Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
The hilly terrain around Imola makes for some brilliant views of the fast, flowing circuit. The best grandstands are nicely elevated, allowing spectators to be close to the action without having their view ruined by debris fencing. While some seats are better than others, there are very few grandstands to avoid. General admission offers lots of variety, though when it’s most crowded many of the best spots will disappear fast.
Popular grandstands sell out fast. Buy Emilia Romagna GP tickets from one of these official retailers.
I get a small commission which helps to keep the lights on. The best part is, it doesn’t cost you any extra :)
If you want to be at the heart of the action at Imola, snap up some tickets for a grandstand on the main start / finish straight. Grandstands here are in a prime spot to watch grid preparations, the start and the podium celebrations.
From here you can watch as the cars exit Rivazza and belt down to Tamburello. You’ll be happy to hear the view from Grandstand I is almost entirely fence-free from all but the lowest rows.
Grandstand I is one of the best main straight grandstands at Imola. It’s alongside the last five or so spaces on the grid, not the more sought-after top spots, but it does have a better view of proceedings than most of the seats in Grandstand M.
Grandstand I is opposite the top team’s pit boxes. Blocks B – E are directly opposite parc ferme and the podium, making these the best seats in the house to watch the trophy presentation.
The grid used for the F1 race is alongside the chicane, a corner that isn’t used in F1 races. The geography here means no grandstand is fully alongside the grid. One end of Grandstand M is however the go-to spot to spy on the top qualifiers as they prepare for the start.
For everyone else, this is one of the best grandstands to watch the start and finish of the race, as well as all the pitstop action.
Grandstand A is a grandstand on the main straight, opposite the pitlane exit. The starting grid for the F1 race is further up the track (in front of Grandstand M) so this offers fans a more distant view of the proceedings.
These are still some of the best seats to watch the start and about 100 minutes later, applaud the winner taking the chequered flag. If you can, get some seats in the left side of this grandstand (closer to block A) for the best vantage point.
I said in the introduction that few Imola grandstands should be avoided, and well, this is one of those. Though this is right next to the much sought-after Grandstand A, you should not be under any illusions; the difference in the experience is vast. Low to the ground and close to the fence, the view from here can get old pretty quickly.
Even with the Villeneuve chicane now slowing down the approach to Tosa, this tight, left-hander is still an exciting corner. A perfect exit from the preceding corner makes overtakes here a possibility.
Imola takes about as many liberties with how they count grandstands as how they count corners. Grandstand B is really two small, grandstands, but if you buy a ticket for grandstand B you could be allocated seats in either. The good news is that they’re both excellent and you can expect good views wherever you end up.
The small stand of blocks E, F and G provides a clear view of both the approach to Tosa and the long uphill stretch towards Piratella. Only block D in the larger stand has a similar view.
The remaining seats still have excellent views of the corner and the sharp rise up the hill that follows but the approach to the corner is unsighted.
This makes them arguably less desirable, but in their favour, with very little run-off these seats are the closest to the track. Here at the slowest point of the corner with fence-free views, they are an ideal choice for photographing the action.
Acqua Minerali. Almost as satisfying to say as it is to watch. However many times you visit Imola it always surprises you how dramatic the elevation changes are. And this fast, flowing double right-hander is one of the places where that’s most obvious.
Acqua Minerali is comprised of a fast, sweeping right that feeds directly into a tighter right at the bottom of the hill. Then it’s a steep climb up to the Variante Alta.
The pronounced camber through this section allows the drivers to take it at a surprising speed – a factor which goes to make this one of the most exciting places to watch F1 at Imola.
There are 3 grandstands here – D, E and F – which preside over Acqua Minerali from a hilly promontory. It’s a classic Imola view with a backdrop of wooded hills and villas. Each offers a fantastic (mostly) fence-free view of the action.
These grandstands are small so whichever part of the stand your seat is in it won’t make a lot of difference to your experience.
Even the lowest rows have a clear view of the track and are that bit closer to the cars. The upper rows have a secret bonus though. Behind the grandstands there are some mature fir trees and their dense branches hang over the stand, providing good shelter from sun and rain.
Positioned closer to the exit, fans in Grandstand F don’t quite get the full impact of drivers slinging their cars through here. There is also no tree cover and lower rows here are slightly affected by the fence. Grandstand F is still a great place to watch from but is the weakest of this trio.
At the Variante Alta, grandstand 7 is ideally placed to see drivers take on this quick right-left chicane before charging towards the final corner. And it’s a crucial one in a race – get this right and a driver might just be able to make a move into Rivazza.
This is a corner that superbly demonstrates the abilities of an F1 car – the braking, acceleration and fast change of direction are thrilling to watch.
This probably isn’t the kind of view that you’d want to have for an entire weekend though. My tip would be to catch the action for a while from the general admission area (opposite), but find another grandstand.
Rivazza – two final tight corners before the main straight – and a critical section of the track. If they’ve aced their line through the Variante Alta chicane, an attacking driver can seek to slipstream their rival over the crest of the hill and down the slope that leads to the first apex of Rivazza.
This is one of the best chances for a passing attempt at Imola. And if unsuccessful, drivers will look for the best possible exit to make a move at Tamburello.
In the braking zone for Rivazza, this is where the action starts. Fans might witness cars alongside each other here racing for position.
The apex to the corner is further down though so the view of how these moves play out could be a distant one. Unfortunately, a nearby public road means the grandstand couldn’t be closer to the crucial point.
The corner is still visible at a stretch, but if you end up in grandstand H you might find you watch more of the race on the opposite giant screen than you had planned.
Grandstand R, known simply as Rivazza, is a fan favourite at Imola. It’s one of the best grandstands to watch from and quite honestly one of the most unique track views at any Formula 1 circuit.
Even calling it a grandstand is questionable since Grandstand R isn’t built out of steel and concrete but out of the earth. And being a literal hill comes with certain quirks.
The rows of seats conform to the natural round shape of the terrain. That makes the views of the track quite different depending on which section you’re seated in this large area.
Blocks F, G and H offer by far the most impressive views at Rivazza. The view extends down the start/finish straight where it eventually bends out of sight. That’s a view that includes the grid, the pit lane, parc ferme and the (slightly hidden) podium.
There aren’t too many grandstands in the world of F1 that offer quite such a gloriously broad view in the heart of all the action. It can vary a bit depending on where your seats are – the main straight might be partially blocked by trees and you won’t see quite as far from the lower rows.
Tip: Unlike Monza’s famous podium which juts out prominently, the podium at Imola is recessed. If you plan to see the podium ceremony come the end of the race, you might have better luck if you wait for the nearby gates to swing open and run down the track.
Other sections have a similar but very different view and tickets are usually sold separately. The further away from these prime seats, you’ll find it harder to have a clear line of sight to the main straight but the view of the corner is your reward.
At the other extreme fans won’t see the main straight at all but do have by far the best view of Rivazza. So get seats in F,G or H if you can, but you won’t be disappointed if you can’t – it’s still a fantastic view.
Grandstand R is undoubtedly one of the best grandstands at Imola. But does it have downsides? There are some, and none more so than comfort levels.
Large passionate crowds aren’t for everyone and at a venue known for a large passionate crowds, this is about the largest and most passionate there is.
Physical comfort doesn’t score much better. These moulded plastic seats are a step above flat bleachers but, unlike other Imola grandstands, seatbacks are not included.
I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.