Formula 1

GP2 run gives Schumacher useful Algarve experience among F1 rookies

In the round-up: Mazepin, Schumacher and Tsunoda have a trip into the unknown this weekend in Portugal, and have used different approaches for overcoming their inexperience at a track fairly new in F1.

In brief

How F1 rookies prepared for Algarve

None of F1’s three rookies have ever raced at Algarve before, and they’ve taken very different approaches to preparing for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix at the circuit.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, the only of the three to have scored points so far, has kept it simple and done “a couple of sim sessions, which I normally do before the race week”. As most drivers tend to visit their team’s simulator before racing at a circuit they have little experience at, Tsunoda’s frame of reference was so limited that even the Thursday track walk took him by surprise.

“Lots of up-down, I didn’t expect that huge difference,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Haas pair Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin both got in real vehicles during the break after the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, but of very different kinds. Schumacher tested a Ferrari F1 car, albeit at Fiorano, but he has tested privately at Algarve before.

“I have been here in a GP2 car, 2018,” he revealed. “It was obviously before it was resurfaced, so I haven’t driven the new, I probably would call it the new bumps here. But it’s a very fun track. It still has the same characteristic of those undulating parts and a lot of blind corners. Definitely looking forward to driving it tomorrow.”

His team mate Mazepin, meanwhile, spent the last fortnight off-roading in Russia.

“With current regulations of not being able to test unless it’s a two-year-old F1 car, there’s really not much options of what I could have been doing,” said Mazepin. “And then there’s also Covid-19 restrictions that only allowed me to go home and see my family and spend a bit of time outdoors and drive something off-road. That was the only thing I could have done. So good for Mick that he did what he did, but I did what I could have done as well.”

F1 reaffirms Mexican and US rounds will go ahead

F1 has reassured fans both remaining races in North America will go ahead this year following the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix. The race was officially called off on Thursday, with a replacement event at Istanbul Park in Turkey immediately announced in its place.

With the next North American rounds half a year away, F1 has given advanced notice to expect both races to take place. “Regarding the announcement about the cancellation of the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix we want to reassure that the Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix 2021 presented by Heineken is confirmed to take place next October,” it said in a statement.

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