2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Betting Preview – JP

by | May 16, 2024

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Betting Preview

Now, it is time for James Punt’s 2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Betting Preview.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Preview

This will be just the fourth Emilia-Romagna GP, but the famous, or infamous, Imola track was built in 1952 and hosted its first F1 race in 1963. It was on the calendar on a regular basis as the host of the San Marino GP before dropping off in 2006. It returned in 2020, but last year’s race was cancelled due to serious flooding in the area.

Of the three Emilia-Romagna GPs, the first was won by Lewis Hamilton, the last two by Max Verstappen.

Old School Track

The track is a bit of an old school classic and far removed from the race around the car park of Miami. It is a fast track with nineteen corners, including four chicanes which can give rise to some ambitious overtakes and collisions. It is a proper racetrack and very popular with the drivers.

Rain has been a feature in two of the last three races, and of course, last year’s was a total washout. The pole position driver has won just one of the three races and the attrition rate averages out at 3.33, with a high of five and low of two in 2022.

It is a fast track, but not altogether flowing due the chicanes and a couple of 90 degree left handers at the end of the lap. Getting your braking right is important and more so in the wet.

Back In Europe

This weekend is the first European race of the season and that means we will see a lot of upgrades being brought by most teams. McLaren went early with their big upgrade and they should be able to fine tune it after the data gathered in Miami.

On a ‘normal’ racetrack, with better tarmac and with three practice sessions, the other teams will have plenty of time to get the data and have time to find a good set up, so long as it all works.

As a result, the pecking order may change. It will be especially important to pay attention to every session to help predict who is going to get a good result on Sunday.


Red Bull 

Another defeat for Red Bull in Miami means a lot of people are getting excited about the prospect of a more open season. I’m not one of them, at least not yet.

The Miami circuit is a bit of an outlier. The track surface is just a bit strange and the Red Bull was just not quite comfortable on it. It happens. There are a few tracks on which Red Bull are beatable, and that was one.

Verstappen still managed to get pole position and was winning the race when things got away from him. He hit the bollard in the mickey mouse section of corners and that caused some damage to his underfloor, the big performance generator.

The yellow flag then fell at a very good moment for Lando Norris. That was compounded by the safety car picking up Verstappen as the lead car, when in fact it was Norris. Everything fell into the lap of Norris and he took advantage, but it was a weekend when things went against Verstappen as much as they went well for Norris.

Upgrade Coming

Red Bull will have a substantial upgrade this weekend, most teams will, and back on a proper, purpose built circuit, I expect Red Bull to fly.

Verstappen will be going for a hattrick of Imola wins, his sixth pole of 2024 in a row and his fifth win of 2024. Perez finished second in 2022 and he should be at least contending for another podium.

Red Bull will have an upgrade for this weekend and they expect it to deliver a good increase in performance.


The first of two home races for Ferrari, and this really is their home race. Monza may host the Italian GP, but Imola is a local track in terms of where Ferrari are based.

Ferrari had some updates on the car in Miami, but this race is where their first big upgrade lands. They took the chance to have a ‘filming day’ last week, just to give it all a bit of a shakedown at their own test track. They should be ready to hit the track running.

Ferrari haven’t really impressed much here since the return to the F1 calendar. A couple of fifth placed finishes, one for each driver, are the best finishes. They will hope to improve on that, But with McLaren having upped the ante with their upgrade, Ferrari are not just chasing down Red Bull.

Revised Rear Wing

The upgrade is a major Red Bull inspired bodywork redesign, a revised rear wing and very likely some improvements to the floor.

Leclerc has said that his work on tyre preparation in qualifying has paid off and he can now expect to be more competitive in Saturday’s qualifying session. Leclerc has also had a change of race engineer, with his performance engineer stepping up after a less than perfect relationship with his old race engineer.

Sainz must be starting to get very distracted by trying to find a new, competitive drive for 2025.


Norris finally got the ‘no win’ monkey of his back in Miami. I thought it would happen in Austria, but the stars aligned in a Miami car park and he got the job done.

Norris had a fully upgraded car, Piastri only had a round 50% of the new parts on his car. The Aussie will have the full bhoona this weekend, but he has never raced here before. Norris, on the other hand, has had three races, and two third place finishes.

The Miami upgrade was a substantial one, virtually a ‘B’ spec car, and it was quick, given certain conditions. It was great on the medium and hard tyres, but not on the soft. It was fast in clean air, not so quick in it.

Perfect Timing

Events conspired to get Norris at the front of the pack, on the right tyres, at the right time. The car had set the fastest lap in sprint qualifying, but that was in Q2 on the medium. On the soft in Q3, the pace went. Many drivers struggled with the soft, but McLaren more than most.

The upgraded car is clearly a significant improvement, and proof that McLaren are on top of things. They have great correlation between factory and track, and they continue to deliver with their upgrades.

Is it a Red Bull beater? On the right tyres, in clean air…. maybe, but we didn’t see Red Bull at their best in Miami. We will have a better idea after this weekend.

Andrea Stella has admitted that McLaren will need even more upgrades if they are to be able to challenge Red Bull on a regular basis. And of course, Red Bull are not just going to sit on their hands. They will be developing their car as well.


More upgrades for this weekend. Upgrades to help previous upgrades to work. You can look at McLaren and see a team that understand their car and can bring effective upgrades. Mercedes have never understood their car since the switch to the ground effect regulations and their various upgrades and redesigns have not made any great impression.

They remain in fourth place, now sixty points behind McLaren, and their real battle is with Aston Martin, who are just 22 points behind.


The team had some upgrades in Miami, which they said worked as expected, and there will be another upgrade this weekend. They admit that others have improved at a faster rate, and that is because the other teams understand their cars better and that makes it easier to make improvements.

The car is very unpredictable, has very small sweet spot and that has been the case for the last three years.

There was news today that another two senior members of staff are leaving to join Ferrari later this year. Red Bull say they now have something like 200 ex-Mercedes employees working for them, and you have to wonder, does Mercedes have a sufficient talent pool left to recover?

Their era of dominance was a result of the change to the power unit regulations introduced in 2014. The new ground effect regulations has left them heading for the midfield and the talent, including Hamilton, are jumping ship.


More upgrades are planned for coming races, and they have ‘a clear idea of what we need to do’. Others are already doing it and moving ahead with greater pace and effectiveness. Throwing upgrades at a car that doesn’t really work is nothing new, but for a team of Mercedes’ standing, it is more than worrying. It is more like Williams a few years ago.

Russell finished fourth here last year and I would be very surprised if he were to repeat that this weekend.

Toto Wolff says the main weakness is slow corner performance, so the chicanes here may be a problem, but the rest of the track is fast, so if they know what they are doing, maybe we will see improvement, but I’m not betting on it.

Andrew Shovlin, the chief designer, contradicted Wollf, by saying that Montreal, with its predominantly slow speed corners, would be easier for them.

There really is no excuses for Mercedes this weekend. We look to be set for stable weather conditions, on a good racetrack and with three practice sessions to find that sweet spot. If they come up dry again, they are cooked for this season, and very likely next season as well.

Aston Martin

While they are still chasing Mercedes, Aston Martin are not making any headway in the great scheme of things. Alonso had been very much a top six contender in the early races, but Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have broken away and we now have the big three.

Mercedes and Aston Martin are now the second division and getting nipped at by the likes of Haas, Visa RB and now Alpine look to be making real progress.

No Depth

The lack of talent in the second car is there for all to see. Alonso continues to carry the team and they can’t be considered as a serious outfit so long as they are a plaything for Lawrence Stroll’s son.

Aston Martin will have their own ’evolutionary’ upgrades this weekend, but for them to make any difference, they have to be better than their competitors. We shall have wait and see.

In a bizarre interview, Alonso has complained that he is being singled out for harsh penalties ‘because he is Spanish’. Not the first time his sense of paranoia has kicked in.

Visa RB 

Have picked up nineteen points from the last five GP weekends, despite a double DNF in China. It is still very disjointed and unpredictable but the points are coming.

Tsunoda was seventh here in 2022 and Ricciardo third for Renault in 2020 and sixth for McLaren in 2021. The drivers can do it but they need more developments on the car.

Ricciardo was much happier with his car in Miami. The team gave him a new chassis, and while they found nothing wrong with the old one, a change can make the driver believe he has a better car and all the preceding rubbish, really wasn’t his fault.

Star Of The Show

Ricciardo was the star of the show in the Sprint qualifying and Sprint race coming fourth in both. That has largely been forgotten about thanks to his struggles the next day. Tsunoda finished 8th in the Sprint race having started from 15th. And he finished 7th in the grand Prix, starting from 10th. It was a very good race weekend for Visa RB.

Ricciardo dropped the ball in GP qualifying and ended up starting last after a three place grid penalty was applied. He made up five places in the race.

Clearly, Visa RB have made good progress with their new floor and perhaps in the Norris hullabaloo, their achievements have been overlooked. This a home race for the team, with their Italian base being just a short drive away. Yuki Tsunoda finished 7th here in 2021, his best result of the season, and Visa RB maybe are a bit underrated.


Still chipping away, never far from getting a point. Hulkenberg is doing the lion’s share of scoring them but Magnussen ‘has taken one for the team’ on occasions, sacrificing his race to give Hulkenberg a better chance to score. He is getting very close to a race ban thanks to all the penalty points he is picking up.

It might be getting to the stage of the season where Haas start to get out developed. Alpine have much better resources and now they look to be getting their car sorted out to a degree, that battle for tenth gets more competitive. Hulkenberg has not driven here, certainly not in F1. Magnussen finished ninth here in 2022.


Got off the mark in Miami and landed our 11.00 bet in doing so. The team have been bringing upgrades and carrying out weight saving measures, which have brought performance to the car. It is still way off where a manufacturer team should be, but they are climbing the table.

Alpine will not have any upgrades for this or the next couple of races, so they may find the competition making a jump on them. Harder to fancy at shorter odds this weekend.


Finally got a new chassis for Sargeant in Miami, not that anyone noticed. James Vowles says that they will finally get a proper upgrade on the cars this weekend.

It is not easy to overhaul how a team manufactures their cars in a short space of time and the team are well behind the development curve, but there could be some low hanging fruit that an upgrade could exploit.

Albon One To Watch

Albon has not been a mile off a point, but he is taking the car as high as it will go. He will be one to watch in the next few races, if the upgrades work. Albon has just signed a new multi-year contract at Williams.

As for Logan Sargeant, it looks like the team are running out of patience. It is no secret that Mercedes would like to place Kimi Antonelli at Williams ASAP. Mercedes held a test session for the 17 year old F2 driver at Imola last week, running a 2022 car.

There are stories that Antonelli will be the second Williams driver from this weekend, but the FIA say he needs to be 18 before getting a Super licence, which is needed to drive in F1. Watch this space.

Kick F1

Bottas sounds like he is getting distracted by the whole Audi take over. He is looking for a new drive for 2025 and is under pressure to put himself in the shop window with better results.

The problem is that the car is poor. Their best result was an 11th place in Bahrain. Since then, they have not manged better than 14th. The team gave Bottas a new race engineer in Miami, and it didn’t go well in terms of communications.

Like everyone else, Kick F1 will have an upgraded car this weekend. Not only that, but they now have a fix for the sticky wheel nut problems that have hurt their pit stop performance.

Apparently, in the search for marginal gains, Sauber designed wheel nuts with fewer threads, saving a little time when fitting a tyre. It then transpired that in hot conditions, the nuts were getting cross threaded. It has taken all this time to have a new design ready.

The Weather

It looks like rain will not feature in this weekend’s action at the 2024 Emilia-Romagna GP. Fine, sunny and warm weather will extend across all three days. Sunday will be a few degrees cooler, but still a pleasant 23 degrees.

A few forecasts are saying that Sunday may see some showers, but currently they look like arriving after the race, but that might change. It will be a very good weekend for introducing an upgrade. Fine settled weather and three one hour practice sessions. An engineers dream.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Summary

With this race seeing the greatest number of upgrades being brought for the cars, it is hard to be very confident in the likely pecking order. If one or two teams bring more effective upgrades, they can make a competitive jump up the order. Anyone who brings a dud can fall back, and most will stay in the same place, even if they are faster.

We have seen how good McLaren have been at bringing effective upgrades. We know that they will be in the mix this weekend, but with Ferrari and Red Bull also unleashing big upgrades, will McLaren’s Miami upgrade look less potent? It should, in theory, if Ferrari and Red Bull make good progress.

McLaren Advantage

Where McLaren do have an advantage for the 2024 Emilia-Romagna GP is that they are a race ahead. They have the upgrade up and running, at least on Norris’ car. The rest have to go through that evaluation process, and while they have more time this weekend, without a Sprint race to confuse things, McLaren are now in the fine tuning stage.

They are likely to be able to get more out of their new package. There is still a chance the Red Bull and/or Ferrari upgrades do not work quite as expected. I have to give McLaren an extra tick.

McLaren believe that this track will reward the upgrades much better than Miami did, and they had the fastest car there, at least on the medium tyres. McLaren engineer, Will Joesph, said that “the specifics of Miami meant that the evolution was potentially less powerful than what we are going to see in Imola.”

Norris Has Form

Lando Norris has gone well here in the previous three races. It is up there with The Red Bull Ring in terms of his strongest track. With his tail up after Miami, I expect Norris to be challenging again.

Oscar Piastri has not raced here which is something of a disadvantage, but he will have the full suite of upgrades on his car from this weekend. At least he has three practice sessions to get to grips with the track, and the settled weather will help. He has had two fourth place finishes in 2024 and he should be looking at a top 6 finish.

Verstappen Fav

Verstappen is the 1.28 favourite, so the market is wise to his chances. Norris is the 9.00 second favourite, Leclerc 15.00.

With Red Bull and Ferrari bringing significant upgrades, it is hard to get involved at this stage. I would rather have a bit more of a feel for where the teams stack up after practice. That said, McLaren are sounding quite bullish and with Norris a bit of a track specialist, I’ll have modest bet that he can double up at Imola.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Tip: 1 point Lando Norris to win the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP @ 9.00 with SpreadEx, Livescorebet

The one other bet I will place at this stage is on Ricciardo to finish in the points. Visa RB do look a bit underrated after what was a very good weekend in Miami. Both drivers have good memories of the track and the team will want to get a good result in front of the employees who can join the race team at the track this weekend.

Tsunoda is a 2.40 shot for a top ten, but I’ll go for the bigger odds about Ricciardo. He was very impressive when keeping Carlos Sainz behind him in the Sprint race in Miami and that will have helped him find his mojo.

Tsunoda makes some sense as well. He only lives some 15km from Imola and has driven here a lot. He has the added luxury of staying in his own home for the weekend. Maybe a double points finish? That may be a bit greedy.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Tip: 1 point Daniel Ricciardo to finish in the points @ 3.00 with Unibet


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