Formula One has its foot firmly on the gas as the World Championship approaches the penultimate race of the European season, the Italian Grand Prix. Indeed, the cars will reach higher speeds down the long straights of Monza's Royal Park than anywhere else so far this season. A special aerodynamics package with the emphasis on low drag and ample engine power are the key to a successful showing at Monza. Bolstered by its strong performance here last year and a recent test at the circuit, the BMW Sauber F1 Team is travelling to Italy in bullish mood.
"Monza is a very special circuit, the only real high-speed track left in Formula One. We hit speeds of up to 350 km/h on the straights, faster than at any other venue during the season. Monza has a lot of tradition and character, but unfortunately also rather outdated safety provisions. Given the high speeds we are driving at, the run-off areas are pretty small."
"I think we'll put in a good performance at Monza. It's a circuit where a good low- downforce package is important, and we're normally pretty strong in that area. The other thing you need is bags of engine power, and I think we'll be okay in that department as well."
"We were right up there at Monza in 2006. I was 'only' third in qualifying, but that was with a heavy fuel load. If we had all been carrying the same amount of fuel, I would most likely have been on pole. In the race itself, I still managed to get a point despite having to come in for a drive-through penalty."
"After doing so well at Monza last time around, we're looking forward to racing again at the lowest-downforce circuit of the season. I picked up my first podium finish in Formula One here in 2006 and am still waiting for my second. I hope we will be able to reproduce our performance of last year."
"I like most sections of the track because they are different from other circuits, quite unique. There are some very fast corners and a chicane where you jump heavily over the kerbstones. The car set-up has to be a compromise and meet the demands of both fast and slower sections, offering grip and allowing the fastest possible straight- line speed. Monza is not an easy race track."
"I lived in Italy for a long time and know Monza well after doing a lot of testing there. However, until 2006 I had never really done that well in races at the circuit. I'm a fan of Italy. I always worked with really good people in Italy and drove in karting, Formula Renault and Formula 3 races there - always for Italian teams. I have great memories of those times, especially of my karting days."
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
"Monza is the classic high-speed track. The biggest challenges here are for the aerodynamics and engine experts. The switch to V8 engines has increased the proportion of each lap spent at full throttle from 67 to 76 percent. The top speed during last year's race was 350 km/h, the highest of the year by quite a distance."
"The cars' aerodynamics are adapted to deliver low drag at this circuit in order to make the most of the long straights. The flipside is low downforce and, as a result, low cornering speeds. Like last year, we will, therefore, be lining up with an aero package specially developed for Monza."
"In contrast to previous years, this time round the Italian GP does not mark the end of the European season. This year the final race in Europe will be in Spa, the week after Monza. Then we'll be off again for a run of three GPs overseas.
"We're very much looking forward to Monza and have some great memories of last year's race. We were really strong there in 2006. Nick qualified on the second row of the grid and Robert finished on the third step of the podium in what was only his third Formula One race. We will be looking to build on those good results this year."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director:
"Monza was our strongest race last season and we got our rewards with Robert's third place. The track in the city's Royal Park is the sole remaining high-speed circuit on the calendar. We develop a special low-downforce aerodynamics package specifically for this race - extremely flat wings allow a top speed of around 350 km/h."
"The second important factor here is the cars' mechanical set-up, which combines good braking stability with a comparatively smooth ride over the kerbs. Our technical preparations for the race have gone very well and we are approaching Monza with high expectations."
-credit: bmw sauber