Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Imola, 2020

Imola and Mugello belong on the F1 calendar “from a sporting point of view”

2020 F1 season

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Daniil Kvyat says the two Italian tracks which have been added to the 2020 F1 calendar deserve their places because of the challenge they offer drivers.

Last week Formula 1 confirmed the championship will return to Imola later this year, for the first time since 2006. It had already added Mugello to the schedule, which has been heavily revised as a result of the global pandemic, meaning three races will be held in Italy this year.

“I’ve always been fond of the idea of having Imola, Monza and Mugello on the calendar,” said Kvyat, who spent much of his early motor racing career in Italy.

“I thought it would be like a bit of a dream because I think all these tracks really deserve to be in the Formula 1 calendar from a sporting point of view. I don’t know about politically and everything else, but I always loved those tracks.”

Imola was a fixture on the F1 calendar between 1980 and 2006. The Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit, meanwhile, will hold its first ever F1 race in September.

Kvyat won a double-header event at the Tuscan track on his way to the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship title in 2012.

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“Mugello, I did one [round] in Formula Renault 2.0,” he said. “I really enjoyed the track. I think we will also be able to enjoy it very much in a Formula 1 car.

Mugello circuit
Mugello circuit information
“It’s very fast corners, very cool and enjoyable to drive. I think with modern cars it will be really cool. So it’s really cool to have these three tracks on the calendar. I think it’s great.”

Kvyat and AlphaTauri team mate Pierre Gasly (pictured) tested at Imola earlier this year. Gasly also rates Mugello highly. “It’s a fantastic track,” he said. “I had one experience in Formula Renault 2.0 as well.

“I really enjoyed driving there, really high speed corners. And I think in Formula 1 it’s going to be again a step better and a really impressive track for these kind of cars. So I’m really looking forward to go there.

“Plus with the Formula 1 culture in Italy, by that time I don’t know if this whole situation will be better with the Covid, but if we could have the spectators and the fans coming that would be just amazing. So let’s see how the situation will evolve.

“But on our side, drivers and the driving side, I think it’s going to be really enjoyable to go there with F1 cars.”

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22 comments on “Imola and Mugello belong on the F1 calendar “from a sporting point of view””

  1. Most definitely the historic tracks have far more value more a sporting and history pov.

    But F1, LM and Bernie in the past care more about money than anything else, and thats why F1 races in dictatorships and is sponsored by dictatorships…

    On top of that everyone while whine that overtaking is impossible, because the concept of the cars and of the tracks havent matched since the late 80s.

  2. Well, now that we are doing sporting value, there are many tracks that belong on the calendar, and might not get featured otherwise.

    Mugello, Imola, are fine examples. I can think of Donigton, and slowly for my wishes calendar would be complete.

    But Mugello really is a beast of a track and Imola is legendary.

    I will love to watch onboards, how drivers tackle these tracks, that quite certainly don’t fit today’s stop and go, two big drs straights, two chicanes, two s-es tracks, that are the norm.

    Imola is a track, that makes men out of boys. I am not sure how overtaking will be done there, but by all means bravery can be quite a thing there.

    1. Donington doesn’t have FIA Grade 1 status at the moment so it can’t be used for F1 unfortunately.

  3. Mugello is new to F1 and me. Looking at the layout, there are many medium-high speed corners. The lateral forces on the drivers is gonna be something else !! Tyre wear is certainly going to be an issue here–DAS might make a very big difference for Mercedes , not that they are gonna need it to win.

  4. Who cares what the drivers think are fun tracks to drive. I too think Imola is great in the simulator, but when it’s the worst track in the world for racing it should not be on the F1 calendar, simple as.

    1. I care @balue. It’s not “simple as”. It’s not going to be worse than Monaco is it, and multiple races at the Hungaroring shows you don’t need to design a track around great ‘racing’ and overtaking to have a great race. We even saw that in the last race at Imola in 2006.

      1. @john-h

        It’s not going to be worse than Monaco is it

        Even Barcelona have been worse than Monaco, and from what I remember Imola is even worse than that. 06 proved how useless it is, and so did the year before. It’s not exciting having two cars fighting when you know there’s no chance of an overtake and all is decided in the pit stops.

        1. Since then, the last chicane is removed. Overtaking can be even too easy this time, depending how long DRS zone is made.

  5. Wake me when the rain arrives or the Safety Car comes out.
    Great driver’s circuits, but very ordinary racing circuits for F1.

    1. F1 : “A random country is thinking of building a new racetrack. The design is yet unknown but it’s said they want to include elevation changes, gravel traps, blind fast corners and create a natural flow throught the circuit. Promoters think that the circuit is going to provide a challenge for teams and drivers and the fans will love it…”

      F1 Fans : NOOO! It’s definately going to be boring! We all know cars are never the problem, it’s always the tracks!!! Why doesn’t F1 listen to us? We don’t want classic old-school circuits like Spa or Silverstone, we want the cookie-cutter new ones with the big flat tarmac run-offs in the authoritarian regimes! Bring us more Sochi and Abu Dhabi please!!!

      1. The cars are the problem. But so is the choice of circuits.
        What do Spa and Silverstone have that Imola and Mugello don’t?
        Long, wide straights into decent braking zones, for one thing. Medium/high speed corners that lead into long straights are another. Multiple long straights around the lap… Places where cars can close the gap after losing time in the corners, basically.

        Nobody is asking for more Sochi because it is all 90 degree corners tied together with uselessly short straights and only one decent overtaking zone.
        Abu Dhabi has only 2 overtaking opportunities between the turn 7 hairpin and turn 11 – everything else is 90 degree corners linked by tiny straights, and the lap is long enough that cars are nowhere near each other when they get around to turn 7 again next lap.

        1. If the cars are the problem, irrespective on what circuit they race on, then it doesn’t really matter in what track they race on, does it? We can have a good race in Shanghai and a boring one in Spa just because it happened to rain, or a late Safety Car mixed the strategies, or Mercedes suddenly got it wrong with the setup. And so, since it doesn’t really matter where the cars race and since we can’t predict how the current cars will race in an one-off race in a circuit like Imola (last race: 2006) or Mugello (last race: never), how can you say that the racing will be boring or ordinary there?

          As for the layouts…
          •Spa has a 1.1km straight into a good (not very slow) breaking zone, right after the fastest corners in the entire calendar (Eau Rouge – Radillion)! and another 1.5km curved straight that leads to Bus Stop that very few try to overtake there because they’d rather wait for the big DRS zones after, so it’s kinda pointless at the moment.
          •Silverstone has a 0.7km straight into a quite fast corner that starts right after the super fast Maggotts-Becketts complex and another 0.6km straight after Aintree that leads into a not so slow breaking zone (Brooklands).
          •Mugello has a 1.2km straight after a medium speed corner (not so fast as Eau Rouge or Maggotts) that leads to a heavier breaking zone than the ones in Spa or Silverstone. It would feature heavy tyre wear, because of the corners, so more pit stops and different strategies and the teams have absolutely no data to help themselves and it would most likely feature a very long DRS zone (not ideal) so there will be a good amount of overtaking.
          •Imola has a 1.3km straight between two medium-slow corners and other smaller 0.5km, 0.7km straights that connect the track between fast/medium/slow corners. Also they will have just 1 free-practice and not 3, so even less time to optimize the setups, so more unpredictable race.

          So far i can’t see how these two tracks are so so not-ideal for F1 compared to the most tracks we have on the calendar.

          1. Of course it matters where they race in terms of race quality.
            You mentioned Sochi and Abu Dhabi in a negative context earlier (those races are generally uneventful) and Spa and Silverstone in a positive context (they generally provide more interesting races).
            Tracks that provide multiple overtaking opportunities and can assist the cars in staying close together are generally ‘better’ for F1 racing.
            The cars do indeed suck (for racing), but they suck a lot less when the circuit provides more opportunities for them to be closer together.
            What would the Red Bull Ring be like in the original configuration and why did they change it? Why does Silverstone keep evolving? Why has circuit design generally (everywhere) changed so much?
            Safety requirements, and the need to increase competitive and entertainment opportunities, of course. Sometimes the designers/owners get it right, sometimes they don’t.

            Thank you for the analysis of each circuit. Numbers mean little, though, as the actual layout and interaction of each section and sequence is the determining factor on whether they ‘work’ or not.
            Mugello hasn’t yet failed to deliver on entertainment value in F1 (but only because they haven’t raced there) and while Imola hasn’t hosted modern F1 cars in competition – it has both a history of dull, uneventful races and a current reputation for being uninspiring with other series also.
            Anyone who’s been involved in motorsport or even watched it for long enough can read a circuit with reasonable accuracy long before the cars arrive there.

            Still, ultimately it comes down to the events and conditions on the day. And F1 doesn’t exactly throw up loads of surprises there either…

          2. Far too many assumptions synonymous. Most of the tracks purposefully designed for ‘racing’ turn out the least memorable races time and again. Undulating tracks for example are not being discussed here, but Austria, Hungaroring, Interlagos, etc. all have level changes making it easier to make small mistakes in braking zones and let another driver get close before the next straight/corner.
            Bah Humbug!

          3. It takes less than 30 seconds to view a track layout to see what sort of racing it will produce before it’s even been built.
            Sochi and Abu Dhabi were doomed to be racing failures long before the first bulldozer arrived.
            Bahrain, Sepang and COTA are good (relatively recent) examples of getting the balance and structure right (or right-ish). Every element needs to be in the right place, relative to everything around it.
            It’s not a science, it’s an artform. Some art is ‘good’, some is ‘bad’ depending on the viewer’s preferences. Some art has one little bit wrong that just ruins the entire thing.

            Combine the ever changing car performance and how they achieve it, and no design will last forever as a classic. Imola was lovely back in the 60’s, for example, but it just doesn’t work with the modern cars.
            Even the great Eau Rouge section is now little more than a kink in a straight to a modern F1 car. Silverstone keeps making an effort to keep up with the demands of the cars that race there.
            It wouldn’t take a lot of design to improve Abu Dhabi or Sochi, but it would take a lot of time and money. That’s what it’s all about these days…

          4. Tracks that provide multiple overtaking opportunities and can assist the cars in staying close together are generally ‘better’ for F1 racing.

            That maybe be true in theory and it might become true after 2022 when we fix the cars, but right now, racing is almost entirely random. Just look this year’s 2 Austrian GPs, one was quite good because of a late Safety Car and the other, on the exact same track with the exact same overtaking opportunites as before just one week later, was not as good and somewhat boring.

            If you look over our ‘rate-the-race’ category, where we the fans rate the races by our own experience and not because of ‘that circuit has a more straights than the other’, you will find many contradicting outcomes such as:
            Hungaroring, a narrow track with many fast corners that cars can’t follow each other and just a single overtaking spot, has 2 races (from 2008 to 2020) in the top-6! (33% of the best 6 races of the last 12 years took place in Hungaroring) and also lies 8th out of the 29 circuits F1 has raced since 2008 in general when it comes to how good racing it produces.
            Abu Dhabi, Valencia and Catalunya, all 3 tracks where you instantly think ‘bad racing there, must avoid’, have 3 races in the top-20. The vast majority of them were boring but 3 of them were for one reason or another really good.
            Montreal, a good track overall, has 2 races in the top-10 and 2 races in the worst-10.
            Hockeheim has the record for the second best and the second worst race.
            The list goes on…

            Why does Silverstone keep evolving? Why has circuit design generally (everywhere) changed so much?
            Safety requirements, and the need to increase competitive and entertainment opportunities, of course. Sometimes the designers/owners get it right, sometimes they don’t.

            Imola hasn’t hosted modern F1 cars in competition – it has both a history of dull, uneventful races

            You’d be surprised to find out which Italian circuit altered its layout for 2020 to increase overtaking opportunities…
            Also comparing racing in Imola in 2006 [old layout, took place in May, in 2006 cars (the most recent ones there), where teams had data from every year there since 1980] …
            to Imola in 2020 [new layout, takes place in November (so it’s quite possible it could rain), in 2020 cars (since 2006 we had 3 major aerodynamic new regulations and many more smaller ones, we’ve lost refuelling, cars are about 100kg heavier now, and we also didn’t have DRS back then, and Pirelli tyres, and hybrid complex engines and many more), and no team has any data there, and it’s a 2-day race weekend with limited practice at a new circuit] …
            is like comparing Nurburgring’s 5.1km track in 2020 to Nurburgring’s 22.8km track in 1951 and saying “i didn’t like the 1951 race there, Ascari won so easily… so this year’s race it’s definately going to be boring as well…”

  6. I like to hear how drivers are looking forward to these tracks. It’s good to hear Kvyat being enthusiastic about racing on a track, shows how much they like the driving.

    For me however, I really just want to see good racing. Sure, we need a couple of these tracks that really challenge the drivers on the calendar. But i am not really looking forward to the races, much like Suzuka (apart from weather throwing in a spanner) the qualifying laps are often the highlights of these kinds of races, not the race itself.

    I actually like that this year will be quite a bit different, since it clearly is a completely different kind of season. Having tracks that we didn’t get in the mix somehow feels right. And especially the fact that we even get so many tracks back on the calendar to settle the “what if F1 went racing here with modern cars” that we get every year for the likes of Mugello, Imola, Kyalami, Zandvoort (;-)) Nurnbergring, Portimao and many many others. Instead of getting 3 Austrian races, 2 Hockenheim races, 3 Silverlverstones and 3 each of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi with a few of the “regulars” thrown in to make up a full calendar.

    But unless they surprise us with really great racing I would be fine with them as a one off and having a more “normal” season next year.

  7. I think the racing experience this time at Imola will be an improvement on F1’s stint there. The re-profiled circuit will bypass the old final chicane to make for a fairly bendy straight not unlike that of Baku. I expect with DRS, that Tamburello will provide us with plenty of overtaking on the Sunday.

    Despite not being a fan of DRS, I think in this instance, it has the potential to turn a procession into a cracker of a race. Having watched back the 05′ San Marino Grand Prix, there were a couple of battles such as the one between Webber and Trulli that really could have escalated into something dramatic, if Webber had a bit of DRS assistance on the run down to Rivazza.

    I think having a tandem DRS zone, going into Rivazza and then another going down the main straight would be fantastic. The car overtaking into the first zone would likely be a bit out of shape heading onto the main straight leaving him vulnerable to the car behind. It would be a great sight to behold.

    It’s also likely that we’ll see Daniel Ricciardo throwing it up the inside on the entry to Tosa which I can’t wait to see!

    1. I don’t think the removal of the final chicane or adding a DRS zone on the run to Tamburello will make any difference because the track is pretty narrow & the way the track curves/narrows on the run to Tamburello always gives the car ahead an advantage in terms of car placement. That was always the main reason there wasn’t more overtaking into Tamburello even with the narrower cars from 1998 onwards.

      I’d also point to the 2 GP2 Asia races that took place at Imola in 2011 on the revised layout. With cars that could race/overtake better than F1 they still found overtaking nearly impossible & none of the categories i’ve seen race it since have featured that much overtaking either.

      I love Imola, The race in 1989 was the first F1 race I ever saw & it’s a circuit i’ve always loved driving on the racing sims (Although I hate the current Variante Alta they changed in 2006) & which i’ve always enjoyed watching cars lap round. But since 1995 it’s simply not been good from a racing perspective regardless of the revisions they have made & none of the races i’ve seen on the current layout make me think it will be any better now.

  8. The Tifosi will go non-linear when Mercedes sets the lap record on Ferrari’s own track.

  9. Lots of hate for the Sochi Autodrom but turn 4 is always fun to watch IMHO. Could be a fun race if we ever get a wet Russian GP.

  10. Which circuit that deserves it’s place on the calender depends on the racing it produces and how it suits the era of modern f1 cars.

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