Five things to expect from the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix
Formula 1 heads into uncharted waters this weekend with the Tuscan Grand Prix as it races at Mugello for the first time.
The circuit is not only historic as it has never before featured on the F1 calendar, but it plays host to what will be Ferrari's 1,000th grand prix.
Here, GPFans looks at what to expect from the weekend, and what better place to start than with the Italian works team that is looking to make amends in what is its second home race after a nightmare round at Monza last week.
Ferrari to fight higher up the grid
We are not expecting Ferrari to be fighting for the win or a podium, but at least the nature of Mugello should better suit the SF1000.
With the two most power-reliant tracks on the calendar in Spa and Monza behind us, where Ferrari's main weakness of straight-line speed was laid bare, this race offers a chance for redemption.
After performing reasonably in Hungary and Austria, two tracks that favour the best chassis, Mugello should fall into a similar bracket with its 15 twists and turns.
While the kilometre-long straight will be a problem, Ferrari should at least be hoping to collect points from its history-making race.
The return of fans
The first eight races of this season have all been behind-closed-doors as F1 has at least attempted to get its show on the road in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
The sight of empty grandstands has been a sad spectacle, particularly for venues such as Silverstone and Monza that are normally packed to the rafters.
Once visors on the drivers' helmets have come down and the action has started the lack of fans has not been so noticeable until the obvious podium ceremony.
For this weekend, as part of Ferrari's celebrations, Mugello is opening its doors to a limited number of spectators - just 2880 from the Scuderia's supporters' clubs – all socially distanced, of course.
Verstappen's bounce-back ability
Max Verstappen undoubtedly had his worst weekend of the year in Monza, qualifying fifth and retiring from the race when he could have capitalised on a rare off-weekend from Mercedes.
The Dutchman will look to make amends at Mugello, a track where the RB16 and its chassis should prosper.
Beating Mercedes might be too tall an order for Red Bull on any given weekend, but Verstappen should be right in the mix again to pounce on any mistake from either Silver Arrow.
Mercedes back to its dominant ways
Surprisingly, in the opening eight rounds of the championship, Mercedes has 'only' finished first and second on two occasions. Any other team would bite your hand off for such a statistic.
While the W11 has been the best car on the grid by far in 2020, looking out the front row of the grid in seven out of eight qualifying sessions, it has not translated that performance in the race.
Verstappen has played his part in this, often splitting Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas as he has finished second on three occasions, while he also won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
With another front-row lock-out expected, and with overtaking understood to be difficult at Mugello, Sunday should be relatively straightforward if Mercedes can maintain formation at the start.
While Red Bull and Ferrari should undoubtedly have done better over the past two weeks, the opposite is true for Renault.
The French works team scored 35 points over the two weekends at Spa and Monza, two tracks that suited the RS20 well as it performs better with low-downforce set-ups.
But in collecting a total of just 12 points from races in Spain, Hungary and the two in Austria, it is safe to say Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon should not be at the top of the midfield at Mugello this weekend, another downforce-heavy track.
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