What To Expect From A Formula One Race At Mugello

Illustration for article titled What To Expect From A Formula One Race At Mugello
Photo: Bryn Lennon (Getty Images)

The Formula Circuit is heading to the Mugello Circuit for the first time ever this weekend as part of its coronavirus rescheduling, and it’s one of the many tracks that will bring a significant challenge to the drivers. So, in honor of this weekend of mystery, here’s a little bit of what viewers can expect.

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The Basics

Mugello is a 3.259 mile (or 5.245 km) long circuit with 15 turns. While the initial road circuit was developed in the 1920s, the closed course that F1 will be using was founded in 1974.

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Mugello has been used as a test track by F1, but it has never hosted an F1 race. That said, Formula 2, Formula 3000, Formula Libre, MotoGP, and more raced on the circuit in the past. Drivers like George Russell and Lando Norris have raced at Mugello in junior formula, but it’s not likely it will give them an advantage over anyone else; there is, after all, a huge difference between Formula 4 and Formula One.

Ferrari’s 1000th Race

Ferrari’s 1000th contested Formula 1 race will come at the Tuscan Grand Prix this weekend. It’s the only team that has contested every single F1 season, and it’s celebrating this critical milestone at its home track, one that has never been used in the series before.

To celebrate the achievement, Ferrari has introduced a one-off burgundy livery similar to that of the first Ferrari race car, the 125S.

“It’s a great honor to be driving a Ferrari in what is the 1000th Grand Prix for this, the longest serving of all Formula 1 teams,” said driver Sebastian Vettel. “It is a very nice and super technical track with changes of gradient and very demanding corners. The track should better suit our car, so let’s hope we can deliver something to please the tifosi, both at home and at the circuit.”

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Vettel is also celebrating one of his final races with the Ferrari team before he leaves for Aston Martin in 2021. That final Italian race will take place at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

First F1 Race With Fans

Fans haven’t been allowed at any Formula One race during the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been strange to see. But Mugello will be the first event to host some fans. 2,280 fans, to be exact.

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It’s not a lot, but it’s a nice sight. Italian Grands Prix are normally one of the most exciting from a fan perspective because of the passion of the tifosi, and it was truly odd to watch a podium celebration at Monza in front of an empty front stretch.

It’s fitting that Italian fans will be able to watch Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix. And if all goes well, Russia, Portual, and Bahrain are looking to open their tracks to fans, too

Difficult To Drive

One of the biggest talking points ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix is the fact that this is going to be one of the most difficult events on the calendar this year. Drivers are expected to endure forces as high as 5Gs in some corners, which puts strain on both the human body and the team equipment. And, because the race was organized at the last minute, it’s possible that track surfaces may not be in quite as pristine a shape as a normal F1 track would be.

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“This track is the pure performance and definition of what a Formula 1 car can achieve in such corners, such medium and high-speed corners, and just goes to show the limit for us as drivers,” McLaren driver Lando Norris said. “Physically it’s going to be very tough.”

Norris was the first driver to put a car into the gravel during FP2. Despite the accident, he only had positive things to say:

As much as I hate that there was gravel because of ending up and crashing and damaging the car, it’s better like this. And I think it’s more tricky, but it’s more challenging, and I think that’s what it should be like. Not ideal, but it’s what happens sometimes.

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Red Bull driver Alex Albon agreed: “I think it’s going to be the most physical track for drivers this year, possibly ever. The lowest gear is fourth gear. So it’s going to be fun, especially on our necks, I’m sure we’re going to feel it.”

It sounds like it’s going to be a physically demanding track, one that could make for some great racing just because of its nature as new, difficult circuit.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Freelancer. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

I just have no idea where anyone expects passing to happen.  Maybeee turn 1?  I’m expecting this one to be an even more boring parade than Barcelona.