F1: Imola’s much-loved cat mascot Formulino that cursed Sebastian Vettel dies aged 16
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The iconic Imola paddock cat, Formulino, had passed away at the age of 16. Formulino, dubbed the king of Autodromo di Imola was often spotted wandering around the team’s garages and was even given his own paddock pass.
Imola had set up the iconic feline with his own Instagram account where they regularly shared pictures of Formulino exploring the race track. The Instagram account @Formulinotheking shared the news, writing: “It’s hard to find the right words in times like these. After more than sixteen years the day we hoped would never come is here, and our beloved Arturo has left us.
“It’s like a part of us has been taken away with him. He was a member of the Formula Imola family, the first to arrive when the offices opened and the last to leave at sunset after punching his time-card.
“Our mascot, therapist and snack buddy filled our working days with joy. There is no Motorsport lover who will not remember him, ready to welcome anyone arriving at the racetrack direction building. We will miss you more than we can express. You will always be our Formulino”
After the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled earlier this year, many Formula 1 fans were left anxious to know if Formulino was safe, forcing the circuit to confirm he was being cared for.
Formulino was known amongst F1 fans for deciding the fate of the drivers, with those who were welcoming of the cat, being dealt good fortune in their race. In 2020, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton discovered the cat’s magical abilities.
After being allowed to wander into the Mercedes garage, Lewis Hamilton approached the cat for a stroke. Hours later, the seven time world champion pulled off a dramatic overcut to take the lead and his first victory at Imola.
However, retired driver Sebastian Vettel learned the hard way that Formulino could also curse drivers during their races. The iconic feline visited the four time world champion as he spoke to Sky Sports, with host Ted Kravitz telling Vettel that it was considered a sign of good luck.
The German driver responded: “I don’t like cats but maybe I like this one. I have nothing to offer it. He’s a bit overweight though.” Vettel then finished the race in 12th place after a faulty wheel nut caused a 13-second pitstop.
Fans have taken to the announcement of Formulino’s passing by calling the Imola race track to erect a statue of the beloved feline.