For the very first time, the Formula 2 series will race at Mugello. Everyone is very much looking forward to the completely new experience of tackling the 5.245 kilometre Tuscan track. Some of the drivers have raced here in junior categories, but in a Formula 2 car it’s bound to be more demanding, with just one 45 minute free practice session prior to qualifying.
Championship. After the Monza races, Callum Ilott leads the championship on 149 points, after finishing fourth in the Feature Race and winning the Sprint. It could have been even better for the Englishman, but for his engine stalling after his tyre change when he looked to be heading for the win on Saturday. He was in great form however, having started from pole and so he comes to Mugello in confident mood.
Making progress. Mick Schumacher is on the up and up with five consecutive podium finishes and a win in the Monza Feature Race, so that he is definitely a title contender. With a big points haul in Monza, the German is second in the classification, six points off Ilott. He is hoping for another strong weekend, on a track where made it to the podium in 2016 when racing in Formula 4.
Hoping for better. Robert Shwartzman is hoping for a change of fortune, after Monza didn’t go as planned, qualifying down in 16th, caught out by the red flag in qualifying following Schumacher’s off at the Variante Ascari. Even though he therefore only picked up eight points last weekend, he is still third in the championship, three points behind Schumacher and nine off Ilott.
Good memories. Marcus Armstrong has fond memories of Mugello as it was here in 2017 that the New Zealander won the Italian Formula 4 championship, with a win and a second place, proving he has an affinity for the Tuscan track. Nevertheless, three years on, a stiffer challenge awaits. Armstrong’s clear improvement in performance terms was not reflected in the results last weekend, when he had a problem in qualifying and then a penalty in the Feature Race. Giuliano Alesi is the only FDA driver never to have raced at Mugello. The Frenchman will not have it easy therefore as he will have to familiarise himself with its 15 corners. However, there is enough track time for him to progress day by day, without too much stress.
Interesting challenge. “It will be a busy and very interesting weekend,” reckons Marco Matassa, head of the FDA technical department. “After a strong showing in Monza last week, everything is in place for another good round, but there is plenty of work to do. The Hard and Soft compounds are available and tyre management in the race will be far from straightforward, one more challenge, especially for the youngest drivers. But for all them the first task in free practice will be getting to grips with a track where mistakes are punished. It won't be easy dealing with this track, but that will make it all the more pleasing for those who have a good weekend.”