Tuesday was a new experience for many F1 regulars; a rare in-season test on an unfamiliar track.
Some teams wanted the three-day session to take place at Barcelona, saving money ahead of the Spanish grand prix at the same venue, but Ferrari pushed hard – reportedly even waiving the circuit rental fees – for its circuit in Tuscany to get the nod.
The day did not start well weather-wise, but the spectators – reportedly 25,000, and visibly more than in Bahrain last weekend – came nonetheless.
“This is my first time here,” Sebastian Vettel, whose teammate Mark Webber kicked off proceedings for Red Bull on Tuesday, told Auto Motor und Sport.
Australian Webber, second fastest after the first morning behind crowd favourite Fernando Alonso, has been here before.
“I once did a sports car race here,” he said. “It’s a bit too fast (for F1).”
Indeed, of the grand prix circuits, only Monza is faster. Nico Rosberg, in the Mercedes, gave Mugello a big thumbs up.
“1 to 10, I’d give it 8.5,” the German grinned.
It is an important test for Ferrari, but – contrary to earlier rumours – there is no ‘B’ car. Alonso told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Mugello and then Barcelona next weekend will not make or break Ferrari’s championship.
“We need to catch up race after race,” said the Spaniard. “If we do poorly in Barcelona, it doesn’t mean our season is over.”