The Mugello International Circuit, known by many very well due to MotoGP has been added to the 2020 F1 calendar amongst the pandemic that forced the cancellation of many other races this season. The track as mentioned before is well known between the motorcycle series, hosting a GP in MotoGP every single year since 1994, but it’s also used in some of the junior single-seater categories.
Although some of the F1 drivers from the current grid have raced before at Mugello, non of them think that the experience from the lower series could have prepared them for the upcoming weekend and the speeds we will possibly see.
George Russell of Williams F1 spoke about it in a short interview, as he competed before at the Mugello track in Formula Renault: "I've raced here once in 2014 I think when I was competing in Formula Renault. It’s an incredible circuit. It's so fast, it's so flowing, it's going to be an absolute killer physically. Turn 6, 7, 8, and 9 will be absolutely flat out, probably, flat out in seventh gear I think anyway. I think Arrabiata will be quite easy flat. It's the corners before, Casanova and Savelli, those are the difficult ones. I hope it will be. We've done a sweepstake to see who is going to do it [flat] first. We'll let you know on Sunday.”
Lando Norris, who drove at Mugello in F4 also thinks this experience won’t be a benefit in regards to the upcoming race: "I don't think there's any advantage, it was too long ago for me now in a completely different car. The track has even changed slightly since then. I don't even remember the track being cambered in so many of the corners. Simulators are very good, but at the same time, it was very late notice for us to know that we're going to Mugello, so maybe everything was not as perfect and up to date as all the tracks that we normally go to.”
He added: "You have a good enough of an understanding driving a Formula 1 car in a simulator of what you need to achieve coming to a track like Mugello. 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. Physically it's going to be very tough.”
Alex Albon of Red Bull Racing also reflected on how tough the track will be for everybody, especially physically. As he said: "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 it's going to be fun, especially on our necks, I'm sure we're going to feel it. It's a really cool circuit, it's nice to be going to these old school circuits with proper history, and it has that character that you don't always get with new circuits. So it's a thumbs up."
Lastly, Daniel Ricciardo of Renault F1 has said he, just like many other drivers, had to turn to a simulator in order to experience Mugello, but he was excited about the FP1 and the first proper experience of the track. As he said: "We've got obviously a lot of time on track in practice, so it's not something we really need to rush into. I don't think we need to be a hero in FP1. For sure we can't mess around. Driving on a new circuit, it does bait you in. You do want to go fast, straight away. It's fun, you know.”
He added: "I've never had probably so much excitement for a Friday practice as I do tomorrow. It's been a while, unless it's a Thursday in Monaco.”
The FP1 of the Tuscan GP at the Mugello International circuit will begin shortly, and it definitely will be not only exciting for the drivers to experience a new track but also for the fans, to see such a place in F1.