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What can Formula 1 expect at Mugello?

What can Formula 1 expect at Mugello?

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What can Formula 1 expect at Mugello?

What can Formula 1 expect at Mugello?

Formula 1 will race at Mugello for the first time this weekend as the track plays host to the daintily named Gran Premio Della Toscana Ferrari 1000.

The sport announced the circuit's place on the calendar in July to form part of what is now a 17-race season that has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The second of three Italian races, Mugello will pose a very different challenge for the drivers compared to the low-downforce Monza layout from last weekend.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto hailed the circuit, which is owned by the Scuderia, as "one of the most spectacular and challenging tracks for drivers and cars". So what can we expect from the Tuscan Grand Prix?

The circuit

What a circuit F1 has chosen to fill a gap with. Undulations? Check. Sweeping corners? Oh yes. Long straight for DRS? Thankfully yes, because there won't be a lot of overtaking.

But focusing on the positives, it is certainly a drivers' track. There are 15 corners, nine of which are right-handers, with only three heavy-braking zones. All in all, it should make for an electrifying qualifying session.

Daniel Ricciardo, who raced at Mugello in 2007 in Formula Renault 2.0, said the track is "awesome".

The Australian added: "It’s fast, it’s flowing. I’m not sure as a spectacle on Sunday what we can expect. But in qualifying, I think it’s going to be mega in these cars."

The first corner is heavy on the brakes and spirals uphill. Two medium-speed chicanes follow at the circuit's highest point before the rollercoaster begins.

Turn six will be almost flat-out as the surface drops drastically away from the car before a quick switch back to the left. The double right-hander - Arrabbiattas - which takes the cars back uphill, at eight and nine, will definitely be full-throttle as the drivers head towards the second heavy-braking zone of the lap at the 10-11 chicane.

A long, widening hairpin follows, with a flat out left-right chicane leading towards the final corner, which is another long, medium-speed hairpin that leads onto the 1.1-kilometre pit straight.

F1's latest race winner Pierre Gasly believes "it will be a track where you can really feel what a Formula 1 car can do."

What lap times can we expect?

Obviously, as it is the first race at the circuit, it is hard to tell how quickly the 2020 cars will lap the circuit. However, it will not be the first time a Formula 1 car has set lap times here.

Ferrari used the circuit as a shakedown before the start of the season - and before the circuit was announced for the calendar - whilst Rubens Barrichello set the absolute lap record in 2004 with a 1:18.704 in the Ferrari F2004.

Romain Grosjean topped an in-season test at Mugello in 2012 with a 1:21.035. Comparing the pole position lap times at the common circuits between 2012 and 2020 so far - excluding Silverstone as qualifying was a wet session in 2012 - lap times are on average 6.270secs faster this season.

So ignoring fuel loads and test specifications et cetera, we can expect a lap time south of 1:15.000, realistically maybe even faster.

"It’s very fast, there aren’t any low-speed corners," Grosjean said.

"There’s mid-to-high speed corners, a very long straight line. The two Arrabbiatta corners are absolutely outstanding. I think with the 2020 cars it’s just going to be bloody awesome.”

Who will be fast?

Obviously, Mercedes. Behind them, expect to see a much stronger showing from Red Bull with the team probably favourites to regain a podium position.

Ferrari will be on the hunt for points in its 1,000th race. With a higher downforce layout - compared to Monza and another low-downforce track in Spa that preceded it - the Scuderia, along with Alfa Romeo and Haas, will have a much better chance at being competitive.

With an aero set-up likely pitched between Silverstone and Barcelona, expect Renault to suffer a small slump, whilst Racing Point and McLaren are unknowns after indifferent performances across the second triple header at the two circuits.

Where can we expect to see overtaking?

Unfortunately, it is unlikely there will be too much. However, the drivers will get the chance down the pit straight into turn one with a nice dose of DRS to assist.

Other than that, the chicane at the top of the hill at 10 and 11, followed by the turn 12 hairpin may provide an opportunity, providing the drivers will be able to follow the car in front closely through the double-right hander. Here's hoping!

Before you go...

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