Grand Prix 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

After an unexpectedly bizarre and topsy-turvy race at Monza, the teams and drivers have little time to catch their breath ahead of round nine. While the trucks will be returning back to bases across Europe in between, I choose to imagine them in convoy taking the three-hour journey south on the Autostrada A1, passing close to Maranello, on their way to Mugello, nestling in the stunning Tuscan hills north of Florence.

Mugello will be the first new venue to host an F1 race in Western Europe for 12 years, but the area's motorsport history stretches back to 1914, from when it hosted a race on a 38-mile course of public roads in the manner of the later Mille Miglia and Targa Florio events. A tragic accident in practice for the 1970 race forced organisers to look at local sites for a permanent circuit, and the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello opened in 1974.

Ferrari have owned the circuit since 1988, and used it extensively for testing in the unrestricted era. It therefore represents a fitting venue for Ferrari's 1,000th Formula One World Championship Grand Prix. Those with sharp memories will recall Formula One celebrating the category's 1,000 milestone at Shanghai last season - the mismatch of 27 being mainly explained by Il Commendatore's willingness to occasionally miss races in the 1950s and 60s due to industrial action in Italy, or, more often, if the starting money on offer wasn't up to his expectations. This happened much more often when his cars were uncompetitive.

Contemporary motorsport fans are most likely to know Mugello as the long-standing home of the Italian round of MotoGP, where the legendary Valentino Rossi thrilled the home fans with seven consecutive victories from 2002-08. On four wheels, the track has been a regular fixture on domestic GT and touring car calendars, but international events have tended to be few and far between in recent years.


The layout should be more accommodating for the Ferraris than Spa or Monza, featuring only one long straight and a preponderance of fast, constant-radius curves, ensuring that a high downforce setup is likely to be adopted. After the first turn, the most plausible overtaking spot despite a relatively short braking area, the first half of the lap features a series of fast esses, leading to the double-apex right at Arrabbiata, which is sure to provide dramatic viewing in contemporary F1 cars. Comparisons to Catalunya and Sepang could be made, and with clear skies forecast and temperatures around 30C this weekend, tyre preservation and strategy may well be to the forefront in the race.

What should we expect from the Grand Prix? While the teams will have little or no relevant data to work with, the widespread use of simulation tools means that we shouldn't expect too many surprises in the competitive order, nor any particular home advantage for Ferrari. Mercedes will be looking to reassert themselves after setup problems and a pitstop balls-up at Monza, though the track characteristics and potential importance of tyre wear could play into the hands of Max Verstappen. The race will be a good test of Racing Point's performance level, who seem to have dropped back into - maybe behind - the top of the midfield battle in recent races. Williams' new owners will be taking the wheel for the first time and understanding exactly what they've bought, while although Romain Grosjean won at Mugello in European F3 back in 2007, a Gasly-like burn from the stern for the Haas driver is probably asking too much.
This is a seriously fast track for an F1 race. We might see a few spins and drivers making mistakes for over pushing

They need to add it to the F1 calendar
Messy. Bottas may not have broken a rule on that restart, but it was unwise in the extreme.

I’d describe that as driving unnecessarily slowly under the safety car, and should face a 1 race ban and a black flag... I thought that Mercedes were thinking it was going to be a standing start - but it was just Bottas being a prick
cider_and_toast - yes... much...

The gradual change in Ferrari’s colours lees much more to Marlboro than anything about Ferrari itself... I remember a Ferrari fan (British) starting watching F1 in B&W, and his father telling him that they were “blood red”
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