Imola, it's not just home to Ferrari | Pirelli

Imola, it's not just home to Ferrari


English is undoubtedly the most spoken language in Formula 1, but Italian is a close second. Not only do many Italians work in motorsport's blue riband category, for example, Stefano Domenicali is at the top of the tree as the CEO of the company that runs the sport, but also there are two teams based in Italy, Scuderia Ferrari and Racing Bulls

Both organisations were established and are still based a few dozen kilometres from Imola, so that they can both claim the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, which this weekend hosts the seventh round of the Formula 1 season, as their home track. To be more precise, 89 kilometres separate the circuit built alongside the right bank of the Santerno river and Maranello, the city where the Ferrari road and race cars are built. There are a mere 14 kilometres between the paddock entrance and Via della Boaria 229 in Faenza, home to the team that this year has changed its look and name, but still has a strong Italian identity.


Much of the team's technical operation is still based here, even if synergies with the mother company in Milton Keynes are definitely on the increase, especially when it comes to aerodynamics. In fact, these racers can trace their heritage back to the Minardi team, based in the same location in Faenza, in the Romagna region, but not far from the border with Emilia, home to the Imola circuit and Scuderia Ferrari. In 2006 it morphed into Scuderia Toro Rosso, then AlphaTauri and today Racing Bulls, as the team has grown and adopted different guises over the years. In fact, the team once regarded as the Cinderella of the Formula 1 world has ambitions that go far beyond just attending the Ball. It now wants to take on a more important role, heading the midfield that is out to rob points off the top five made up of Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin. 

So far this season, they are doing an excellent job of meeting their goals, led by Team Principal Laurent Mekies, pretty much an adopted Italian these days, as he already worked for the team in its Toro Rosso era and then returned to the area, spending six years in senior management roles for Scuderia Ferrari. And with Racing Bulls CEO Peter Bayer alongside him, the team is a solid sixth in the Constructors' classification on 19 points, 12 ahead of Haas, the American team whose chassis are actually built in Italy at Dallara's Parma factory, with some of the car design and aerodynamic work carried out at Maranello, not forgetting its Ferrari power unit.


As for the Racing Bulls drivers, Daniel Ricciardo's name attests to his Italian roots, his father Joe whose family hails from Sicily, moved to Australia at the age of seven, while his mother Grace's family were from Calabria. Both moved to Australia in the Fifties. As for Yuki Tsunoda, while very much Japanese, he has lived in Faenza for a few years now and really found a place in the heart of the local community when he took to the streets of the city to help with the massive clean-up operation following the floods that led to last year's Imola Grand Prix being cancelled: an honorary Italian if ever there was one!