The Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, more commonly known as simply the Mugello Circuit is located in the Scarperia e San Piero, Tuscany, Italy, on the outskirts of Florence. The track has a length is 5.245 km (3.259 mi), comprising of 15 turns and a 1.141 km (0.709 mi) long straight. The track is owned by Ferrari, and is no stranger to Formula One, having been used for a mid-season test in 2012. Formula 2 however, has never run a test session or race at Mugello.
The current Official Lap Record is 1:39.07, set by ex-F1 driver Riccardo Patrese in the 1985 1000km of Mugello, in a Lancia LC2 Group C prototype. The unofficial lap record, set by Romain Grosjean in 2012 during the test, was a 1:21.035. In comparison, the fastest lap set by Formula 2 this weekend has been a 1:30.133.
Owing to the twisty nature of the track, a single DRS zone will be available for use, the start-finish straight.
The Things to Watch Out For:
Ilott & Shwartzman’s fightback to the front
Callum Ilott came into the weekend at the top of the driver standings, but following a 12th placed finish yesterday, the brit has fallen to second, 4 points shy of Mick Schumacher. To further compound problems for the Brit, points leader Schumacher who finished 5th yesterday will start the race from the second row on the grid in 4, while Ilott will be forced to fight his way up the field from 12th.
Ilott was forced to pit for a new front wing when he ran into the back of Tsunoda at the first safety car restart, after the Carlin driver hit Ticktum. Ilott fought his way up the field following the stop, but ultimately finished outside of the points in 12th..
Fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member and championship contender Robert Shwartzman also had a disastrous race, retiring midway. Shwartzman was involved in a pre-grid incident, after the Campos of Jack Aitken ran into his rear in the pitlane, as Shwartzman slowed to allow Lundgaard to leave his pit box, but an unsighted Aitken drove into the back of Shwartzman. This led to Shwartzman struggling for pace in the early stages of the race with suspected diffuser damage, before retiring.
Drivers’ Championship Battle
A gap of 26 points separates the top 5 in the Formula 2 Driver Standings ahead of the Mugello Feature Race, with 4 of the drivers currently signed to the junior programmes of Formula 1 teams. The top 2 drivers in the standings, are once again Ferrari juniors, this time Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott, who trade places in the standings. The pair are separated by 4 points, and are trailed by former championship leader, and fellow Ferrari junior, Robert Shwartzman with 140 points. Renault junior Christian Lundgaard sits in 4th with 128 points, while Nikita Mazepin is 5th, 1 point behind Lundaard. Just outside the Top 5 is Yuki Tsunoda, who sits in 6th, 4 points shy of Mazepin.
Yesterday’s disastrous Feature Race certainly hurt Mick Schumacher’s main title rivals, namely Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman, who failed to score any points.
Teams’ Championship Battle – Prema vs UNI-Virtuosi
While the Formula 2 Drivers’ Championship has proven extremely competitive this season, the same cannot really be said for the Teams’ Championship, which appears to be becoming a 2 horse race between Prema & UNI-Virtuosi. Ahead of Yesterday’s Feature Race, 31 points separated the 2 teams in the standings, while the gap to next nearest team, Hitech Grand Prix was a whooping 76 points behind Virtuosi.
Ahead of today’s Sprint Race, Prema have extended their advantage to 42 points, after Virtuosi netted no points in the Feature Race. Hitech Grand Prix have however, closed down the gap to Virtuosi, from 76 points to 35 points, following a 1-2 finish for it’s drivers yesterday.
Both teams are running with strong driver lineups, comprising of Formula 1 Junior Drivers. UNI-Virtuosi runs Guan Yu Zhou (Renault) & Callum Ilott (Ferrari), while Prema run a full Ferrari lineup of Shwartzman & Schumacher. UNI-Virtuosi had looked strong in the pre-season Bahrain tests, but at the present, Prema appear to have the upper hand in the Teams’ title battle, with their increased margin in the lead being a sign of this. The Prema duo of Schumacher and Shwartzman have made more visits to the podium combined, compared to the Virtuosi pair of Zhou and Ilott.
As mentioned earlier, however, the teams’ title fight could easily swing in favour of Virtuosi, should there be any further incidents between the Prema pair…