The Tuscan Grand Prix: should it return to Formula One in 2021?
After Formula one’s eventful Tuscan Grand Prix, should the FIA imply the Mugello Circuit to be a 2020 exclusive or should it return for 2021?
The second Grand Prix to be held in Italy, this year, was nothing short of eventful as we saw a crash early on that forced Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) to retire after the second corner – which prompted the first safety car of the session.
However, it was on the restart when chaos resumed as Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) found themselves in a multi-car pile up on the pit straight. This brought out the first red flag of the race.
So, will it be likely to see the Mugello Circuit in future world championship seasons or was it a one-off for Ferrari’s 1000th race and 2020?
The Italian Prancing Horse outfit marked a truly great milestone last weekend as they took part in their 1000th race – the only team to take part in 1,000 races. Understandably, the famous red outfit would want to take this great moment on home turf – Italy.
However, in a normal season, we would’ve normally seen one venue per country to make up the calendar. The 2020 Italian Grand Prix in Monza originally marked Ferrari’s 1000th race – but the COVID-19 pandemic threw it into jeopordy. After venue cancellations, postponements and considerations from the FIA, Monza was kept on the calendar to grant the Italian Grand Prix a place in the 2020 season – but it was to be Ferrari’s 999th race.
So to allow the team to race on home ground, for their history-making race, it meant Italy would have two races – one in Monza and another in Mugello.
Health and Safety
Undoubtedly, health and safety is one of the most important, behind the scenes, factors to go into any Grand Prix. Everyone hopes for a bit of action – to provide some entertainment in a race – but no one wishes to see a driver fail to go home that same day.
It was only two corners, on the first lap, when the first incident occurred. Drivers attempted to gain track position through the early slow corners, but too many drivers went into the turn two, which resulted in the crash that followed. Verstappen was one of the first drivers not to finish the race, after he punted off the track and onto the gravel by Raikkonen. This prompted the first safety car of the session.
At the restart, which came shortly afterwards, Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) controlled the field’s pace until the last minute when he bolted down the track – to minimise the risk of a areodynamic tow. However, drivers at the back of the pack bolted as soon as they saw the green flags displayed – but, they ended up in a multi-car pile up on the start/finish straight as they expected the leading Mercedes driver to have restarted the race. This brought out the first red flag of the session as the marshals cleard the debris.
Despite the rest of the race being relatively okay in terms of issues, apart from Lance Stroll’s (Racing Point) crash into the barrier at turn nine, which red flagged the session again. The Mugello Circuit could be doomed for another F1 Grand Prix due to on-track issues.
Although the new track tested the drivers abilities to gain the optimum entry angles and corner speeds to get the perfect lap. The owners of the Tuscan Mugello Circuit are Scuderia Ferrari. This could implicate the newly-signed Concorde agreement.
The agreement, which was signed by all 10 teams in the paddock earlier this year, determines how television revenue and prize money is distributed. Due to the ownership of the track, would it mean Ferrari can earn extra cash over the rest of the paddock through TV revenue? If so, could this extra money be allowed to develop their car?
As good as the Mugello Circuit was, it does seem unlikely the FIA will remove the high-speed, low downforce circuit that is Monza, to replace it with the high-speed track at Mugello.
Monza itself is a great circuit and comes with plenty of action due to its high speed nature, with top speed reaching as high as 340 km/h and an average speed of around 250 km/h. In addition, the risks to driver safety and the new Concorde agreement, it is unlikely we will see Mugello in the near-future – maybe when Monza’s contract ends in 2025.