Lance Stroll arrives at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello on the back of his first podium finish for the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, and he will be keen to follow that result up with a strong performance this weekend.
The Canadian says racing on a new circuit – Mugello has never previously hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix – should level the playing field somewhat as teams and drivers go chasing the set-up, but despite the lack of knowledge, he will not be changing the way he approaches a race weekend.
Stroll says he expects there to be very little overtaking on Sunday, so Qualifying on Saturday is likely to be the most important session of the weekend, with track position key to a good result.
“I’ve raced at Mugello before, just not in F1,” said Stroll. “We are all in the same boat, facing the same challenge, which levels the playing field. We won’t prepare any differently – we go through the usual motions of the weekend.
“We just don’t have that experience to fall back on, so we’re starting from scratch! I remember it being a very high-speed circuit and a super-fast lap. It definitely requires bravery!
“It’s such a high-speed lap and the cars will feel great with low fuel! There will be definite goosebumps in the car and hopefully for the fans at home too. I don’t expect there to be a lot of overtaking in the race, so qualifying will be even more important and everybody will be going all out.”
“We’ll have to get up to speed as we go during the weekend” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez, who announced this week that he will be leaving Racing Point at the end of the current campaign with Sebastian Vettel coming into replace him, says he is not very familiar with Mugello, having last ran at the circuit back in 2012.
The Mexican says it will be important to get up to speed quickly and he foresees a big test for everyone to find their rhythm and a good set-up on a track not previously raced at in Formula 1.
“Testing  was the last time I drove at Mugello, so I can’t say I’m very familiar!” said Pérez. “I’ve watched plenty of onboards, of course, but that only helps so much. We’ll have to get up to speed as we go during the weekend and that’s going to be a big test for everyone.
“It’s a real challenge for sure. Sometimes you can make a mistake at one corner and it can disrupt your rhythm, so it takes time to acclimatise. It’s about being efficient with track time. I’ll watch a lot of videos to help get up to speed.”