Max Verstappen revealed he spent a day driving a GT car around Mugello in a bid to learn the track and get a “bit of a head start” on his Formula 1 rivals ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix

Mugello is one of a number of circuits not on the original 2020 F1 calendar that has been added due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Tuscan venue set to host its first ever grand prix this weekend.

With teams banned from testing F1 machinery at the additional circuits used on this year’s revised schedule, the Red Bull driver recently used a GT car to practice most of the new tracks, including Mugello.

“I’ve been here a few weeks ago to drive because I had never been here before,” Verstappen explained.

“I think that is the best way to learn a track. You can drive it on the simulator but I haven’t done that. So you get a bit of a read.

“Of course the car is a bit slower but it’s still fun. That was important, it just gives you a little bit of a head start.

“I know that other drivers have been racing here but I had a full day of driving so I don’t think it will be that bad.

“I’ve driven all the other tracks except Istanbul,” he added. “It’s not necessary to do it [and] most of the tracks are fully booked or they are very busy which is quite normal.”

The Dutchman suffered a major blow to his 2020 title hopes after being forced to retire from last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix when his engine began overheating.

Asked about Red Bull’s prospects for the Tuscan Grand Prix, Verstappen replied: “I definitely think it can’t be any worse than Monza!

“It will be better, and I think we should be back in a decent place behind Mercedes. It's a new track of course, so we first have to see how the car is set up.

“For sure we’ll have to make a few changes to that. But overall I’m quite confident that we can have a positive weekend.”

 

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