The Tifosi will be out in full force.
Three races down, and Ferrari is currently dominating Formula 1 this season.
Charles Leclerc is two full victories ahead of anyone else on the grid, but the team itself is 39 points ahead of Mercedes in second place. We haven't seen this kind of dominance since the start of the hybrid era when Mercedes-Benz just leapfrogged ahead of the pack and maintained that lead from 2014 to 2021.
We have some bad news if you're a fan of any other team on the grid. Scuderia Ferrari is heading to one of two home races this season. The bleachers will be a sea of red, and the parking lots will be full of cars like the Ferrari Roma, F8 Tributo, and SF90 Stradale. Losing on home ground is not an option for the Rosso Team, as the Tifosi will be out in full force.
This upcoming weekend they'll be racing in the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, more commonly known as Imola. The track is both loved and feared by drivers. Many drivers call it their favorite track, but it's also notorious for nearly killing a young Rubens Barrichello in 1994. That same weekend, it eventually killed both Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.
Following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna, Imola was changed for the 1995 season.
As you can see from the graphic below, there is a kink in the track between turns eight and four. This used to be one long flat-out corner known as Tamburello. That's where a few notable crashes, including the two deaths, happened. We can only imagine the psychological toll this takes on any driver, knowing what happened right there after the long straight leading to the first corner.
Imola is currently just over three miles long and the race will consist of 63 laps. It's a relatively short circuit raced at high speed. The current lap record of 1:15.484 was set in 2020 and is held by the seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
It's the first Sprint Race of the 2022 season, followed by Austria and Brazil later in the year. Though teams aren't big fans of sprint races replacing qualifying, it is more fun for the people watching live and at home. It's more racing, and that's always a good thing.
Instead of three qualifying sessions on a Saturday with the fastest time starting in the front on Sunday, there will be only one practice session on Friday followed by a qualifying session. This qualifying will determine the starting order of the sprint.
In addition to determining the starting order of the actual race on Sunday, the drivers now have more reason to push harder during the Saturday Sprint. The top eight positions are now awarded points. Last year, only the top three drivers received points. In a year where everyone is trying to play catch-up with Ferrari, they'll take whatever points they can.
Valtteri Bottas is particularly good at sprint races, taking the victory at two out of the three races. Can he do the same in an Alfa Romeo, however?
Max Verstappen has managed to accumulate 25 points over the course of three races. His points are from one victory in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In the other two races, he did not finish. He must be highly agitated at this point because he was within spitting distance of scoring at least 18 points by finishing second, only to have his car blow up spectacularly. Combined, both vehicles have three finishes from six starts. Going by the math alone, there's a 50% chance he may not even finish the first Italian Grand Prix.
Not a great position if you're the defending world champion. According to Red Bull boss Christian Horner, both problems were related to the fuel system. To get back to a position where he can defend his title, he needs to win at least twice with Leclerc finishing tenth or lower. That seems highly unlikely at this point.
And with Red Bull burning through cash and car parts, it won't be long before the FIA starts giving out grid penalties.
Red Bull is not in a great position at all, though its historic rival, Mercedes-Benz, is at least being consistent.
McLaren is famously running a Chrome livery on its wheels this season, so you can only imagine the jokes from Apple fanboys. To be fair, at the beginning of the season, it looked like the two McLarens were running on Windows 95.
The team's performance increased in the second race, and Australia was the highlight of the season so far. Lando Norris must be relieved, as he recently signed a massive multi-year contract.
In the last race, both cars finished in the top six. Not bad considering they were competing with Aston Martin and Williams at the back two races ago.
The big question is whether Australia was a fluke. We don't think so, as the improvement has been steady.
Let's hope the papaya team is at least competitive this weekend.