The last European round of the 2000 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place at the Monza circuit, which is situated close to Milan. West McLaren Mercedes arrives at the 3.585 miles / 5.772 KM track leading both the Drivers and Constructors' Formula One World Championships.
The Monza track is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and presents the drivers with a series of high-speed straights and fast, sweeping corners. Low downforce is the norm for car set-up, though team engineers will also need to take Monza's handful of slower chicanes into consideration to provide the drivers with a good overall car balance. Since last year's race the circuit has been slightly modified at the Retifilio chicane to minimise pile-ups when the field bottlenecks after the start. The chicane has been considerably tightened and is now bordered by asphalt.
In preparation for the Grand Prix and to familiarise themselves with the revised layout the West McLaren Mercedes team was testing at Monza last week with both Mika and David at the wheel.
The Autodromo Nazional, as Monza is known by the locals, was the first circuit to host the Italian Grand Prix in 1950 so this year's race is the 51st Italian race. It's worth noticing that 49 of these races have been held at Monza and only one at Imola in 1980.
McLaren has won the Italian Grand Prix a total of seven times. The first victory was in 1968 with Denis Hulme and the last time in 1997 when David Coulthard claimed the honours for West McLaren Mercedes.
'I like the high-speed challenge provided by the lay out of the Monza track. The circuit is tricky and one of the most important places to get it right, if you are to record a competitive lap time, is at the Parabolica corner.'
'This is an important race for me. I'm not going to Italy just to score points I'm going there to win. I was pole in 1995 and won the race in 1997. I'm not sure about the revision at the Retifilio chicane as its difficult to see the braking points and at the test it resulted in a lot of people cutting the chicane.'
'We aim to finish the European leg of the 2000 Championship in style and our results confirm that we have a competitive overall package which we will strive to optimise for Monza.'