Italian GP: McLaren preview

Team McLaren Mercedes arrives at the historic Monza circuit, near Milan, to contest the 2005 Italian Grand Prix, round 15 of the Formula One World Championship. Following the 40th Grand Prix victory of the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz era, the...

Team McLaren Mercedes arrives at the historic Monza circuit, near Milan, to contest the 2005 Italian Grand Prix, round 15 of the Formula One World Championship.

Following the 40th Grand Prix victory of the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz era, the 144th in the history of the McLaren marque, at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen has reduced the gap at the top of the Drivers' World Championship to 24, with a total of 71 points. Juan Pablo Montoya has moved to fourth with 40 points. The result also saw Team McLaren Mercedes reduce the difference in the Constructors' rankings to just nine points, with 121 points in second place.

Going into the last five races of the season, Team McLaren Mercedes is the only team to have scored points in every event participated in this year, having secured six victories out of the last nine races and, since the start of the European season at Imola scoring more points than any other team. Team McLaren Mercedes also has the most lead laps in the Championship so far, a total of 419, followed by 368 for Renault.

The Italian Grand Prix has been on the calendar year since the start of the Formula One World Championship in 1950, the only other event to which this applies is the British Grand Prix. The Italian Grand Prix has been held more often on one circuit than any other race, with Monza playing host 54 out of 55 times. The exception was in 1980, when the race took place at Imola.

The history of Italy's Grand Prix began in 1921 on the 17.3 kilometre circuit in Montichiari near Brescia. After 30 laps and 519 kilometres, the Frenchman Goux won driving a Ballot. In January 1922, the decision was made to build a permanent race track in the King's Park, Monza. Work started on 15th May and was completed in 110 days. The track was officially opened on 3rd September, and one week later the Italian Grand Prix took place.

The fastest ever Grand Prix was run in Monza in 2003 with Michael Schumacher achieving an average lap speed of 247.585km/h for the entire race. The previous record had been set back in 1971 by Peter Gethin, driving a BRM, who clocked up an average speed of 242.615 km/h over 55 laps (316.250 kilometres).

Kimi Raikkonen:

"It was a great race in Turkey and the new track meant we had entertaining racing. The car continued to feel really strong and quick, which is very encouraging on such a challenging circuit. However, Monza is considerably quicker. It is the fastest track with speeds averaging 250km/h, and we run with the lowest downforce set-up all season."

"There are a couple of sections where you need to drive fully flat out to be quick, the main one is Parabolica; you have to maintain your speed through here as it swings you round onto the main straight. The situation in both the Drivers' and Constructors' championships is still open and nobody knows what's going to happen until the last race in October. The car has the pace to win, and I am not giving up the fight, so we shall see."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"I always enjoy driving at Monza, it is a great track and I have good memories there as I won my first Formula One race at the circuit in 2001. There is always an enthusiastic atmosphere from the tifosi, I don't think they're cheering us on though! It is a tough track on the cars, with the bumps, chicanes and long, fast straights."

"We need to have high speed stability, braking stability and be able to ride the kerbs well, with a softer than normal mechanical set-up. However there are also four high speed corners, and we need to ensure we are fast through these. After Turkey, we are really close in the Constructors' battle and I am looking forward to getting some strong results over the final five races towards the title."

Pedro de la Rosa:

"As a result of it's unique characteristics, Monza is a challenging track to get right set-up wise, so I will be conducting some additional work in this area with Kimi and Juan Pablo on Friday. We had a good test with Michelin last week at Monza, completing much of the tyre selection programme."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"We demonstrated in Turkey that we have the strongest package and we are in the hunt for both Championships. We need to keep the momentum going and do a better job than Renault over the remaining five races and then see what happens. We believe we have the pace in the cars and are focused on our objective of winning these five Grands Prix, however we are aware that Renault need to make some errors. It is going to be an exciting seven weeks."

"In preparation for the Italian Grand Prix, we completed a two day test at Monza last week. Work focused on running with the revised aero package we will use for the race, this is as a result of needing the lowest amount of downforce all season. In addition to trimmed front and rear wings, this will see the removal for this race of the mid roll hoop winglets, which will return for the final four races."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Monza is more demanding for the engines than any other Grand Prix circuit. This is due to the track's main features with its long straights, three tight chicanes and high speed corners. Monza is the fastest circuit on the calendar with average lap speeds exceeding 250 km/h and the top speeds on the front straight reaching more than 360 km/h. The drivers have to brake hard from these speeds causing high strain on the brakes."

"Although it has been remodelled a couple of times, Monza is a classic circuit with a great tradition. The only time we won here was in 1997 with David Coulthard. It would be nice to get another win this time. The team went through an intensive preparation programme testing at Monza last week. We have been fast and reliable there running more than 1200 kilometres with one engine in extreme conditions."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren