Formula 1 raced at Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello for the first time in 2020. Here’s everything you need to know about the host circuit of the Tuscan Grand Prix!
|FIRST F1 RACE||2020|
|TRACK LENGTH||3.259 miles|
|NUMBER OF LAPS||59|
|NUMBER OF TURNS||14|
|MOST POLES||Lewis Hamilton (1)|
|MOST WINS||Lewis Hamilton (1)|
The Mugello valley is situated in northwest Italy, around 35km from Florence. Racing has been commonplace in the area since the early twentieth century, when “Mugello” referred to a 66km, 400-turn road course which hurtled its way through the countryside. Enzo Ferrari was among the legendary names to compete at the event, which was first held in 1914. With the rise of the Mille Miglia – which was contested between 1927 and 1957 – the Mugello race was discontinued in 1928.
However, this was not to be the end of Mugello’s road racing history, as the Mugello Grand Prix was revived in the mid 1950s. Held on public roads – which were closed during qualifying and the race, but which remained open during practice – the race was run over eight laps of the 66km course and was won by various Formula 1 stars including Gerhard Mitter, Luciano Bianchi, Nanni Galli and Arturo Merzario, among others. The pitfalls of practice being held on open public roads were exposed in 1970, when a driver crashed into a crowd of people, killing a seven-month old baby and injuring four others – including two children. As a result, the 1970 running of the event would prove to be the last, and the old Circuito del Mugello was consigned to the history books.
For all of its old-school feel, the modern day Mugello circuit is a relatively new build. Plans for a closed circuit were already underway before the 1970 incident which brought about the end of the Mugello road course. Constructed in 1973 and opened in 1974, the track’s first event was a round of the F5000 series – and the course was an immediate hit with the drivers. The track has undergone little change since that first race, with its trademark undulating and sweeping turns providing plenty of challenges.
In its early years, the circuit hosted rounds of the World Sportscar Championship and a number of Formula Two races, with the list of winners including Bruno Giacomelli, Derek Daly and Jonathan Palmer. Between 1987 and 2000, five rounds of Formula 1’s feeder series Formula 3000 were held at Mugello. Winners during this period were Pierluigi Martini, Alessandro Zanardi, Ricardo Zonta and Ricardo Sperafico. Mugello has had a long affinity with motorcycle racing, and has held the Italian motorcycle Grand Prix in every year since 1994.
In the 1980s, the circuit encountered financial struggles but in 1988, Mugello was acquired by Ferrari, who used it as an extra track to test their Formula 1 cars. Formula 1 has flirted with Mugello in the past, with multiple test sessions being held at the circuit. One such test session in 2012 resulted in Mark Webber saying that ten laps around Mugello “is the same as doing 1000 laps around the Abu Dhabi track in terms of satisfaction”.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, which decimated the majority of the planned 2020 Formula 1 season, Mugello was called upon to join the re-structured schedule. The event coincided with Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix, with the race being given the title of “Formula 1 Gran Premio Della Toscana Ferrari 1000 2020 Mugello”. It was the second consecutive race to be held in Italy, with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza taking place one week prior. This was the first time that F1 has raced in Italy for two consecutive rounds of the World Championship since 1957.
- Hosting the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, Mugello became the 72nd different circuit to have hosted a round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
- Mugello was the fourth different track in Italy to have hosted a round of the championship, after Monza, Pescara and Imola.
- Italian rider Valentino Rossi won the MotoGP race here for seven consecutive years between 2002 and 2008; the longest such streak in the series’ history.
- Kimi Raikkonen drove a Formula 1 car for the first time at Mugello, taking part in a test with Sauber in 2000.
- Prior to the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, the unofficial F1 lap record at the track is a 1:21.035, set by Romain Grosjean during testing in 2014.
- The driver who crashed in practice for the 1970 Mugello race, killing a baby and injuring four others, was jailed for two months.
- In the 1980s, there were plans to flood the valley where the Mugello track is situated and turn it into a reservoir to supply drinking water to Florence. The plans were abandoned following Ferrari’s purchase of the circuit.
- At the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, Antonio Giovinazzi became only the twelfth driver in Formula 1 history to have raced at home for two consecutive rounds of the World Championship.
2020 TUSCAN GP RECAP
Ferrari celebrated their 1000th Grand Prix as Formula 1 raced at Mugello for the first time. Lewis Hamilton took victory in a race which was prolonged by two Red Flag periods.
Learning a new track is always a difficult task – and so it proved in qualifying, with multiple drivers running through the gravel traps. An off for Esteban Ocon prevented the front-runners from improving their times on their final laps, and it was Lewis Hamilton who had done enough to secure pole. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas qualified just 0.059 seconds slower but got the better start, and sailed into the lead before Turn 1. The Safety Car was brought out following a first lap collision between Pierre Gasly, Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen. A spinning Carlos Sainz also made contact with Sebastian Vettel, damaging the Ferrari’s front wing. The race restarted on Lap 7, but it was immediately red-flagged following a huge crash involving multiple cars at the restart. Giovinazzi, Sainz and Kevin Magnussen were all taken out in the melee, all escaping without injury. A standing restart followed, this time with Hamilton getting a better start and re-assuming the lead. The Mercedes pair were followed by Charles Leclerc and the two Racing Points. Lance Stroll moved into the podium positions with an overtake on Leclerc, with the Ferrari losing another position to Daniel Ricciardo. Stroll’s tenure in the top three did not last long as he crashed out heavily, blaming a puncture. With barrier repairs needed, the race was red-flagged once more. Hamilton led the field away at the standing restart, while Ricciardo was able to overtake Bottas for second place as Alex Albon passed Sergio Perez for fourth. Bottas soon re-passed the Renault, while Albon closed in on Ricciardo too, sealing his first podium finish. Hamilton took the win in the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix, extending his championship lead.
MUGELLO POLESITTERS AND WINNERS
|2020||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|