This weekend's Italian Grand Prix will be like a second home race for Eddie Irvine. After racing for Ferrari for four years, Irvine is still a crowd favourite at Monza, a track that lies just a few miles away from his Milan home. Eddie took ...
This weekend's Italian Grand Prix will be like a second home race for Eddie Irvine. After racing for Ferrari for four years, Irvine is still a crowd favourite at Monza, a track that lies just a few miles away from his Milan home.
Eddie took second place in the 1998 race and he's looking for another good result on Sunday. "The Italian Grand Prix is always a bit of a special weekend because of the fantastic atmosphere at Monza," he said. "The track has been chopped around a bit over the past few years, but Parabolica, Ascari and Lesmo are still interesting.
"It's hard to say what the effect of this year's changes will be, but I think the alterations to the first chicane should have improved safety. Whether it will improve the bottle neck on the opening lap or provide more overtaking, we will have to wait and see. We made some progress at last week's test, but the rain rather got in the way."
Team-mate Johnny Herbert won the 1995 Italian GP and always goes well at the historic venue. "I like Monza a lot and always look forward to qualifying there," he admitted. "You have to get the balance of the car just right so you can brake deeper going into the chicanes and keep a smooth rhythm. The new chicanes are quite tight but the new surface is very good and has no bumps in it. Having said that it remains to be seen if overtaking will be any easier."
The team spent four days testing on the revised circuit layout last week, while test driver Luciano Burti conducted some straightline aerodynamic assessment work at the Elvington airfield in Yorkshire. Technical director Gary Anderson feels that the team is in a good position ahead of this week's race. "The mood is pretty good at the moment," he said. "We were heartened by the result in Spa as we expected a much tougher time. We're hoping to carry the momentum forward to Monza and have a solid weekend and hopefully compete for points."
Free practice for the Italian Grand Prix starts on Friday September 8 at 10am (BST).