Il Volo Off to the Races Again By Giovanna

The November stage of the 2020 Formula 1 Grand Prix had some special guests.  Il Volo was invited to sing the Italian National Anthem before the start of the Sunday, November 1 race to re-inaugurate the Ferrari Imola Course in Emilia-Romagna, which is hosting its first competition after years of renovation.   Down below, there’s link to Il Volo’s pre-race performance below for you to enjoy.

The Imola Course is only 25 miles east of Ignazio’s home in Bologna.  We all know that the Il Volo guys, especially Ignazio, have a love of fast machines in general, and Formula 1 racing in particular.  This was Ignazio during their 2019 summer off, at the Red Bull Formula 1 race car “stable,” and the Triscina Go-cart Track.  La Vela’s photo is just Igna being his usual self with children.

If you’re not familiar with Formula 1 racing, here’s the short story.  To quote my son Barry, “It’s the fastest cars in the world on the toughest, curviest tracks on earth.  It’s the best of the best.”  Spoken like an Italian.

If you didn’t know, the Ferrari course at Imola has not hosted Formula 1 racing for 14 years. The translated article below explains why. 

The Enzo and Dino Ferrari International Racetrack hosted Formula 1 for the last time in 2006. In the same year, the reconstruction and modernization work began, which lasted throughout 2007. The pit area was completely rebuilt; the only surviving building is the historic and former Marlboro Tower (now sponsored by Aruba). The changes to the route, carried out under the direction of the architect Hermann Tilke, led to the elimination of the “Lower Variant” for cars. Over the years, work has been carried out to adapt the track to the increasingly high standards required to host international competitions. This led to obtaining the Grade 1 License necessary to host Formula 1.

Author’s note: Next is a translation of two articles and the lead photo that appeared in the Italian media this week announcing Il Volo’s appearance to sing the Italian national anthem (il Inno di Mameli). 


The boys of Il Volo Chosen to Perform the National Anthem on the Occasion of the Emilia Romagna Formula 1 Grand Prix Set for November 1. 

The guys from Il Volo will sing the National Anthem before the Emirates Formula 1 Grand Prix in Emilia Romagna, a beautiful event two months after having excited the audience of the Verona Arena at the Seat Music Awards.  Music and sport, an essential combination which is often talked about together.  Power cars are undoubtedly an expertise of our country, and in particular the Formula 1 world championship represents an important opportunity to highlight the “Made in Italy” brand.

In this untypical sports season, Italy has been home to three (race) stages.  After the two already staged in Monza and Mugello, Formula 1 will be on November 1 in Imola on the historic racetrack dedicated to Enzo and Dino Ferrari.

To celebrate a return of the highest category of auto racing to Imola, the trio of Il Volo was chosen, specifically to emphasize the importance of “Made in Italy.”  A performance to the notes of the national anthem at the Dino Ferrari International Racetrack will get the television audience excited, before concentrating on the curves and straights of the racetrack on the banks of the Santerno.

Author’s note: A few years ago, when Piero cut off the long “cuiffo” (flipped up curl) that he used to wear on the front of his hair, he explained on Instagram, “I got rid of it because it felt like I was wearing the last turn of the racecourse at Mugello on my head.”  Does anybody remember this look?

By the way, the boys have performed at the Grand Prix before.  The Flight Crew covered their visit to a Grand Prix a few years ago, at the Etihad Airlines Track in Abu Dhabi in the Emirates, pictured here.

Is it obvious which two love cars, and which one loves clothes?

On with the articles!


Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble have agreed with enthusiasm to participate in this prestigious event.  The three guys are long-time fans of Formula 1 and proud to represent Italy.

From the boys themselves:

“It is an honor for us to have been invited to the Grand Prix and to once again interpret the Mameli anthem (Italy’s national anthem). Every time we’ve had this opportunity, it was not easy to hide our emotions!  We thank the President of Formula Imola, Uberto Selvatico Estense, and wish a big ‘ in bocca al lupo’ to all the drivers.”

If you don’t know that expression, it’s literally “Into the wolf’s mouth” and is the Italian way of saying “Good luck.”   

The President of Formula Imola, Uberto Selvatico Estense, continues.

“I am really pleased to publicly announce that Il Volo will perform the Mameli Anthem at the next Formula 1 Grand Prix in Imola on November 1, 2020.

This magnificent singing trio has characterized Italian music and culture throughout the world for some time.  So, who better than they could interpret the Italian anthem, thrilling the world-wide spectators of the most awaited Grand Prix of the season.

A special thanks, as well as to the artists, to their manager Michele Torpedine for the great willingness and enthusiasm in supporting the initiative that marks the return of Formula 1 to Imola after 14 years.  This is another opportunity to listen to the music of Il Volo, as we wait for the 2021 tour.

From the author:  Even the Italian car fanatics are proud of Il Volo.  This extra clip is excerpted from “FormulaPassion.It” web page:

The Trio Will Do the Pre-Show at the Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna This Coming Sunday

Il Volo has been invited to open the Emiglia Romagna Grand Prix, which kicks off Sunday November 1 at the Enzo and Dino International Autodrome of Imola.   The trio will perform the opening ceremony interpreting Mameli’s anthem to pay homage to the drivers arrayed near the starting line.

Author: You can tell the Il Volo guys were excited about this.  Starting at 3:30 AM my cell phone Instagram kept lighting up with videos of the pits, crews, and tracks, by the Il Volo guys or whichever relatives were with them doing the filming.   I had videos of the pits and “stables” coming up on my phone at the same time as the ESPN professional filming of the same areas, and some of the ones from Il Volo were noisier and more exciting.  Here’s one to check out.

All the guys got into video selfie-ing in the pit areas.  Here’s one of Piero.

In the Italian media this week, Piero said that one reason Il Volo was proud to sing the national anthem was that so many Italian young (and old) people have been singing it together at twilight from their balconies and doorways as an act of unity during this epoch of isolation and social distancing.  Il Volo also sets an example by approaching every public appearance and gathering place masked, just like the announcers and race drivers today.

So here is the link to the pre-race announcement and Il Volo’s singing of the Inno di Mameli.

Although the anthem has five verses, they sang only the first verse and refrain, as is typical at sports events, so we didn’t get to hear them for very long.  Note that the guys did not do any rephrasing or very sophisticated harmonies, but presented the national anthem formally and traditionally, befitting its serious and very spiritual lyrics.  It was lovely nonetheless, and punctuated beautifully by the air force fighter jet flyover. 

In the clip, the announcer explains that Il Volo will present the national anthem and there will be a flyover in honor of Enzo Ferrari. He adds after that the four aircraft are Eurofighters from the combat wing of Grosseto who are flying a circuit of the race course.  He describes the beautiful sunny day at this venue which has been key in writing the story of motorsport and which has seen some of its greatest racing competitions.  Then he argued that the naysayers who said we wouldn’t have this event this year, or next, were wrong, because we did it and it’s here.  His partner adds that the most exciting thing we could do for the drivers and for the 100th Formula 1 Grand Prix was to bring in Il Volo.  No argument there.

It was a very tense and exciting race.  Team Mercedes Benz has dominated Formula 1 for six or seven years.  On the Imola course, five or six drivers had serious mechanical issues and mandatory DNFs (Did Not Finish), for problems including (two) front wings shearing off, a coolant system failure, shredded tires, and even cold brakes in a pit stop that knocked a crew mechanic into a back somersault.  Max Verstappen, driving for Red Bull, managed to do a very close overtake (pass) splitting the two Mercedes leaders, got himself into second place, and held it a dozen laps, nearly guaranteeing a second place on the podium and nearly breaking up the expected Mercedes one-two finish.  Then he punctured a tire, and spun off the track with three broken rims and a wrecked chassis. 

The Imola track, on the left, was once the site of two driver deaths in one weekend 1994, Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger.  In memory or in caution, drivers from several teams had their helmets or steering columns blessed before the race.  Strangely, despite the multiple grindings and spin outs today, there was not a single injury.

Before the race, the entire field of drivers made pre-recorded statements and took a knee on the track to demand an end to racism.  Il Volo held their opening anthem until after these ceremonial acts of solidarity.  In a fitting conclusion, Lewis Hamilton, who piloted the winning Mercedes car, happens to be a person of color.

In the midst of all the excitement, Gianluca found the time to post a picture of him and Ernie, which was captioned “You’re the other half of me.”  Papa Ercole posted best wishes “Little Man.” Mamma Eleonora posted an old video of a little boy tossing his bicycle and running to her camera.  Why?  Yesterday, November 1, was Ernie Ginoble’s birthday.  Tanti auguri e Buon Compleanno, Ernie! 

Author’s note: Il Volo is “off to the races again” in another way, too.  Embedded in one of the Italian news clippings last week was a link to Il Volo’s 2021 European tour schedule.  Stay tuned.  In another Flight Crew article, we’ll share whatever know about it.


Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

6 thoughts on “Il Volo Off to the Races Again By Giovanna”

  1. Giovanna, I had seen some photos and the anthem video on Twitter and Instagram, but your article was so much more informative–thank you! I loved reading the comments about Il Volo and got a special kick out of the photo and caption from Abu Dhabi! Also, it was heartwarming to read about the actions of the drivers regarding racism and the winner of the race. Another really special, fun gig for the guys!

  2. I was proud of all the Formula 1 teams taking a stand for something right. Our Il Volo guys fit right in to that kind of setting. And I couldn’t resist the Abu Dhabi picture, or Piero’s crack about his hair.

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