Imola forced to pay fine as Verstappen filming brings noise complaints

Max Verstappen signs £200m deal with Red Bull in March

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Imola circuit officials were fined after Max Verstappen’s filming day with Red Bull led to noise complaints. The Italian track’s operators were forced to stump up €500 [£440] after the F1 champion activated local noise pollution detectors nearby in one of Red Bull’s most iconic cars. 

The team filmed around the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari last October with Verstappen in the famous RB9, which Sebastian Vettel drove to his fourth and final world title win back in 2013.

But the 2.4-litre V8 engine on the RB9, the team’s best performing car since the 2022 RB18, is significantly louder than the turbo hybrid vehicles seen on the F1 track today. 

The engine therefore caused problems as noise detectors sounded the alarm and Imola officials have now been issued with the £440 fine. Elena Penazzi, the Councillor for the Autodrome, Tourism and Citizen Services of Imola, confirmed the fine in a statement, as per Corriere dello Sport. 

“The Red Bull event was the only occasion on which the Autodrome has made noise in the past year, always remaining within the limit, despite the many activities carried out,” Penazzi said. “On 12 October, Red Bull showed up with an older car than the current one and the limits were exceeded. It was a matter of a few laps.”

F1 teams often use rare filming days in the season to shoot adverts or promotional footage for commercial partners as they look to expand their brand further worldwide. But such was the blaring sound of the V8 engines, Imola operators were the ones in trouble on this occasion.

Verstappen, however, has fond memories of Imola as the place that proved an early turning point in last season’s second title win. Despite a record year of dominance, the Dutchman had a shaky start with two DNFs in three races as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the early pace. 

But in the fourth race of the season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in April, Verstappen asserted his control by leading from start to finish, and he later singled out Imola as a key moment in the campaign.

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“The Imola weekend was very good; we had a really strong weekend,” Verstappen said, reflecting back on the season. “Then, of course, the gap [to Leclerc] was slowly reducing – that’s normally always a good sign.

“At the time we couldn’t afford any more retirements. Of course, the gap [became] very big, so we could have had retirements, but at the time, after already two DNFs so early on in the year, we turned it around very quickly.

“Honestly, I don’t really remember what race I thought that it was back on, but I think for us, as a team, Imola was a very important weekend, to have that kind of result.”

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