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The Team Behind the Team: What Does Imola Mean to Me?

From sneaking into Imola as a child in the 1980s and 90s to working with multiple world champions as a Formula 1 engineer.

We caught up with our Head of Trackside Performance Ricci Musconi on his journey into Formula 1 and why he has fond memories of Imola.

Ricci was born and bred in the shadows of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

"Imola is my hometown. I was born there, and lived there until the end of high school," he says.

"The region is host to many famous car and motorbike makers, so people are very passionate about motorsport in general.

"The playing fields at my Primary School bordered the circuit at Turn 9 and Turn 10."

This was back in the 1980s, and with a mix of V8 and V12 engines on the grid, it was hard to not get hooked.

"I have so many memories from that period," explains Ricci.

"Cars were much louder back then, so if there was someone testing then we would all go to the grandstands to see what was going on.

"In those days you still had to pre-qualify, so there were so many cars on the grid."

As the 80s ticked over into the 90s, Ricci started high school, and found himself on the other side of the circuit. It did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm and passion for motorsport, and he even got to watch his first Formula 1 race up close.

Even if he was not exactly a paying customer...

"In 1992 I remember getting through a hole in the fence to watch the race," he says.

"We got so close to the cars - there was only a policewoman between us and them!"

It did come at somewhat of a cost though.

"The fuel fumes were terrible back then, it left us with swollen eyes and pain in our airways for the next 24 hours!"

The chance to experience such high-octane motorsport on his doorstep compelled Ricci to pursue a career in the sport that had played such a big part in his early years.

"Seeing racing cars during every lunch break at school definitely inspired me. They were noisy, and fast, what is not to love about that?" he says.

His first few steps in motorsport came with Dallara in Italy, before an opportunity to volunteer for a British F3 team presented itself, and a move to the UK beckoned.

"I quickly realised I could stay in the UK," says Ricci. "The food and weather were not as bad as everyone said, and the atmosphere was really fun!"

His journey with our family in Brackley started in 2006, when the team was Honda, and he has not looked back since.

Over the years, so many top-level drivers have had the pleasure of sharing Ricci's passion and enthusiasm for motorsport, learning from his years of invaluable experience and knowledge.

"I started as Rubens' [Barrichello] Data Engineer. I have gone on to work with Nico, Lewis, Valtteri, and George. I have seen them all!"

And it all stemmed from those early days in Imola.

While the circuit has been absent from the Formula 1 calendar for much of Ricci's professional career, he has been able to return home with his job on several occasions.

"I was fortunate enough to be at the final race in 2006, and then again when we returned in 2020," he says.

"That was my favourite moment: Getting pole, winning the race, and sealing the Constructors' championship."

Memories have been made away from the track too. Right in the heart of the Musconi home, in fact.

"I have fond memories of dinner at the Musconis' with George and other team members.

"I can tell George must like my Mum and Dad's pasta - he keeps inviting himself back every year!"

Formula 1 returns to Imola in 2024 after two years away, following the devasting floods which affected the region 12 months ago, causing the cancellation of the Grand Prix.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the track's most synonymous and poignant weekend - the tragic deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

"In sporting terms Imola is sadly remembered for that tragic weekend. Three decades have passed and I still get emotional when I think about those tragic days."

Ricci's story is the first in a series of chats with team members in 2024, which will see us take team members back to their roots and discover what some of the most iconic tracks in the world mean to them, and how they have helped shape their journey into the sport and our team.

I have fond memories of dinner at my Mum and Dad's with George and other team members.


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