Italian Grand Prix Formula One preview
Today’s report from Formula One teams & drivers in Monza.
Red Bull Racing
What is special about the Monza circuit?
Monza is the fastest circuit of the year. The track itself is in principle only made up of straights and chicanes. Because of this we reach the fastest top speed of the year at Monza, getting up to 330kph. The acceleration through the Parabolica is a balancing act – if you make the smallest error then you will slide straight into the gravel before you know it.
What are your Monza highlights?
This track brings back great memories for me, mainly from my first win there in 2008 with Toro Rosso. I can’t describe the feeling of standing on the top of the podium for the first time, and Monza was one of the best places to experience it because of the thousands of passionate fans that stand beneath, it gives you goose bumps.
Tell us about the Italian GP
I like Monza a lot because it’s very Formula One in terms of its history and its atmosphere. All of the greats have raced there and I have an affinity with Italians from my Minardi days. The track is one of a kind, it’s an incredibly fast circuit with high top speeds, so there’s a lot of heavy braking. Monza has never been that kind to me; I’ve had a few retirements and have never finished on the podium, so I want to get a good result there this year!
What is the atmosphere like at the race?
The Tifosi really make the atmosphere of the weekend, they go ballistic and they’re very passionate about a certain red team. They will climb anything to get a good view: they sit in trees, on billboards and after the second Lesmo they sit on the old banking with their feet hanging over the barrier. Overall, Monza is one of the races that I recommend people go to.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2013 Italian Grand Prix preview
Monza facts & stats
The final European race of the 2013 season takes place at the Autodromo di Monza, on the outskirts of Milan. It’s the fastest racetrack on the Formula 1 calendar, with an average speed in excess of 150mph, and it’s one of the season’s most historic venues. It was built in 1922 and has hosted the Italian Grand Prix every year since 1950, with the sole exception of 1980, when it was held at Imola.
The 3.600-mile layout consists of four long straights, along which the cars exceed 205mph. To maximise straight-line speeds, the cars run in low downforce configurations that have been developed specifically for this event. But the teams are careful not to remove too much aerodynamic grip because the cars need to remain stable under braking. On two occasions they decelerate from 200mph to less than 50mph in just two seconds.
Even with its long straights and its two DRS zones, Monza is a difficult circuit upon which to overtake. The Italian Grand Prix has been won from pole position 10 times in the last 13 years, including Lewis Hamilton’s emphatic victory for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes last year. Statistically, that makes pole position at Monza more important than at Monaco, which has been won from pole only eight times during the same period!
As was the case at the Belgian Grand Prix last time out, Pirelli will supply the teams with their two hardest rubber compounds at Monza. The Medium and Hard tyres should enable the cars to complete the 53-lap race with either one or two pitstops.
McLaren has an enviable record in the Italian Grand Prix, having won the race on 10 occasions. As the team celebrates its 50th anniversary next week, it will be hoping to add another strong result to its tally this year.
- Race distance 53 laps (306.720km/190.596 miles)
- Start time 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
- Circuit length 5.793km/3.600 miles
- 2012 winner Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 53 laps in 1hr19m41.221s (230.944km/h)
- 2012 pole Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 1m24.010s (248.242km/h)
- Lap record Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari F2004) 1m21.046s (257.320km/h)
McLaren at the Italian Grand Prix
Wins 10 (1968, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2012)
Poles 11 (1977, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012)
Fastest laps 11 (1984, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011)
Car 5: Jenson Button
- Age 33 (January 19 1980)
- GPs 239
- Wins 15
- Poles 8
- FLs 8
“I’ve always loved Monza. I really enjoy circuits that have a bit of history to them, and Monza has that in abundance – it’s one of the greatest tracks on the calendar.
“The place is unique: ever since we lost the ‘old’ Hockenheim, this has been the only place on the calendar where you run a really super-low downforce configuration. And you can feel it – the car accelerates up to speed incredibly quickly, feels skittish and loose when you’re running flat-out, and can be tricky and unpredictable under braking.
“But that’s what makes the place a special kind of challenge, and I really enjoy that. When you have the car hooked up beneath you, you get into a special kind of rhythm around Monza: you’re going so fast that the whole lap just flows together. There’s nowhere quite like it.
“So it’s really appropriate that McLaren will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the paddock over the Monza weekend. Both names are synonymous with motorsport history – you couldn’t imagine Formula 1 without them – so I’ll be hoping for a strong result to show the strength and depth that we have as a team.
Car 6: Sergio Perez
- Age 23 (January 26 1990)
- GPs 48
- Wins 0
- Poles 0
- FLs 2
“Monza is probably the most beautiful circuit in Formula 1 – it’s just so historic; from the moment you arrive, you can feel it’s just different from any other place we visit.
“In fact, I had one of my best races in Formula 1 at Monza last year – everything came right on Sunday afternoon, I looked after the tyres beautifully and overtook Fernando Alonso on my way to finishing second, which equals my best-ever result in the sport. That was a fantastic day.
“After the disappointment of Spa, where we had the pace to score points, I’m keen to get another shot. As in Hungary and Belgium, we don’t expect to have a car that’ll be capable of fighting right at the front, but I hope we’ll be scrapping for points positions. That’s always fun, because then it’s really down to the team and the driver to maximise every opportunity on the day.
“When you’re racing hard like that, a good lap in quali or a clever strategy in the race can make all the difference to your result – and that’s great to experience. So, as always, I’ll be looking to push on every lap.”
Martin Whitmarsh Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“This year’s Italian Grand Prix will be a very special weekend for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, as it’ll be the race where we celebrate our 50th anniversary – a landmark for any sporting organisation, let alone a grand prix team.
“Since the formation of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd in September 1963, and our Formula 1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, no F1 team has won more races (182) than McLaren – an incredible record.
“It’s appropriate that we’ll be marking the passage of time at a circuit that is both venerable and yet eternally evergreen: in terms of history, nothing really comes close to Monza in terms of capturing the spirits past of motor racing. Yet, it’s also the fastest racetrack in Formula 1, a temple to raw speed, and a circuit that will always deserve its place on the calendar. It’s richly evocative, and a place that I love.
“We have some special events and surprises planned to mark our anniversary, but it’ll be Monza itself that will make the weekend unique.”
A McLaren 50 moment
Italian Grand Prix, September 9 2007
Following a Ferrari one-two in the preceding Turkish Grand Prix, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is keen to re-take the initiative in the world championship battle at Monza. That’s exactly what happens.
Fernando Alonso takes pole position by just 0.037s ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. McLaren’s lock-out of the front row is followed by the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who gets even closer to Lewis under braking for Turn One at the start of the race. As Lewis tucks in behind Fernando at the first chicane he gets a tap from Massa and the aerodynamic performance of his MP4-22 is compromised for the remainder of the race.
While Fernando’s lead goes unchallenged, Lewis’s race is compromised further on lap 19 when he’s forced into the pits with a puncture. He drops to sixth place and has to drive very aggressively to regain the lost positions. The highlight of his comeback is a stunning overtaking manoeuvre on Kimi Raikkonen on lap 43.
Maximising the grip from a new set of soft-compound tyres, Lewis lunges up the inside of the Finn at the first chicane and makes the move stick. “I didn’t think I was going to make the corner,” says Lewis later. “The car was completely sideways, but somehow I managed to get it stopped in time. It was a very important point in the race because I knew I had only a couple of laps when the tyres were at their best.”
After 53 laps of hard racing, Fernando wins his first Italian Grand Prix by six seconds. Lewis is second, with Raikkonen a further 21 seconds adrift in third.
Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen: “We’ll keep on fighting”
After his unbroken run of Grand Prix and points finishes came to an end at Spa, Kimi Räikkönen is reloaded and set for the final European race of the season at Monza
You’ve achieved more wins at Spa than any other track, but at Monza you have none; time to rectify that?
It’s true that I have never won in Italy. For one reason or another things just haven’t worked out for me, but it doesn’t mean I can’t drive the track. Just because I have not won at a circuit in the past it doesn’t mean that I won’t win or get a good result there in the future. It is true that I have previously had some very competitive weekends there – once or twice I have been close to the win – but something has always gone wrong. Hopefully we will have a real chance to fight for that victory this time.
How do you feel about Monza as a venue?
It’s a historical place with a unique design where we achieve very high speeds. It’s a real challenge for everyone to be running so fast and a really good feeling in the car. It’s the home of the Tifosi and there will be a lot of Finnish fans there too. The atmosphere is just out of reach for every other Grand Prix. It’s great to go there with everything working well in your car and see how quickly you can go. It’s the place where we go really, really fast.
What about the challenges of the circuit?
Monza always gives a great challenge. It’s so different compared with the more modern circuits as the layout means the car needs to be set up differently. To go fast at Monza you need a car that is good aerodynamically, stable over the kerbs, and has a strong engine as we are using full throttle for most of the lap. I think we should be pretty good in those areas, but we won’t know exactly how good until we get out on track.
How do you think Monza should suit the E21?
It’s a unique circuit with the high speeds achieved there and everyone will be running the lowest level of downforce we see all year. Low downforce has not always been the best for our car, but the factory has been working hard to get more speed and stability for us with some changes to the car. Let’s wait and see how the car goes on Friday morning and then we’ll have a better idea of what can be achieved.
How do you feel about the DNF you experienced in Spa?
Obviously it was not the first time I’ve had to finish a race early, and most likely it won’t be the last time either. That said, I’m here to race and I want to finish every time, so for sure what happened in Spa was not what we were looking for and not ideal for the Championship.
What could you feel in the car?
There were some brake issues at the beginning of the race but we were managing them and it was going okay. We knew the brakes were hot and you could see the smoke, but I was still able to brake okay until a part failed and there was no way I could continue.
Was it a shame to see your unbroken records come to an end?
We knew the day would come. We had such a long period of time with the best reliability of all, so it was only natural that one day luck would go against us.
Romain Grosjean: “I’m really looking forward to racing at Monza”
It’s the race he missed last year, so Romain Grosjean is eager to set the record straight with a strong performance in this year’s Italian Grand Prix
How much are you looking forward to racing at Monza?
Very much. It’s a race I wasn’t allowed to contest last season and as a racing driver all you want to do is race, so I can’t wait to take to the track for the first time in practice on Friday morning. It’s a very historic venue; a beautiful circuit in a fantastic location and racing there is always great. It’s a special feeling when you are blasting through the park along the Monza straights, and there are so many really enthusiastic fans there. I have to admit though, it’s not only the racing I’m looking forward to as Italian cuisine is superb. I’ll be visiting a couple of restaurants during my stay…
What are the challenges of the circuit?
For the designers, you need to have a car that’s very slippery through the air. Then for the engineers, you have to make the correct decision on gearing to make the most of the slippery car and engine power along the straights. For the driver in the car, there are a couple of heavy braking areas where you are slowing from the highest speeds of the year, so you have to be careful to get your braking right otherwise you can overshoot the corner. You see that quite a few times over the weekend.
Any other considerations?
It can be quite hot there sometimes and it can be hard on the tyres. Considering that this is where we seem to have an advantage with our car, let’s hope for both! You use the kerbs quite a bit, which looks good on the slow motion cameras but you certainly know about it in the car! Basically, it’s a pretty great track.
What are your memories of this circuit?
I was on the podium last time I raced at Monza, which was in the GP2 Series in 2011. Wouldn’t it be great to return to the podium this year? That’s what we’re trying for, of course, so let’s see what happens.
You had a different strategy to your competitors in Spa; could there be a similar approach at Monza?
At Spa, considering where we were in the first half of the race, we had to attempt something a bit different as raw pace wasn’t our strong point. Then, with the new tyres I felt that the grip was much higher than before, but I knew that it would be difficult to get the time back. We tried something different and you never know; had it rained in the middle of the race we could have been well-placed to take advantage. For Monza, we won’t know what we will do until we’ve run in the practice sessions, checked all the data and then after qualifying – when we know our grid position – we’ll decide the options for strategy. Even then it’s not decided, as you have to adapt in the race. Let’s see what happens.
You’re P8 in the Drivers’ Championship and have been scoring points consistently these last few races; that’s a positive aspect?
Yes, Spa was the third Grand Prix in a row that I’ve been in the points which is good for the Championship. There are races where we are fast and everything goes well like in Germany, then there are races when it isn’t as easy like in Spa, so to be still scoring points when things are a little more tricky is positive. Let’s hope Monza is positive.
Eric Boullier: “Spa was an anomaly”
After a difficult weekend in Spa – with performance falling short of expectations and Kimi’s unbroken run of Grand Prix finishes coming to an end – Team Principal Eric Boullier looks at the positives heading to Monza
What was your assessment of the Belgian Grand Prix?
It was a disappointing weekend, with qualifying not as good as we had expected and then a difficult first lap in the race from which we weren’t able to recover. Romain drove strongly with the performance he had at his disposal and Kimi was working his way past other drivers before he experienced his brake failure. Ultimately, it was a race where we should have performed better.
The E21 didn’t look as competitive at Spa as it was in Budapest; is this worrying for the rest of the season?
I don’t think so, as Spa is a very specific track and none of the remaining circuits have the same characteristics. For this season it is not a concern, but certainly for next year’s car we need to understand more why we have struggled at Spa relative to our pace elsewhere as we experienced something similar last season too. Looking to the next eight races, we have quite a few interesting developments still in the pipeline and we’re focused on achieving the best results we can.
Could what happened with Kimi’s car have been avoided?
We’ve traced what we believe was the cause of the brake issue to a cooling duct which was blocked by a helmet visor tear-off. It’s pretty normal to experience this, and once the brake disc was too hot it could not cool sufficiently. This meant that Kimi’s brakes continued to run hot, and we all saw that with the smoke. They were still slowing the car sufficiently – as we could see by his overtaking moves for position – until there was complete failure of the component. With anything like this, you need a component in a precise temperature window to perform correctly. Do you run with more cooling to compensate for any potential blockages? No, because you won’t get optimum performance from the brakes as they won’t be in their correct temperature window. Of course, we’re studying all the data and working on ways to avoid a similar situation from happening in the future. It was unfortunate for Kimi to experience his retirement, but this is sometimes part of motor racing so we must now switch our focus to Monza.
What are the team’s expectations for Monza?
It’s a very different circuit from Spa and we have an equally different aerodynamic package for the car. The weather is usually better in Italy than we saw in Belgium this year so that could help us. We certainly expect better performance and results than we saw last time out.
Kimi’s battle for the Drivers’ World Championship received quite a blow; what can the team to do fight back?
We need to get Kimi back on the podium and consistently. His DNF in Spa was the first he has had with Lotus F1 Team and we certainly don’t want to see any more this season. He’s been on the podium six times so far this year and there are eight races remaining. We all know that the gap to Sebastian [Vettel] is not getting any smaller, but behind Seb the battle is quite tight as we’ve seen over the last few races.
What does the team need to do to ensure Kimi stays next season and beyond?
It’s clear that Kimi likes racing for us and would like to continue, which is a testament to all the hard work put in by everyone at Enstone. From our perspective, we can see what a complete driver he is and how much he brings to the team in many different areas. Kimi wants to be assured that we have everything in place to tackle the significant changes we will see in the sport next year. We’re working hard to assure him that Lotus F1 Team is where he should be and piece by piece we are getting all our ducks in a row.
Alan Permane: “Nothing about Monza causes us concern”
With a frustrating weekend at Spa now in the past, Lotus F1 Team heads to the very different challenge of Monza; whose distinct character certainly presents a challenge, but holds no fears for Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane…
What can you say about Monza?
It’s a circuit that teams and drivers understandably enjoy visiting. The character and challenge are there for everyone to see. In terms of the car, Monza requires a unique approach targeting minimal drag so you can make the most of the long straights. This means we have Monza-specific rear wings while utilising the front wings in a complementary configuration. As well as what you can see on the car externally, there’s also the challenge of getting the gearing right to make the most of the circuit’s unique flavour.
How should it suit the E21?
There’s certainly nothing which jumps up and causes us any great concerns. You need an aerodynamically efficient car – which we have – and a powerful engine which Renault supplies us with. You also need a car that has good change of direction for the interruptions to the straights. Some of the challenges of Monza have diminished over time; an example being the kerbs which are not as aggressive as they once were. You still need to have the suspension sufficiently compliant to enable kerb usage, but it’s not as much of a consideration as before.
Will we see a longer chassis?
This is certainly something we have looked at with the lessons learnt this season and we could see a longer wheelbase configuration make an appearance in Monza.
What about the Device?
Monza is precisely the sort of circuit where the Device would not offer any real advantage as the rear wing is running in low-downforce / minimal drag configuration, so the difference the Device could make at different speeds would not be so great. For the same reason, the impact that DRS makes here is not so significant.
What about overtaking at Monza?
Although the long straights can lend themselves to slipstreaming, overtaking at Monza is not actually that easy – not least for the diminished effect of DRS – so drivers still have to work hard to seize any opportunity.
Are you hopeful of better weather than that experienced in Belgium?
As a team the challenge is obviously to build a car which works in all weather conditions, but it’s no secret that we’d prefer dry and warm conditions to cold and wet.
What did the team learn at Spa?
It was a frustrating weekend and we simply weren’t fast enough in qualifying or the race. Neither car was in a great position at the end of the first lap and we were fighting a difficult battle to try to move forwards with both. For Romain we opted for a one-stop strategy, which required some good tyre management skills from him. This presented the best opportunity to try to gain an advantage, but the speed simply wasn’t there from the car. Kimi was driving as you’d expect him to; making some great overtaking moves before he had to retire.
What can you say about Kimi’s retirement?
Our brakes were running hot in Spa but everything was pointing to there being sufficient durability to get Kimi to the end of the race once we were on top of the situation. What we didn’t realise initially was that a visor tear-off strip had become lodged in the brake cooling duct of his front left-hand wheel. This meant that the brake disc was never able to cool sufficiently and ultimately we saw a component failure. It was a hit for both Kimi’s and our Championships, but we’ll fight on.
Impressing in Italy – An Engineer’s Guide to the Autodromo di Monza
Approaching Turn 1:
The fastest part of the track – with speeds of around 340kph – before braking hard for the slowest part of the circuit – the Rettifilo chicane – which has a minimum speed of around 75kph. The kerbs are used extensively here as drivers aim to find the shortest line through this tricky right / left combination.
Turns 2 + 3:
Good power delivery on exiting the chicane is essential as the drivers accelerate hard through Curva Biassono; a good slipstreaming opportunity heading into the next complex.
Turns 4 + 5:
Heavy kerb usage through the Turn 4 / 5 chicane, which the cars approach at 330kph before braking down to around 120kph.
Turns 6 + 7:
The Lesmo curves are approached at over 260kph, with a minimum corner speed of around 180kph in Lesmo 2. Good car control is required though this tricky double right-hander due to the lower than optimum levels of downforce used at this circuit.
Turns 8 – 10:
Variante Ascari is a fast third and fourth gear chicane, but unlike the previous chicanes around the track there is no kerb usage. The cars approach this complex at around 330kph with a minimum speed of around 170kph in the first left hand turn, making for a spectacular part of the circuit where bravery from the drivers is very much rewarded.
The second fastest part of the track, with top speeds of around 335kph reached before braking to around 215kph at the slowest part of the corner. It’s crucial to stay close to the car ahead through Curva Parabolica to be positioned for a pass on the following straight.
With the long straights forming a significant aspect of the Monza circuit layout – speeds of around 330kph being attained during the course of a lap – minimising drag is an important consideration. For this reason a Monza-only low downforce rear wing is produced. As the rear wing creates less drag that normal, the difference made by DRS is less than at other circuits.
Just as for the rear wing, a bespoke low downforce front wing is produced for Monza. This really is the home of speed!
There are two low-speed chicanes [Turns 1 / 2 and 4 / 5] where the kerbs are used heavily, so a softer suspension setup with longer travel is preferable for these. However, there is also the higher speed 3rd / 4th gear Ascari chicane [Turns 8 / 9 / 10] where a stiffer setup with sharper change of direction is preferable due to its higher speed and lack of kerb usage.
After Montréal, this is one of the heaviest circuits of the year for braking demands; with braking from the fastest part of the track [340kph] to the slowest [75kph] taking place for the Turn 1 / 2 chicane. Recent brake material developments mean that temperatures and wear have become less of a consideration than previously.
Due to the higher speeds seen at Monza there may be some specific limitations on inflation pressures and camber settings. This is not uncommon for Monza and is just another factor in making this circuit such a unique challenge.
Monza is very much a power circuit, with its long straights meaning that a significant portion of the lap is spent at full throttle. It’s not just all-out power that’s required however, with smooth delivery exiting the corners onto the straights also important.
Inside Line: The Latest News from Enstone
It’s a well-known fact amongst the Formula 1 community that Romain is not only a top-notch talent behind the wheel, but in the kitchen too!
Earlier this month, Official Team Partner Total released a behind-the-scenes video of our favourite Frenchman in full culinary flow alongside world-renowned chef Marcel Ravin at the Monte Carlo Bay hotel.
Click here to see the man himself in action, as he whips up a speciality dish of Langoustines Cuisinées aux Asberges Texturées: http://bit.ly/1d0QEwN
burn Yard on the Big Screen
What happens when the most brilliant minds in conceptual art, skateboarding, Formula 1, street art and electronic dance music collide? burn Yard charts the journey of five talents thrown into a unique creative experiment.
DJ superstar Avicii, Polish stencil artist M-City, pro skater Rune Glifberg, world famous sculptor Gerry Judah and Lotus F1 Team’s Kimi Räikkönen have been brought together to realise a series of daring collaborations, to try new ways of thinking, to be innovative and inspired by new, unlikely sources. It won’t always be plain sailing, but it’s going to be one hell of a ride! Click here to check out the trailer for this exciting new video series -> http://bit.ly/17oe0Wo
And The Winner Is….
After weeks of debate during the summer shut down and beyond, the fans have spoken to give us a hilarious tale of our mysterious Finn’s whereabouts…
Challenged to take the most creative, original and entertaining photos possible with our special Kimi mask [click here to download yours -> http://bit.ly/1cFo8OK
] hundreds of entries flooded in – ranging from the cute to the hilarious and just downright ridiculous – as Iceman aficionados across the globe gave us their ideas of the Finn’s summer shenanigans.
Picking our favourites was a tough job to say the least, but after hours of sweat and tears [of laughter, obviously] a selection of ten were chosen. Click here to check out the winning snaps -> http://bit.ly/17oCdff
Looks Who’s Talking: Social Media in Action
Spotlight On… Comedy
It takes but a glance at the various Lotus F1 Team social media feeds to recognise that we love a bit of banter, and fortunately our loyal fan base seem to share the same philosophy!
Taking influence from the biggest talking points around the paddock – and trending topics from elsewhere in the digital world – any opportunity to have a bit of a laugh is seized upon with vigour.
From the traditional Formula 1 ‘Silly Season’ rumours to suspect haircuts, sneaking suspicions, calendar confusion, movie debates, canine companions and everything in between, nothing and nobody is safe from the Enstone gags…
Check out some of our favourite funnies in the full PDF copy of this preview, or join in the japery online.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
The Italian Grand Prix takes place at the historic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, north of Milan, on Sunday 8 September.
The Italian Grand Prix has been won from pole position eight times in the past ten years
On a total lap of 5.793 km, the engines spend 4.461 km at full throttle – 77% of the lap distance
The cars exceed 330 km/h on four occasions around the lap, before turns one, four, eight and 11
Under braking for turn one, the cars decelerate by 260 km/h in the space of 185 metres
Monza is always one of my favourite races and I love driving the track with its unique high-speed and low-downforce layout. The last European race of the season always has a special atmosphere and the Italian fans are so passionate about Formula One. It’s really cool for me that I speak Italian and can communicate easily with the fans in and around the circuit. To go to Monza with the feeling that we have a quick car is fantastic and I hope we will achieve another strong team result as we did in Belgium. We have to keep pushing now and I know everyone is working really hard at the factories to do just that.
Monza is a truly amazing circuit and it’s a great feeling to drive at our top speeds of the year there. The layout and atmosphere of Monza are very special and it really feels like you are going back to Formula One’s roots when you race there. The car has a completely different aerodynamic package to anywhere else on the calendar with really low downforce to make the most of the four long straights. My win in Italy last year was the first of my career at this circuit and it was a great feeling. We had a strong weekend in Belgium with a good team result and that’s what we need to keeping doing in the second half of the season.
The Italian Grand Prix marks the traditional end of Formula One’s European season and is one of my favourite race weekends on the calendar. Monza has a special atmosphere all of its own with its historic location and the passion of the tifosi making it an inspirational venue. From an engineering perspective, Monza is unique and requires a special low-downforce aerodynamic package to make the most of the high-speed layout which also places great importance on the strength of the engine on the long straights. I was very pleased with the team’s performance in Belgium and the consolidation of our current position of second place in the Constructors’ Championship. We weren’t quite in the position to fight for the win but we will keep pushing hard to close that gap and keep fighting.
We scored a good team result at the last race in Belgium, with third and fourth places, and that underlined one of the team’s strengths this year: our drivers. As their performances this season have shown, Lewis and Nico are probably the most closely matched and balanced driver pairing in Formula One. Their combination of speed and consistency has taken Mercedes to second place in the Constructors’ Championship and our clear target is to consolidate this position over the coming races. In Monza, we will use a refined version of the low-drag package introduced at Spa. We hope to see an improvement in race pace after the lessons we learned over the race weekend in Belgium.
Sauber F1 Team
Preview – 2013 Italian Grand Prix
12th Round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 6th to 8th September 2013
Hinwil, 30th August 2013 – Time is flying as the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, which takes place from 6th to 8th of September, means it is already the end of the 2013 European season. The motorhomes are heading to the paddock for the last time this year. Nevertheless, the season is anything but over with seven flyaway races left. Sauber F1 Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez both look forward to this true high-speed track.
Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“Monza is a track with a lot of history and the only true high-speed circuit of the season. I still remember sealing my GP2 title there in 2009. After the race on Sunday morning I was the champion. Monza requires a low downforce configuration, which can make the car quite tricky to drive when braking from 340 kp/h down to speeds of about 60 kp/h in the chicanes. It’s a very nice race with a good atmosphere in the Parco di Monza where a lot of passionate Italian fans cheer on the Sucderia Ferrari. I enjoy driving there, as it’s a simple layout but it’s not as easy as it looks. There are some technical bits and chicanes and you really have to master the kerbs.”
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“Monza is a great track, and very different to Spa. It’s important to consider that. Coming from a track like Spa, we need to adapt to Monza in terms of driving style, strategy and set-up. It will be a crucial weekend, because stability in slow corners is important and, unfortunately, this is where we’ve been struggling. We have to focus on that and try to improve. My favourite part of the track is the Variante Ascari, a left-right-left combination. It’s very quick, you have to get the right line, react quickly to the kerbs and the bumps, and it’s fun. Our pace is good, but now we need to complement that with the right decisions. I have great memories of Monza, as I won the Formula BMW and GP3 titles there. I remember very well my pole position lap there in GP3, this point made the difference and I went on to win the championship, so it was very special.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“Monza is a unique challenge for the drivers and engineers as the circuit efficiency requires our lowest drag configuration of the season. The track is well known for its long straights. The majority of the grip-limited time comes from medium speed cornering and two lower speed chicanes. The track is pretty bumpy in some areas and you need to be able to use the kerbs, so the ride quality is also an important factor. The track tends to favour strategies with less stops because of the low fuel effect and the time you lose in the pit-lane. We have some further developments to be tested. Again, Pirelli has selected the medium and hard tyre compounds. Coming from Spa we are confident we can fight for points in this final European race.”
|Circuit||Autodromo di Monza / 5.793 km|
|Race distance||53 laps / 306.720 km|
|Schedule||Qualifying 14:00 hrs Race 14:00 hrs local time (14:00 hrs CEST)|
|Driver||Nico Hülkenberg||Esteban Gutiérrez|
|Born||19.08.1987 Emmerich (DE)||05.08.1991 Monterrey (MX)|
|Height / Weight||1.84 m / 74 kg||1.80 m / 63 kg|
|First GP||Bahrain 2010||Melbourne 2013|
|Best race result||4th Spa (2012)||11th Barcelona (2013)|
|Best qualifying||1st Sao Paulo (2010)||14th Sepang (2013)|
|Points 2013||7 (currently 15th)||0 (currently 18th)|
|Points in total||92||-|
|The Sauber F1 Team has 7 points to its tally and currently holds 8th place in the Constructors’ Championship.|
Sahara Force India F1 Team
2013 Formula 1 Gran Premio D’Italia Preview
Sahara Force India gets set for round twelve of the season, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Vijay Mallya looks back on Spa and talks about the close championship battle.
The team picked up two points in Belgium. What was your view on the team’s performance?
We could have had both cars in the points, but for the unfortunate incident where Paul was taken out by Maldonado. Nevertheless it’s good to be in the points in the first race back after the break. We’ve still got some more work to do because McLaren got ahead of us, but they are only four points ahead and that’s not too much to catch up.
How do you see the championship battle going forward?
I guess it will be a neck and neck race. McLaren have obviously spent a lot of time working on this year’s car and they have improved significantly. We’ve stopped the development of the 2013 car and have focussed mainly on 2014 because there are so many technical challenges for next year. So we need to extract the best of what we have to maintain our competitiveness going forward for the rest of the season.
There’s been speculation linking James Calado with the team. What’s the situation?
I’m pleased to confirm that we’ve signed James as our third driver. We worked with him during the Silverstone test and he impressed everyone with his speed and consistency. We’ve always tried to support young drivers and this is a great opportunity for James to gain some valuable experience of driving during Formula One race events.
What’s the plan for James this weekend?
James will take part in the opening free practice session on Friday. He will also run in practice at several other races this year. It’s always useful to get another driver’s feedback on the car and it will help us evaluate James.
What about Monza? Can the team perform well there?
Like Spa, the track suits us, so we hope to be able to capitalise on that. But, as I’ve always said, my direction for the technical team has been to develop a car that is competitive on all tracks, which is something we have achieved for the last few years.
Paul on Monza
Paul Di Resta gets ready for Monza.
Paul, you were competitive in Spa, but unlucky in the race. What was your view on the overall performance?
I feel we’ve certainly solved some of the issues we had in Hungary, but it’s also apparent that some teams have caught up with us, and I don’t think we’ve got the advantage that we had before. It’s going to be a fight all the way, especially with teams like McLaren taking a step forward, and it will be an interesting end to the year. We need to keep optimising the car and we’ve still got a bit more potential to unleash from the tyre situation.
Are you confident that the tracks coming up will suit the VJM06?
I couldn’t honestly predict at the moment. Based on our past performance you’d say that Monza and Singapore are two of the stronger tracks for us. Going on Silverstone’s qualifying performance, you would say Suzuka might work well for us, but the tyres have changed since then so it’s hard to predict.
What about your hopes for this weekend in Monza?
I’d like to say we can be competitive, but we have to see how it is when we get there on Friday morning. We had a very good qualifying session last year and we ended up fourth fastest so that’s a good sign for this year.
Adrian on Monza
Adrian Sutil looks to keep up the momentum in Monza.
Adrian, you were back in the points at Spa – a good way to kick off the second part of the season…
I had to fight very hard for those points and I think that was the maximum we could get from the race. The encouraging thing is that our pace was a bit better than the previous race and I was able to overtake – that was the key to getting in the points.
Does the performance in Spa give you confidence for this weekend’s race?
The car is very efficient and we showed good top speed in Spa, so I expect the same this weekend. We are usually quick at Monza and I remember Paul qualified well last year. Also, it’s the track where I got my best result in Formula One in 2009 so historically it’s one of our best tracks.
What is your approach to the remaining eight races?
I’m always positive. We got points in Spa, but the next race is a new chance and we’ve got to keep scoring. The races coming up are very nice with some classics tracks: Monza, Singapore, Suzuka. They are some of my favourites tracks and I have a good feeling for this part of the season.
Italian GP Preview
When: Friday 6th – Sunday 8th September, 2013
Where: Monza, Italy
Round: 12 of 19
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is another historic track which we enjoying visiting. It is a circuit of extremes and it differs significantly from most Formula One circuits. It features the highest top and average speed of all circuits, with the second lowest turn angle of the year. It has a high pit loss time and a low fuel effect, which typically pushes the race towards a one-stop strategy.
As always it is a compromise in terms of set-up, however low drag is favoured here due to the long straights and high track efficiency, although the lack of downforce makes the chicanes tricky. Monza, alongside Monaco, is one of the two races where teams will often take specific aerodynamic components only used at those tracks. The brakes are under considerable mechanical stress due to the magnitude of the change of speed at the end of the long straights, although the long straights do aid in cooling them down again. Monza marks our last outing before the final flyaway races of the season so we will be aiming to leave Europe with some more points on the board.
Pastor Maldonado: I really enjoy driving at circuits that are rich in history and Monza is one of the most historic we visit and the fans are incredibly passionate. It’s the fastest track of the season and we will be reaching speeds of up to 340kph. Most of the corners are high speed which makes it more of an adrenaline boost and the downforce will be very low on the car which makes it more challenging to drive. This circuit gives everyone the chance to open the car up and see what it is capable of on the long straights. I also have a personal affiliation with the area as I lived very close to the circuit for three years at the start of my career, when I was competing in Formula Renault and Italian F3000, so I enjoy coming back. We had a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but our car has good straight line speed so should be suited to this track and hopefully we can continue the progress we made in Hungary and score more points.
Valtteri Bottas: In Monza straight line speed is very important for lap time as well as overtaking or defending in a race so we will run the car with the lowest amount of downforce and drag of the season. Tyre wear will not be as big an issue at this race as some other circuits and because of the high pit loss teams will be trying to pit as little as possible. This is an old fashioned circuit that is high speed and has a number of good overtaking opportunities and traditionally leads to some very close and competitive racing which makes it a good spectacle for the fans. I have fond memories of Monza as this is where I won the GP3 title in 2011, so hopefully I can draw upon that experience and have a good weekend.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Monza represents the ultimate test for an engine’s outright performance and reliability. Over three quarters of the lap is spent at full throttle and the maximum speed goes over 330kph four times per lap. The cars will also be at the highest average speed of the year; very close to the 250kph mark. Only three chicanes break the flow of the lap so drivers try to straightline them as much as possible, however this places its own demands on the engines as the drivers ride the kerbs, momentarily unloading the internals of the units. The phases of heavy braking and acceleration only compound this challenge so we tend to use a new engine where possible.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re taking the P Zero Orange hard tyres and P Zero White medium tyres to Monza: the same nomination as we had for Spa. Obviously Monza is our home race, just half an hour from our headquarters in Milan, and it’s also the fastest lap of the year thanks to all those famous straights and corners. The higher the speeds, the more energy is put through the tyres. There are also some very big kerbs there, where the tyres have to absorb significant impacts as a key part of the car’s suspension. But obviously we’re really looking forward to it: Monza is a real highlight of the year.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Italian Grand PrixView
Race laps: 53
Pitlane altitude (m): 183
Air / Track temp (°C): 28 / 41
ATM Press (HPa): 998
Hum (%): 38
Wind (kph): SSE 0.3
P1: 1:24.010 (HAM Q3)
P2: 1:24.133 (BUT Q3)
P3: 1:24.247 (MAS Q3)
CF1T best: P18 1:26.382 (KOV Q1)
CF1T delta to best Q1: +2.207 (102.6%)
P1: HAM (1:28.427 L52)
P2: PER (1:27.562 L53)
P3: ALO (1:28.835 L44)
CF1T best: P14 KOV (1:29.399 L46)
CF1T delta to best race lap: +1.827 (102.1%)
Long low downforce circuit with the highest top speed of the season
Additional kerbs introduced in both chicanes in 2009 behind old kerbs (with different ride requirements)
Overtaking is possible with good top speed
Fuel effect is below average compared to other tracks
High brake energy but cooling rate is also high so brake wear is not a big issue
Braking stability is important
Overtaking chance: T1, T8
Ride height setting particularity: none
Engine severity: high
Gearbox severity: very low
Lat / Long grip: medium
Aero eff ratio: very high
Safety car history: 2012 – none, 2011 – one (laps one to three), 2010 – none
Track grip evo during w/e: high
Aero settings: very low
Brake wear severity: medium
Brake cooling necessity: medium / low
Heikki Kovalainen will drive FP1 in Giedo van der Garde’s car, chassis CT03-#04
Charles Pic, car #20, chassis CT03-#06: “Monza’s a great place to race F1 cars. It’s so quick, the atmosphere is amazing (even though it’s almost only Ferrari supporters out there!) and it’s a track that has a lot of history, some of which you can see in the old banking on the way out of the track to remind you what it used to be like.
“It’s our last race in Europe this year and it would be good to finish the European season on a positive. We’d put in strong performances in the three practice sessions in Spa but we were unlucky, both with the call to the weighbridge in Q1 and the oil leak in the race so Monza gives us a chance to move straight on and put that bad luck behind us.
“I’m in the simulator at Leafield before we arrive in Monza, so we’ll have a chance to try a few setup options before we get to the track. We’ll be running the low downforce package for this race and the main focus will be on finding a setup that gives us maximum straightline speed and a car that we can really attack the kerbs with. That’s important for laptime, particularly in T3 and T7, as you need to be able to minimise the time in the corners by pushing the car over the kerbs, so having the right mechanical setup is crucial. We’ll also be working a lot on braking stability – break wear and cooling are both pretty manageable at Monza, but it’s important to have a car that’s behaving consistently in the braking zones as that’s where you can make up, and lose, time.”
Giedo van der Garde, car #21, chassis CT03-#04: “Our last European race of the season is Monza, another classic Grand Prix venue and a track where I’ve won in both Formula Renault 3.5 and in GP2.
“After the last couple of races I’ll go to Monza feeling positive about the next race and the rest of the season. The whole team had a lot of praise for what we did in Spa, particularly taking advantage of the conditions on Saturday, and it’s good to see people understanding that what we’re doing now is exactly what we said we would do this year – learn, improve and deliver the results we want. 14th in Hungary and both qualifying and the race in Spa show how the package is coming on and it’s a good feeling for me and the whole team.
“Moving on to Monza – it’s a track that could suit us in the fight with our nearest competitors. It’s often hot and it’s the quickest track of the year, one where we run very low downforce settings and that should suit our car. Last year the team was pretty competitive and we’ll aim to make sure we are again. If it’s not hot and we have anything like the conditions we did in Spa then we’ve shown we can take advantage of unpredictable weather, and even though another P3 in Q1 might be unlikely, we still know we can be bold and aggressive when there’s a chance to surprise a few people. Maybe our next chance will be Monza – if not I’m sure there will be other races this year when we can show what we can do.”
Marussia F1 Team
What we’re saying about the Formula 1™ Gran Premio D’Italia 2013 – 6-8 September
This weekend (6-8 September), the Marussia F1 Team will embark on the final European round of the 2013 season, the Formula 1™ Gran Premio D’Italia at the historic Autodromo Nazionale di Monza near Milan, Italy.
‘La Pista Magica’, as the Italians call it, has a circuit length of 5.793kms and 11 corners, 7 right-handers and four left. It played host to its first Grand Prix in 1950, which speaks volumes about its heritage and the respect it commands amongst the F1 fraternity and race fans alike.
Jules Bianchi, Driver #22
“My first time racing a Formula 1 car at Monza will be one of the greatest moments of my debut season for sure. Of course, I took part in Free Practice 1 here last year and have competed here in other formulae, so I know just what a special circuit it is to drive. More than that, it is the atmosphere, the fans and all the history attached to Monza that makes it so fantastic. I also have a nice connection with the fans, and this year it will be nice to enjoy their support racing for the Marussia F1 Team. We had a very positive qualifying session in Spa which gave us all a great boost, but Sunday showed us how hard it is to hang on to the opportunities we create for ourselves. The remaining races will be a tough challenge for us, but we know what we have to do and we are pushing hard behind the scenes to find everything we can from our current package.”
Max Chilton, Driver #23
“It’s hard to believe that Monza marks the end of the European rounds of my debut season and I expect the long-haul races will come thick and fast as well! In Spa we had the very satisfying graduation to Q2, then quite a tough time of it in the race, but on a personal level I have been getting closer and closer to where I want to be, particularly in terms of qualifying pace. I want to maintain that momentum in Monza and each of the remaining rounds, now that I have a stronger bank of experience. I’m really looking forward to racing a Formula 1 car at Monza; I know from previous formulae that it’s a thrilling race in many respects and a pretty special circuit to drive with its high-speed/low-downforce characteristics. Although it would be nice to repeat our qualifying performance in Spa, I think we understand just how hard we have to work to make the most of our current package, but it’s reassuring to know that our strategic calls are the right ones when the right opportunities do come our way.”
John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team
“Our qualifying performances in Spa gave the whole Team a real lift and served as a reminder of what we can achieve when opportunities such as those arise. We continue to work hard at extracting the maximum from our current package and there is a great deal of activity taking place behind the scenes to ensure we leave no stone unturned. Equally, we are confident in our ability to take our chances when the right circumstances transpire, as they can make all the difference for us in the remaining eight races of the season. We have a few mechanical developments for Monza and we’ll be combining those with some existing parts to meet the demands of lowest downforce circuit of the season. This track is a real classic and it is not surprising therefore that we have one of our biggest contingents of guests this year accompanying us.”
Italian Grand Prix Preview: Monza, 6-8 September 2013
PIRELLI COMES HOME WITH HARD AND MEDIUM TYRES
For Pirelli’s home event at Monza, the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero medium tyres have been nominated: the same combination as seen at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix. However, while Spa exerts plenty of lateral energy on the tyres, Monza is all about longitudinal energy which puts considerable forces on the tyres and requires high levels of mechanical grip. With set-up being a compromise between the fast and slower sectors of the circuit, the tyres play a crucial role at Monza, with several opportunities for strategy.
The circuit dates back to 1922, and it was also the scene of Pirelli’s first grand prix championship win, when Gastone Brilli Peri claimed the title in 1925 with an Alfa Romeo. Having been through several incarnations over the years, the modern circuit is now very different to the original layout, although the historic banking of the very first track remains as a monument: part of the unique character of Pirelli’s home circuit.
Paul Hembery: “Monza is obviously our home race, only around half an hour away from our headquarters in Milan. It’s very easy to see why the place has been called ‘the temple of speed’: it’s actually the quickest circuit that we go to all year, and the long straights and fast corners put plenty of energy through the tyres. This means that overheating and blistering can be a problem if not controlled. So correct tyre management can have a very important effect on the race and the strategy, and this is something that the teams will assess during free practice on Friday. Not only the performance of the tyres is tested here but also the durability, as there are plenty of high-speed impacts with the kerbs, which represent another important aspect of this race. Monza is one of the most popular races of the year, with lots of tifosi, and we are very much looking forward to it.”
Jean Alesi: “I love Monza and I’ve had so many fantastic moments there. I’ve been on pole twice and I reckon I have probably spent half my Monza ‘life’ leading the race – only for mechanical problems to get in the way. Tyre-wise, it’s a very challenging race and it’s the fastest lap of the year, so it’s quite clear that you need the hardest compounds available. The cars run low downforce, so they can slide quite a lot in the corners and limiting this is a key to getting the best life out of the tyres. Getting the tyre pressures at Monza right is very important too: you need to make sure they are not too low. This is crucial for the kerbs in particular, which you hit hard. These days, the driving style means that you practically take the chicanes in a straight line, so this is actually even more important than it used to be. Monza is all about the tifosi – and the support I always enjoyed there as a Ferrari driver was fantastic: you could really feel it. In terms of atmosphere, Monza is just incredibly special.”
The circuit from a tyre point of view:
About 75% of the lap at Monza is spent on full throttle but there are also some heavy braking areas, which place equally heavy demands on the tyres. On the approach to the first chicane, the cars brake from 340kph to 80kph in just 150 metres.
As well as flat-out straights there are also some very quick corners: the drivers experience 3.7g at Parabolica, which is also transmitted through the tyres.
The three areas that work the tyres hardest at Monza are the first chicane (characterised by heavy braking), the Variante Ascari (with rapid changes of direction) and the famous Parabolica: a long and open corner that generates big lateral forces.
Further information about Monza and the demands it places on tyres, as well as more information about the effect of camber and tyre pressures, can be found on a 3D animated video starring Pirelli’s Racing Manager Mario Isola.
Technical tyre notes:
Top speeds on the straight at Monza peak at around 340kph depending on set-up. The resulting force can heat the tyre up to 130 degrees centigrade: the peak temperatures seen all year.
The top two last year (Hamilton and Perez) used a one-stop strategy, with Perez claiming the runner-up spot from 13th on the grid. Hamilton started on the medium and switched to the hard, while Perez did the opposite. The highest-placed driver to use a two-stop strategy was Michael Schumacher, who finished sixth for Mercedes.
Teams run a specific aerodynamic package for Monza, usually with the lowest levels of downforce of the year. This puts the emphasis on mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Orange|
Meet the Pirelli F1 Team: Dario Marrafuschi, modelling and application engineer
Dario, one of Pirelli’s dedicated army of advanced engineers, is Milan born and bred, having studied engineering at university there. After graduating in 2000 he went straight into Formula One. He was employed by Ferrari initially in the vehicle dynamics group; then became a tyre engineer and he finally engineered the car for the test team from 2006 to 2008.
He joined Pirelli at the end of that year as circuit racing manager, overseeing all of Pirelli’s track-based activities. In 2010, Dario joined the growing R&D division as it started work on the Formula One project, specialising in modelling and pre-development. As well as keeping a close eye on the tyres for this year, Dario concentrates on future development of Pirelli competition tyres through mathematical models and simulations. While his computer crunches the numbers, he keeps himself busy by jogging and cycling across the Alps in Italy. He is a seriously fit man, having once been a runner in regional competitions in Italy. These days he doesn’t have the time: as well as work, his wife and two-year-old son make sure of that…
Other news from Pirelli:
The Rally del Friuli, round six of the Italian Rally Championship, was won by Skoda Italia driver Umberto Scandola using Pirelli’s renowned gravel tyres last weekend. Scandola has now clinched the championship with two rounds to go.
Iceland’s Ragnar Kjartansson has been announced as the latest artist whose work will be exhibited at the Hangar Bicocca: Pirelli’s dedicated cultural space in Milan. Kjartansson’s work combines music with art, having collaborated previously with well-known Icelandic musicians Sigur Ros.
The latest round of the Pirelli-equipped British Rally Championship, the all-asphalt Ulster Rally, took place in Northern Ireland two weeks ago. Osian Pryce won in a Citroen DS3 R3T, becoming the youngest winner of a British Championship event since Jari-Matti Latvala in 2003 – who then went on to star in the WRC.
Renault Sport F1
Renault Sport F1 Preview to the Italian Grand Prix
|% of lap at full throttle||Fuel consumption per lap (kg)||Fuel consumption
Autodromo di Monza: three corners in detail
The pit straight is one of four bursts of full throttle on the circuit. With the highest top speeds of the season also requiring the longest gear ratios through necessity, the RS27 will run throughout the entire rev range during these stretches. The drops between the gears are forcibly relatively large, which means that the entire power curve is tested at Monza, and not just the top end as commonly believed. The main challenge is to have the engine touch the rev limiter late on the straight: hit the limiter too early and you are a sitting duck, passed easily by those close enough behind.
Go too long and the result is the same, too slow at the end of the straight. They may look easy, but the straights really aren’t – any mistakes in gear ratio selection will become evident very quickly, and replicated during each period of wide open throttle.
Variante della Roggia
Although the straights of Monza justifiably hog the limelight, the chicanes also demand close attention. The first two require the drivers to brake from over 300kph to under 80kph, and then accelerate back up again to over 300kph. Drivers try to cut the chicanes to shorten the lap, but in doing so they also run over the kerbs. When they do so the car can take off, if only for a split second, unloading the drivetrain and sending the engine crashing into the rev limiter.
Engineers will also play with the overrun settings to improve rear stability under braking which, combined with the lowest downforce settings of the year, is of paramount importance. In fact the chicanes and their kerbs, which take less than two seconds to negotiate, are usually the cause of the biggest overall lap time loss if the car is not set up correctly.
The Parabolica is probably the trickiest corner on the circuit, a radial turn taken in fourth gear at close to 180kph. The engine must provide a roughly constant level of torque throughout, similar in essence to the last corner at Budapest but much faster. This is a relatively unusual set of circumstances for an F1 engine, with most corners simply being “point and squirt”, so Renault’s engineers will ensure that the RS27 continues to produce the exact torque requested by the driver throughout corner exit.
There cannot be any sudden changes in the power delivery, which can destabilise the car and incur a lap time loss. Equally the driver must be very precise with the throttle pedal, teasing it to the just right level to keep the car balanced throughout the corner.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations:
Monza represents the ultimate test for an engine’s outright performance and reliability. Over three quarters of the lap is spent at full throttle and the maximum speed goes over 320kph four times per lap. In fact the RS27 will be at full throttle for nearly 20secs in two sections of the track – twice as long as a drag car strip. It is only the grip generated from the wings stop the cars from lifting – a small plane would take off in the time and the speed reached down the pit straight.
The cars will also be at the highest average speed of the year; very close to the 240kph mark. Only three chicanes break the flow of the lap so drivers try to straightline them as much as possible, however this places its own demands on the engines as the drivers ride the kerbs, momentarily unloading the internals of the units. The phases of heavy braking and acceleration run huge loads through every part so we tend to use a new engine where possible.
Even though the engine is running at full throttle for three quarters of the lap, fuel consumption is actually one of the lowest of the year and the race starting fuel load is one of the lowest of the season. It is actually the most fuel efficient of the year as the engine is working at a largely consistent level and the car is running a highly efficient downforce package.
However this is really the only ‘easy’ thing about Monza for engines! It’s the race where you’ll see every engine engineer looking even more nervous than usual…