna and a return to the circuit after the devastating floods that hit the Emilia Romagna region last year resulting in the cancellation of the Grand Prix. 

You can find me on Tiktok and Instagram at formula_dev!

Arriving to the Region

Traveling to Italy

There are a plethora of options available in terms of airports to fly to and modes of transportation to take. I flew into Milan Malpensa airport and rented a car because that was the most affordable airfare option, and I didn’t want adhere to train schedules (or lug two bags up and down the platform stairs at said train stations). Other airport options include Milan Linate and Bologna which are a respective two hour and one hour train ride away from Imola. 

Where to stay

Since Imola is a small town, the accommodation options fill up quickly. I found a studio apartment to stay in that was about a 12 minute walk from the train station in Bologna. I chose Bologna because it was the shortest train ride to Imola at about 25 minutes. The other primary options for accommodation were Ravenna and Rimini which were both about an hour long train ride away from Imola. 

Activities in the region

I arrived in Milan the Tuesday of race week, drove to Monza and Parma, and did a bunch of the tourist activities from my “home base” of Bologna. I was, unrelatedly, on a wild goose chase for Charles Leclerc’s LEC ice cream which I would not find until the tail end of my trip. If I had a dollar for the amount of Italian grocery stores I went to and the amount of roundabouts I’ve driven, I’d be able to attend every grand prix.

On my way to Bologna, I stopped first in Monza. The plan was to do a track tour, but unfortunately the tour dates ended up being canceled and I settled for exploring the park and visiting a few gift shops. You’ll discover I have a passion for wreaking havoc (buying things I don’t need but deeply desire) in gift shops. Parma was a gastronomic destination for me so I visited a museum, had delightful cheese, and bought eccentric jams. My final destination en route to Bologna was the Lamborghini Museum.

Ferrari Factory Historic Entrance (Left), Gestione Sportiva (Right)
Ferrari Factory Historic Entrance (Left), Gestione Sportiva (Right)

On Thursday, I took a day trip to Maranello and Modena to soak up some Ferrari history, and it was worth it. Simply walking around near the historic Ferrari sign and passing the Gestione Sportiva was enough to get the fangirl in me going. I had lunch at Ristorante Montana which is filled to the brim with memorabilia and photos of Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, and Sebastian Vettel’s visits to the establishment. The Ferrari Museum takes you down memory lane of both Ferrari road cars and racing cars. And if you’re a memorabilia person like me, there’s plenty of gift shops to sift through for model cars, helmets, postcards, books, posters, and anything else your mind can dream up. From Maranello I headed to Modena to visit the Enzo Ferrari Museum.

Fiorano on a Cloudy Day
Fiorano on a Cloudy Day

@formula_dev two observations - the track suit uniforms were very on brand and charles isn’t on the wall w mama rosella but never fear it’ll happen when he gets his first wdc #f1 #scuderiaferrari #maranello #charlesleclerc #sebastianvettel #f1content #f1fans ♬ original sound - Devyani

How do you get to Imola and the circuit?

Your best bet for getting to Imola is the train. It’s quick and efficient while allowing you to avoid the hassle of driving and parking. While doing research prior to my trip, I saw chatter about potential train strikes. Everyone I asked said that the trains would still run, and if anything there would be reduced service. I was a little stressed, but I had my rental car and had looked into parking at the circuit just in case. 

I purchased a three day train pass in advance for about €29, so that I could hop on to any train. I didn’t see many long lines for those purchasing tickets on the same day as travel. No conductor at any point throughout the weekend asked for my ticket. From the Imola train station, the track is about a 30 minute walk. There are buses that’ll get you closer, but it’s a nice walk and there’s plenty of people doing it with you! 

What is the atmosphere at Imola like?

The atmosphere at Imola was incredible. And being one of their home races and so close to Maranello, the environment is Ferrari heavy. There are flags, banners, fan clubs, songs, and chants. The emotion of the Tifosi is palpable - you can feel their passion, their loyalty, and their dedication to the prancing horse. I haven’t experienced anything like it at the other races I’ve attended.

Fans at Imola
Fans at Imola

The fanzone schedule was available on the circuit’s social media pages. There were musical performances on Saturday by R3sto and Twin Violins after track activities concluded and there was a DJ to keep the crowd entertained at the Fanzone between driver appearances. Just outside the fanzone there was the typical sim racing setup, a Qatar Airways activation, an Imola merchandise stand, and a Ferrari merchandise booth. On a more somber note, you can also find the Ayrton Senna monument adorned with flags and tributes. 

Imola Fanzone Activities
Imola Fanzone Activities

Imola does have water stations located around the track and they do have cold water. Sometimes the lines can be long, so bottled water is €1.50. The bathrooms are hit or miss, and your experience might depend on how far you’re willing to walk. The forecast said it was going to rain, but instead the sun was out in full force. Sunscreen, hats, and portable mini-fans were my lifesavers.

Overall track tips

  1. There is cold water to refill your bottles, so bring something to refill!
  2. Bathrooms are not very easy to find, so make sure you look for one near your grandstand before you sit
  3. Sunscreen, hats, and portable fans are a must!
  4. Don't miss the Fanzone activities- but show up very early if you want to enjoy it without lines

What was the Friday experience at Imola?

Activities before the track

Before getting to the track on Friday, I headed to see the Porticoes, a UNESCO world Heritage sight as well as the Sanctuary of San Luca. It had a spectacular view. From here I headed to Bologna Centrale and handed my car over to a parking garage. The train platform was well-labeled and easy to find. I mean, when in doubt, follow the Ferrari merch. This train ride was the least crowded of the weekend. 

Getting to the circuit entrance

Once you reach Imola, it’s about a 30-minute straight shot walk through the town to get to the circuit. There is also a bus option from the train station that gets you closer to the circuit. I decided to walk. I entered from Ingresso Dante where security was rapid. Tragically they took my protein bars, but this seemed to be a me problem as I had friends who brought in all kinds of snacks. 

Seating options at Imola

Once I was inside the circuit, I made my way to Rivazza 1 which was my home for the weekend. It’s not exactly a grandstand, but it’s not general admission either. It’s a giant hill and the seats are built into it. My seats were in Row 33 which was a trek to get to. The stairs would not meet any kind of code - they were wooden, rickety, and not all the same height. It was definitely not the most accessible seating the circuit had to offer, but it served my purpose. And because of the elevation, the views were spectacular. I could see from Rivazza to the start/finish straight.

Rivazza 1 - Row 33 View
Rivazza 1 - Row 33 View

There were enough empty seats on Friday to try different seats and see what the different views were like. I watched F2 Practice and then headed out to adventure. On the first day I like to explore the track, get the lay of the land, and see what the different food options are. The food was reasonably priced and there were some options for those with dietary restrictions.

Some Food Options Near the Fanzone
Some Food Options Near the Fanzone

After grabbing some lunch I headed back to my seat to watch F1 Free Practice 1, F3 Qualifying, F2 Qualifying, F1 Free Practice 2. Seeing the cars on track is a euphoric feeling for me. It’s hard to explain but simply basking in their sound dampens all my worries in life for a few hours. It’s also a reminder of how intense even the most low-impact crashes can be. Alonso put it into the wall in my line of sight and I could feel the vibrations. 

I stuck around for the Porsche Supercup session to let the crowds leave and take some photos at Rivazza. I exited the track from Ingresso Rivazza which made my walk longer than it needed to by having me walk around the train station and enter from the back.

@formula_dev this is short bc i have OBSERVATIONS so anotjer vid coming shortly bc i love imola #f1 #imolagp #emiliaromagna #scuderiaferrari #charlesleclerc #f1content ♬ Bbl Drizzy - TokenAngel

Friday at Imola Pro-Tips

  1. Explore the track, activations, and different food stalls on Friday when the circuit is the least crowded.
  2. Check the map to see which entrance between Ingresso Danta, Ingresso Rivazza, or Ingresso Tosa makes most sense for you/ where you're sitting.
    1. Train station leads to Ingresso Dante first, so keep walking for other entrances

What was the Saturday experience at Imola?

Arriving early to see Charles and Carlos at the Ferrari Fanzone

Fan Signs at the Fanzone stage and around Imola
Fan Signs at the Fanzone stage and around Imola

I headed to track bright and early on Saturday because I wanted to see what the fanzone environment would be like for the Ferrari drivers. The train was way more crowded than the day before but I was still able to find a seat. I power walked my way through town and was at the fanzone where the DJ set of Jerry and Matix was keeping the crowd hyped. This fanzone went by pretty quickly with appearances from Haas, Ferrari, Alpine, Red Bull, and Mercedes happening within an hour. The infamous Leclerc, Hamilton, and Vasseur poster with religious iconography was mere meters from me. While the drivers were speaking, the sun was blazing and I was completely overheating.

Saturday Sessions and Food

So my next stop was the restaurant Doppio Malto where there was inside seating, air conditioning, and clean bathrooms. I refueled with a burger and made a beeline back to Rivazza for F1 Free Practice 3, F2 Sprint Race, and F1 Qualifying. F2 was chaos as usual with an incident at the start taking out five cars immediately. 

Rivazza 1 - Row 33 View
Rivazza 1 - Row 33 View

Qualifying is my favorite part when attending a race in person because you can feel the speed and the lack of knowledge that comes from not having six apps open feels less important. I was also in awe of the Ferrari fan clubs and their dedication to waving flags because some of those flags are enormous. The best part is seeing that passion and love be transferred to the next generation in real time with a kid repeatedly asking his dad if he could wave the flag (which, mind you, was larger than his entire being). 

Leaving the circuit

On my way back to the train station, I stopped at one of the town squares where there were DJs, little bar stands, and food trucks. While sipping on a spritz and perusing social media, I had a huge freak out. I stumbled across some photos of Sebastian Vettel on track and I thought I had missed his show run in Senna’s MP4/8 (I hadn’t).

Bologna Zombie Parade
Bologna Zombie Parade

This train ride back was a little less comfortable. The platform was full of herds of people, there was pushing and shoving, and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Nevertheless, it got me back to Bologna where I went out to explore, grab some dinner, and encounter zombies. 

@formula_dev i think i love Imola. Hoping it eventually gets renewed bc atmosphere is FUN #f1 #imolagp #emiliaromagnagp #scuderiaferrari #charlesleclerc #lewishamilton #f1fans #f1content ♬ Bbl Drizzy - TokenAngel

Saturday at Imola Pro-Tips

  1. If you're going to the Fanzone stage, be prepared for massive crowds - it was very hot and uncomfortable.
  2. There are restaurants at the circuit with AC and indoor seating!
  3. If you're sitting at Rivazza, elevation is key - the higher up you are, the more expansive your view is.

What was the Sunday experience at Imola?

Getting to the track on Race Day

I had the routine down by Sunday: walk to Bologna Centrale, run to the train, walk through Imola, breeze through security, enter the circuit, and book it to Rivazza. The line for security, as expected, was tremendously long. It wasn’t the length that was the problem, as security itself was moving at a good pace. The issue was crowd control and letting people join a line anywhere they’d like, but I made it in after an hour and change. I’d completely missed the F3 Feature race, but made it just in time for F2. I loved that the crowd’s passion for Ferrari and F1 trickled down to Prema and F2 as well. 

Watching the race from Rivazza

Fan Vibes in Rivazza
Fan Vibes in Rivazza

And then the main event occurred: Sebastian Vettel was on track. I’m kidding, but the way he brought out the Brazilian and Austrian flags while driving to honor both drivers who’d lost their lives was special. Shortly after, it was lights out and the race was happening. Those 63 laps went by so quickly, I barely blinked! And because it’s hard to know what’s going on during the race at the track, I didn’t even think twice about Lando Norris being close to Max Vertappen. But as the great Murray Walker said, “catching is one thing, but passing is another.” Verstappen may have won, but the Tifosi were still beaming with joy about Leclerc’s podium. 

Fan Vibes at Rivazza
Fan Vibes at Rivazza

Imola Track Invasion

Track Invasion and Imola Outfit!
Track Invasion and Imola Outfit!

This was my first track invasion experience, and I wish I would have waited a little longer before going in. If you’re unfamiliar, a track invasion is a tradition where fans will rush onto the track after the race to celebrate and see the podium. A little before Verstappen took the chequered flag, I made my way to the one track entrance near the podium. It was a swarm of people rushing to the podium, and a small mosh pit was beginning to form. If you’re claustrophobic or aren’t dying to see the podium, I’d recommend waiting until after the podium ceremony to come into track. You could see the pitlane, people in their garages, and I loved it!

Enjoying Imola after the Race

After the race, I grabbed some food and drinks at one of the town squares in Imola. The atmosphere was exhilarating, the sun was shining, and I was overjoyed at how my Imola experience had panned out. I made my way to the train station, but it was blocked off by the police. There were tons of people waiting outside and a lot of confusion. I was about to enter panic mode because rideshares were daylight robberies, the bus situation seemed complicated, and I had places to be the next day. I remembered the back entrance that I’d taken on Friday, and it was completely empty. 

@formula_dev imola I adore you - your passion, you love, Your soul crushing devotion. more trains maybe might help idk #f1 #scuderiaferrari #charlesleclerc #imolagp #emiliaromagna #f1fans ♬ original sound - Devyani

Sunday at Imola Pro-Tips

  1. Give yourself at least an hour of cushion time on race day because everything takes much longer.
  2. Participate in the track invasion!
  3. Stay in Imola for a bit after the race to avoid the crowd rush to the train.

Make sure to check out Devyani on Tiktok and Instagram at formula_dev!

If you want to learn more about Imola check out our other articles!

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