Imola circuit to host final round of 2011 GP2 Asia Series

The series will return to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari from 18-20 March

By Gareth Llewellyn
Imola circuit
The Imola circuit in Italy has not held an F1 race since 2006 Photo: via Wikipedia - KaragouniS

Imola circuit

The final round of the GP2 Asia Series will now take place at Imola following the cancellation of rounds two and three in Bahrain.

The event will take place from 18-20 March and will mark the first time the Series has returned to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari since 2006.

The former host of the San Marino Grand Prix has not held a Formula 1 race since 2006, but has undergone significant redevelopment, and now holds a “1T” track rating, allowing it to host F1 tests, but not F1 races.

Imola holds a legendary status among former F1 circuits, perhaps infamously for being a dangerous circuit, which in one weekend in 1994 saw Rubens Barrichello launched from a kerb and knocked unconscious after colliding with a tyre barrier, before the tragic deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and three-time world champion Ayrton Senna.

The circuit also has an important history in GP2, with the first ever Series race taking place at Imola in April 2005 which saw Heikki Kovalainen win the feature race for Arden International.

GP2 Series CEO Bruno Michel said: “I know that it is quite peculiar to have Imola added to the GP2 Asia calendar, but the special circumstances had us try and find the best solution for our teams, drivers and fans.

“It was important for everyone to have one last round, and with the tests in Europe starting soon and the logistical requirements, we had to find a European venue.”

The teams have managed to recover their freight from the troubled island of Bahrain to their European bases, and are now preparing for the final stand-alone races to determine the Series champions.

“We had to be quick and think on our feet and we are happy to return to Imola,” added Michel. “The new layout and infrastructures make it the perfect place to host the final round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series.”

The race weekend will follow the traditional GP2 Series schedule with qualifying taking place on the Friday ahead of the feature race on Saturday, and the sprint race on Sunday.

However, an additional practice session will take place to allow teams and drivers to get used to the circuit.

ART’s Jules Bianchi currently leads the GP2 Asia Series standings with 12 points, ahead of iSport’s Romain Grosjean with 10, and Team AirAsia’s Davide Valsecchi and DAMS’ Marcus Ericsson with nine.

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