Mugello makes a chaotic F1 debut but it’s a familiar winner: 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Review

Situated in the Tuscan hills of northern Italy, the Mugello Circuit for the first time hosted an F1 Grand Prix. It last hosted F1 cars for a test session 2012 but never a Grand Prix. With its narrow layout overtaking was expected to be difficult but with its sweeping high-speed corners, it was a quick circuit which delivered an almighty chaotic and entertaining race. The only question left us; can F1 go to Mugello more often?

We would not have had a race at Mugello without the pandemic but it was nicely planned to mark Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix as a team. Everything was a celebration of Ferrari. They emblazoned their cars with a burgundy special edition livery to match their initial colours from the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, Mick Schumacher got to take his fathers 2004 Ferrari for a spin and even the Mercedes Safety Car was painted red as a tribute, It’s just as well, it was the only red car to lead a lap. We saw it come out three times and after waiting three years for one, two red flags come at once after Monza the weekend before. Seven cars did not get past the opening 10 laps but we did see some racing eventually with F1 having 213th different driver on the podium but it was an all too familiar race winner [Pictured above; Image from formula1.com]… read more

Pit lane chaos leads to an unexpected but thoroughly deserved win for Pierre Gasly and Alpha Tauri! 2020 Italian Grand Prix Review

What can I say after a race like the one we saw at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix? It does not happen often, but every so often you get a race where all of the usual suspects have difficulties and someone totally unexpected, a real underdog takes the glory of a Formula One race win. It was the first time since Australia 2013; 146 races since someone who did not drive for Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari took the chequered flag and the first race since Hungary 2012 neither team were on the podium. The race winner though [Pictured celebrating above; image from formula1.com], could not have been a more popular one!

It was a real rollercoaster of a Grand Prix weekend. It was an emotional farewell for Frank and Claire Williams in their last race in charge of the family team; the protest over the punishment handed out to Racing Point over the legality of their car closed and Renault announced they will be changing their name for 2021. The race saw a red flag for the first time since Baku 2017 and the first to see a standing restart rather than behind the Safety Car which really added something different. With the red flag coming halfway through and different strategies in play we got to see something of a reverse grid race and it was certainly entertaining. Qualifying on Saturday also marked the 5oth anniversary of Jochen Rindt’s death at Monza; F1’s only Posthmously crowned Champion. read more

Hamilton dominates, Renault improve while Ferrari struggle on a weekend of high emotion: 2020 Belgian Grand Prix Review

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium is one of THE favourite circuits for drivers and fans alike so it was great to see the race going ahead this year. Usually, it is the traditional first race back after the summer break but it was the 7th of the unusual format of the 2020 season as F1 attempts to fulfil a now confirmed 17 race calendar. F1 arrived with a new concord arrangement in place with all ten teams committed to the sport until 2025, Williams under new ownership and the final races for the year confirmed.

A year on from the tragic passing of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert, the return to Spa was always going to be an emotionally charged weekend for the paddock with so many drivers in the paddock close friends of his including Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. A minutes silence was held before each race from F1 down to F3. read more

A dominant Hamilton wins in Spain: 2020 Spanish Grand Prix Review

The Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluyna hosted its 30th edition to the Spanish Grand Prix a little bit later than planned this year. Slightly surprisingly going ahead six months after pre-season testing at the circuit in February, it was a different story to those cool temperatures. After the 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone, the heat and tyres was always going to be a factor; would Mercedes struggle again? Could Max Verstappen bring himself into play? Consequently, for most, it was a two-stop race but it is a difficult circuit to overtake on so while lap records tumbled again, it wasn’t that entertaining of a race as only three finished on the lead lap.

It was notable for several reasons though. Kimi Raikkonen broke the record for most distance raced in an F1 car on lap 37 at over 52,000 miles; more than twice the circumference of the Earth, Sergio Perez returned to the paddock after his experience with Coronavirus and potentially, the last time in Qualifying Mercedes could use their infamous ‘party mode’ with the high power qualifying modes expected to be banned by the time F1 goes racing in Belgium. For the race winner Lewis Hamilton [Pictured above, image from South China Morning Post], he recorded a landmark150th front row start and translated that into his 88th victory and 156th podium; taking the record for most podiums in F1 outright. read more

A Celebration of F1, blistering tyres causing Mercedes pain and it’s a Max Verstappen win: 70th Anniversary Grand Prix Review

No two races are ever the same, even if they are held at the same circuit and for the second time in 2020, Silverstone showed just that. F1 celebrated its 70th birthday this year and the second race around the Northamptonshire track marked the occasion; fittingly the location of the first-ever F1 Grand Prix in 1950 won by Farina. It was a race those present 70 years ago and fans around the world could be proud of.

After the late tyre failure of last weekend, tyres were always going to be a topic of conversation especially with tyre supplier Pirelli bringing a step softer in their compounds to this second race. Could they do it more often? That meant a two-stop race was the way forward for most with only three drivers a making it to the chequered flag stopping once; it makes it a more interesting race even though no driver started on the soft tyre for the first time since Pirelli became tyre supplier in 2011. We saw action up and down the grid, some spins too as Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s all-time podium record; 155. However, the Mercedes dominant start to 2020 came to an end and could we be seeing the start of a title challenge? read more

Hamilton wins historic 7th British Grand Prix amid late tyre chaos: 2020 British Grand Prix Review

The British Grand Prix has been run at Silverstone for 33 years and it never fails to deliver a dramatic race weekend. We saw a dramatic late return to F1 for Nico Hulkenberg after Sergio Perez tested positive for coronavirus just coming into the weekend. On the track, there were plenty of spins, the lap record kept tumbling in Qualifying but the ultimate talking point after the Grand Prix was the tyres after a host of tyre deflations. That is where this review will begin.

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli has a mixed relationship with Silverstone and that revealed itself again in the final stages. Daniil Kvyat had already crashed out earlier in the race to bring out the second Safety car after a rear right tyre deflation before Valtteri Bottas suffered a similar deflation on the front left. Carlos Sainz too suffered a suffer deflation and the race leader, Lewis Hamilton, on the final lap. Hamilton managed to get it to the finish line, I don’t know how he did it. This is not the first time though. 2017 saw the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel suffer late deflations in quick succession while in 2013, no less than six drivers suffered tyre blowouts. read more

Hamilton takes a dominant 8th win at the Hungaroring: 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix Review

On the outskirts of Budapest, the Hungaroring hosted the third part of the opening triple-header to the much-changed 2020 F1 season. The rain has rarely had an impact on proceedings at the circuit at this time of year; given only two of the previous 35 Hungarian Grand Prix have been run in wet conditions.

Despite the possibility of rain most of the weekend, there was minimal running in the wet FP2 and while qualifying was dry, the threat of rain remained constant throughout the race. In the event, other than a tricky opening few laps on Intermediate tyres [shown above; Image from Reuters, Kamar], the track eventually dried up and we saw some good racing. Track records fell in both qualifying and the race, Red Bull showed some decent race pace on a disappointing weekend, Ferrari were expected to be stronger and the intrigue in the driver market keeps on coming. read more

Austria Round Two sees Lewis Hamilton dominant and another dramatic late charge by Lando Norris: 2020 Styrian Grand Prix Review

For the first time in Formula One history, a circuit has held successive races in the dame season and the Red Bull Ring in the Styrian hills hosting the first-ever Styrian Grand Prix and it did not disappoint. We did not get a carbon copy of the previous weekend. Due to the weather Qualifying was in doubt so the second practice times could’ve been used to set the grid. The treacherously wet qualifying we did get was intense and mixed the grid up with a few drivers out of position setting up an intriguing race with multiple teammate squabbles which ended in tears for Ferrari.

While the ten F1 teams remained in Austria we did see some developments with the first regarding the addition of two more races to the already scheduled 8 and the surprise return of Fernando Alonso to the sport with Renault in 2021. I will pass comment on them later but first, for the reigning World Champion, racing at the Red Bull Ring in successive races represented a redemptive weekend. read more

F1 returns, Reliability issues galore, Red Bull, Ferrari and Hamilton pain, but it’s Bottas who wins: 2020 Austrian Grand Prix Review

After seven months, 217 days, F1 returned with the first race of the delayed 2020 F1 season at the Red Bull Ring in the Styrian Hills of Austria. We don’t know just how many races we will get in 2020 but judging by the Austrian Grand Prix, the chaotic, thoroughly entertaining races often with twists and turns that defined the second half of 2019 look set to continue.

For a race that saw all 20 drivers finish for only the 9th time in F1 history, reliability was key for the wrong reasons this year as nine cars failed to finish. When asked about it by Sky Sports Martin Brundle, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner cited it being the season opener being a key factor. It has merit. We do see chaotic season openers and nine also failed to finish on the first race of the hybrid era in 2014; only 7 finished the opening race in 2008. The first races of a season can be problematic for reliability but could the extra shutdown with lockdown have contributed? With these sort of races there always going to be loads of stories of missed opportunities. That is certainly what we saw in Austria but the one constant was the race leader [Pictured in the feature image above; image from formula1.com]. read more

The F1 2020 Season Preview

Eventually, Formula One racing is returning this weekend as the 2020 season gets underway. When the lights go out on Sunday for the Austrian Grand Prix it will have been 217 days since the last race in Abu Dhabi; the third longest gap between seasons in F1 history and the first time the season has started in Europe since 1966.

2020 was meant to be a record-breaking 22 race season before the coronavirus pandemic swept the world. Vietnam was meant to debut with its maiden Grand Prix in Hanoi and Zandvoort was meant to return for the first time since 1985. China, the country the outbreak originated in was the first race to be cancelled before the teams arrived in Melbourne and left before running a single session at Albert Park after a member of the McLaren team tested positive, prompting its cancellation. read more