The inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix is right on the horizon, and both the drivers and teams are buzzing with excitement for the fresh challenge that awaits them at Mugello.
One of the drivers particularly looking forward to the new race is Renault DP World F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo; the Aussie is yearning to experience the thrills of the fast-paced circuit, whilst also stating that the flowing high-speed corners will no doubt make his neck ‘want to fly off’.
“I’m really excited to drive a modern Formula 1 car at Mugello. I’ve been there in 2007 for Formula Renault and in 2012 for an F1 test. It’s so fast and flowing, it has a nice rhythm and it’s going to be a lot of hard work at the wheel. I think all our necks are going to want to fly off because of the changes of direction and medium to high speed corners!“
“It’s going to be pretty awesome. For racing, it’s difficult to know where it’ll be good to overtake in these current cars. I’d say Turn 1 is going to be the best place, but I think we’re going to be braking late and deep into there as it’s quite a long corner. It’s going to be hard to send it from far, but that will be the challenge.“
“Mugello looks like a fantastic track for pure pace.” – Ocon
As oppose to his more experienced team-mate, Esteban Ocon has never visited Mugello in his racing career. However, he is eagerly awaiting the new grand prix weekend so he can enjoy all it has to offer.
The Frenchman believes that the rapid track will pose a ‘massive challenge’ for both him and his car, but he knows it will be ‘mega impressive’ to drive the superbly fast modern F1 cars at such a historic racers’ track.
“Mugello looks like a fantastic track for pure pace. I don’t have any experience racing there as I’ve not driven it for real. From what I’ve seen on my home simulator it looks a massive challenge for the car, the driver and especially the tyres, which will be critical to manage throughout.”
“I’ve driven a lot of laps there on the simulator and it has a nice combination of corners, some quick ones, which will be mega impressive in the current cars. I think it will be medium to high downforce with a lot tyre degradation. We’ll have a sore neck, so that’s something to keep in mind during the preparation.”
Pilbeam: Mugello ‘an interesting new challenge’ for Renault
Considering the development in F1 cars over the years, Renault’s chief race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam is not phased that the team has not tested in Tuscany prior to this week’s grand prix. He stated that the first part of the weekend would be Renault’s idea of testing the waters, and driver familiarisation is their main goal throughout practice.
Pilbeam also referenced the challenging nature of the tyres at such a high-speed track, and admitted it would prove to be a tough task to manage the ‘severe’ compounds in the race.
“Mugello is effectively a new circuit for us. Some teams used to test there several years ago, but the cars are very different now and there won’t be much from previous running that is very relevant to this weekend.”
“The circuit has mainly medium and high-speed corners, some very fast, but also a long straight, so the choice of downforce level will be a compromise between the two.“
Pilbeam went on to conclude: “Our priorities for the first part of the weekend will be to give the drivers time to get up to speed on the new circuit, to dial in the setup as we learn the details of the track, and to understand the behaviour of the tyres. We have the three hardest compounds as this circuit is likely to be quite severe. It’s the first of several circuits that we have not been to for a few years, so it’s an interesting new challenge.”