THE 2020 TUSCAN GRAND PRIX WAS INSANE! THERE WERE 2 RED FLAGS IN THE SAME RACE!!! There were 2 Safety Cars and 3 MASSIVE crashes! I would be EXTREMELY surprised if anyone would disagree that the 2020 Tuscan GP was the best race of 2020 so far. This race was PERFECT, because, as mentioned above there were multiple Safety Cars and multiple huge crashes. The race director stopped the race under Red Flag conditions multiple times. We saw plenty of overtaking and battling too for good measure. And of course, how can anybody forget that this race was Ferrari’s 1000th GP in F1? I’m sure you would agree with me when I say that this race will be hard to beat. What could possibly make a race better than Mugello’s CRAZY Formula 1 debut? Continue reading, as we review the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix on F1ntastic.com.
2020 Tuscan Grand Prix – The Safety Cars and the Red Flags
For the 4th time in F1 history, there were multiple red flags in a race. This race equalled the record for most red flags in a race. There have never been more than 2 in the same race. There were 2 incidents that caused red flags. The first was on Lap 6 at the Safety Car restart, and the second was on Lap 43 when Lance Stroll’s Racing Point flew into the barriers. In this Race Review, we’ll be looking into the crashes that caused the red flags. We’ll also be looking into the nature of the Mugello circuit. It had a major role in the race director stopping the race. We’ll also be looking at the Lap 1 crash that brought out the Safety Car just 4 corners into the first lap of the race.
The Multi-Car Accident on Lap 1
If any of you guys watched the race live, you would’ve heard David Croft mentioning in the commentary that there were only 4 corners of racing. Things were clean into Turn 1, but at the exit of T1 coming into Turn 2, everything went wrong. There were actually 2 major incidents at Turn 2. The first involved Pierre Gasly getting squeezed by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and consequently hitting them both. Gasly then hit the rear end of Max Verstappen, and so did Raikkonen to make matters worse for the Dutchman. A bit further up the road, the second incident involved Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll making contact, which spun the McLaren around and then resulted in Sebastian Vettel breaking his front wing. Both of the incidents at Turn 2 happened at the same time, which is incredibly exciting and uncommon.
Looking into the first incident, many don’t want to say who’s actually at fault. You may be thinking, why is that? Well, that’s because Pierre Gasly was the main driver to cause the collision. The accident was a racing incident, so there aren’t any penalties, and Gasly didn’t really do something really wrong. It’s just that when you look at the footage of the accident, you can’t help but realise that Gasly should’ve backed out. It was obvious that Raikkonen and Grosjean were gonna sandwich him. Gasly and Verstappen got stuck in the gravel trap, while Raikkonen escaped with only a broken front wing, and Grosjean sideopod had damage. In conclusion, it was a racing incident and I don’t think you should blame any of the drivers involved. I just feel that Gasly should’ve backed out of that because that gap was always going to shrink.
Fun fact! Did you know that the exact same incident with the sandwich that happened in F1 happened in F2 and F3 as well?! 3 drivers were fighting on the first lap at the entry of Turn 2, and the driver in the middle became the middle of the sandwich and retired! In F2, Jack Aitken was on the far left, Guanyu Zhou was in the middle, and Mick Schumacher was on the far right. Guanzy Zhou, due to damage to his suspension, retired. In F3, It was more of the 2 cars on the left crashing rather than the car on the far right, but they were still 3 wide going into Turn 2.
\This crash broke many hearts, because the championship leader, Logan Sargeant, made contact with Lirim Zendeli, which took him out of the race. Sargeant would’ve won the F3 world championship. Tuscany was the last round on the F3 calendar.
Coming to the incident where Sainz spun around, this was also just a racing incident. Stroll was trying to overtake Albon down the inside of Turn 1. However, Hamilton kind of blocked him off a little bit. That really slowed Stroll down and opened up a space for Carlos Sainz. Sainz went down the inside for Turn 2, but he actually went very wide on the exit of Turn 2. He subsequently tapped the left side of Stroll’s car. This tap was quite light, but it still spun Sainz around. The cars behind Sainz like Perez, Ocon and Daniil Kvyat could avoid Sainz because he hadn’t fully spun yet when they were passing him. But for Vettel, things weren’t so good. Isn’t it kind of strange that the man replacing Vettel at Ferrari next year had the exact same kind of spin that Vettel has faced so many times?
And on top of that, Vettel himself damaged his front wing because fo Sainz spinning and blocking the track. When Vettel was coming out of Turn 2 and going into Turn 3, Sainz was completely sideways and blocking the track. Vettel tried 3 times to avoid the McLaren, but there was just nowhere to go. Vettel had to come into the pits at the end of Lap 1, which didn’t affect him too much, seeing that the Safety Car was out for around 5-6 laps after that. The main cause for this incident is that Sainz really wanted that position from Stroll. He might have been a bit too ambitious in terms of the braking for Turn 2. He was braking too late, which is why he understeered into Stroll, and hit him and then spun.
Both of the Turn 2 incidents were racing incidents. The stewards didn’t award any penalties to any driver for any of the incidents. In total, 6 cars were part of the incidents, but only 2 cars retired. The Safety Car came in at the end of Lap 6, which leads us straight onto the massive crash that happened straight off the Safety Car restart.
The MONUMENTAL Crash at the Safety Car Restart That Was the Main Feature of the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix
This crash that was the main feature of the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix was incredibly dangerous and involved many cars. The Safety Car was to come back to the pits at the end of Lap 6, and the race was to resume on Lap 7. Valterri Bottas was in the lead. He had to time the race start perfectly to get past Lewis Hamilton. Bottas was finally in a position to win the race, and he hasn’t won since the season opener in Austria.
Bottas finally got the chance to prove that he can beat Hamilton, so he didn’t want to lose that lead at the Safety Car restart. However, at Mugello, it’s very difficult to stay ahead off a restart like that. The drivers behind are ready to floor the throttle as soon as possible. Hamilton was then going to use that long main straight and that powerful slipstream to make a move into Turn 1.
Bottas knew exactly what to do. Mugello’s main straight is long, but the Safety Car line is very far up the straight. The Safety Car restart rules say that drivers can only overtake after 3 procedures are complete. The first is that the Safety Car driver turns the LED lights off. This indicates that the SC will return to the pits. The 2nd is that the marshals and the screens on track display the green flags. A green flag means all clear, resume racing. The last is that no overtaking will take place, and racing will not resume until the race leader crosses the Safety Car line. There were issues in all 3 of these rules in this incident. I will refer to them as I take you through the accident.
Let’s go back to the first rule about the Safety Car turning off its lights. Lewis Hamilton said on the radio that the SC lights went off very late, and that’s what was the problem. Well, that does make sense, because Bottas would want to know that the SC is coming in, so he would want to build that free space between himself and Hamilton. However, Bottas didn’t want to be able to go fast early. Hamilton could use the long straight and the slipstream to have a go at Bottas. Bottas wanted Hamilton to have the least time possible to overtake him. I think Bottas played it well. He was going slow, warming up his tires on the main straight, and then he suddenly sped up. I don’t think he’s at fault here, because he didn’t care about what was going on at the back, his priority is Hamilton.
But there is one thing that could’ve been a problem. By the time Bottas gets to the SC line, he still isn’t at full throttle. That could go against him, but I think that Bottas is safe. You can hear from the radio message that Romain Grosjean doesn’t agree. He thinks that Bottas was at fault for the crash, but I think Bottas had every right to go slow until the SC line arrived.
Please note that I will now refer to the Safety Car as SC, as it is shorter and easier to understand.
Now, this is where the SC line rule comes in. When the SC line was so late, I think that Bottas got carried away with going slow. The cars at the back of the pack didn’t realise that Bottas wasn’t speeding up. If the SC line was earlier, the cars at the back of the pack will be 100% sure that the leading car was speeding up. Another thing that confused the drivers at the rear end of the pack was the flags. The marshals and the screens on the track were displaying green flags, and so the drivers at the back just darted since they thought the race already started.
These factors all contributed to the crash, but there’s another twist. The Williams cars. After people saw the footage everyone found out that the Williams cars had a major role in this accident. First, let’s look at George Russell. George Russel was running in P10. That was an incredibly good position for him, seeing that he has never scored a point in F1 before. Coming out of the final corner, he went even slower than Bottas and the pack ahead. All the drivers were very close to each other since they want to overtake straight off the Safety Car. However, George Russell had a huge gap to Esteban Ocon and Daniil Kvyat ahead. That was something that the drivers behind Russell didn’t expect.
So when Russell sped up and floored it to catch up to the pack ahead, the drivers behind did the same. They thought that everyone was racing again. Through the final corner and down the main straight, the bottom half of the field was racing at full throttle. But then, things went wrong in a flash. Russell started braking and slowing down when he caught up to the pack. At first, Magnussen, who was just behind Russell, slowed down quickly, but Nicholas Latifi in the other Williams reacted too late. When Magnussen suddenly slowed down, Latifi didn’t realise what was happening and broke too late. This same issue happened in the middle of the final corner because the midfield slowed down so much that Latifi nearly hit Magnussen, but luckily, he didn’t hit Magnussen.
Just like he did at the final corner, Latifi swerved to avoid Magnussen, but that wasn’t the end. The Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi ploughed into the back of Magnussen and Latifi at full speed. This was because when Latifi swerved to avoid Magnussen, Giovinazzi was right behind and the move was so sudden that the Alfa just couldn’t do anything to avoid contact. Giovinazzi was seconds away from Latifi at the final corner, and he was pretty much poised to lose a bunch of positions at the restart. However, when the midfield and the leaders slowed down, Latifi made a massive swerve to avoid Magnussen. Giovinazzi still slowed down a little bit, but then he used the momentum the cars ahead lost to catch back up to Latifi, and he was in the Williams’ slipstream coming down the main straight.
Carlos Sainz in the McLaren was all over the back of Giovinazzi’s car. He was doing the sensible thing and was making sure that he could overtake the Alfa Romeo at the restart. Being on the Soft tires back in P14 due to the Lap 1 incident, Sainz wanted to cut through the field. But within a couple of seconds, things got far worse. Sainz saw Giovinazzi speed up, and he looked ahead to make sure that everyone was speeding up. With 5 to 6 cars in front of you pushing flat out, you have to do the same, which is exactly what Sainz did. He was using that slipstream, but then Giovinazzi crashed, and Sainz just ploughed into the back of the Alfa. The McLaren pushed the Alfa Romeo’s floor up, which titled the car sideways at a freaky angle.
Surprisingly, Romain Grosjean managed to avoid all the carnage and came out with nothing but debris on his tires. Raikkonen and Vettel also stayed clear of the incident. First, the Safety Car came out, and soon after the announcement of the Red Flag came. The facts that this crash was massive, and that it involved many cars, and that there was an immense amount of debris all over the main straight, allowed the race director to stop the race. The marshals had to be able to clean up the track. And the medical cars had to get to the drivers to make sure they were ok. But here’s the interesting part. The main reason that there was a Red Flag was that the cranes to remove the cars had to use the track to get to the cars.
Due to the nature of Mugello and the undulation and elevation change, there are no shortcuts or roads that go through the middle of the circuit. Most tracks have these shortcuts, but as I said earlier, the nature of the Mugello circuit doesn’t allow this. To get a clearer idea of what I’m talking about, take a look at the image above. You can see that there are no roads and no areas where there is driveable asphalt other than the track and the karting circuit. This means that the cranes had to use the area where the drivers would race, to get around the track. Drivers cannot be on track when there are cranes and other such vehicles on the track, which is why there was a red flag.
Coming back to the crash itself, the stewards have taken a good look at all the footage. None of the drivers received any penalties, but a total of 12 drivers were issued a warning. The thing that caused the incident was “the inconsistent application of throttle and brake, from the final corner along the pit straight”. The race stewards fort the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix declared that Valterri Bottas was completely within the rules, and issued warnings to the following drivers:
- Alexander Albon
- Antonio Giovinazzi
- Carlos Sainz
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Daniil Kvyat
- Esteban Ocon
- George Russell
- Kevin Magnussen
- Lance Stroll
- Lando Norris
- Nicholas Latifi
- Sergio Perez
“The stewards acknowledge the challenges the location of the control line presents at this circuit and the desire of drivers to take advantage of the restart,” continued the statement from the stewards. “However this incident demonstrates the need for caution to be exercised in the restart situation and note that there was an extreme concertina effect which dramatically increased as it moved down the field.
“We also note that some drivers might have avoided being involved in the incident had they not followed directly behind the car in front. By doing so they effectively blocked off all visibility of what was happening immediately in front of the preceding car.”
The Safety Car restart rules do not need reviewing as per FIA Race Director Michael Masi. The drivers did make mistakes, which is why the warnings were issued, but the nature of the Mugello circuit played a big role in this. The Safety Car lights turned off at the same distance from the finish line as it does at other tracks. The fact that the finish line is so far up the straight made things difficult for the drivers.
“At the end of the day, the key part is the drivers were all advised very clearly at the drivers’ meeting on Friday night, that there were two key parts to remind them: one was to ensure they don’t overtake the Safety Car before the Safety Car line at pit entry. The second part, which is unusual for this circuit, is the control line where they can overtake is located close to the pit lane exit,” said Michael Masi.
“It’s not a surprise, and we’ve seen similar matters in Baku with such a long run to the control line, where the leader – who has every right to dictate the pace – has kept it quite slow to try and avoid a slipstream from the cars behind.”
The Red Flag was a crucial part of the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix. That allowed Hamilton to pass Bottas to take the lead at the standing start. However, there’s still more to look at in this race. Let’s take a look at Stroll’s massive crash.
Stroll’s Crash at Arrabbiata 2
To top of this 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Race Review, we’ll be looking at another massive crash. Lance Stroll’s Racing Point ploughed into the barriers at Arrabbiata 2 on Lap 42. Arrabbiata 2 is the name of Turn 9 since Mugello also has corner names. Stroll was entering the corner, and he was using the entry kerb for Turn 9. Turn 8, which is Arrabbiata 1, is right before Turn 9, so the exit kerb for Turn 8 is the entry kerb for Turn 9. Stroll went on the kerb, which is the normal racing line, and then suddenly, something went wrong, and he went off into the gravel.
Fun fact! Did you know Mugello’s Turn 9 is incredibly similar to Spain’s Turn 9? They’re both left-handers that are going uphill and are pretty much flat out. They are both around 90-degree corners, and they both require a lot of bravery!
The official cause for the crash is unknown. We do know that it had something to with the tires, the front wing or the suspension. There were bits and pieces of front wing flying all over the area when the crash happened, and that there might’ve been a puncture too. There was a couple of pieces of rubber too, plus Lance Stroll said he got a puncture over the radio. Another possibility is a suspension failure, although nobody’s sure of what happened, since the investigation has not been completed yet.
“It’s a shame I couldn’t bring it home today,” said Stroll. “I don’t know if it was a puncture or a suspension failure, we have to look into it. It felt like a puncture but at that speed it’s so hard to tell what it was. We’ll do some investigating and find out.”
After an incredibly hectic race, with A LOT of analysis, we have come to the end of this race review. Let me know in the comments below, was the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix your favorite race of the year so far? There’s a one-week break before the next race in Russia, so stay on the lookout for new posts!