A FITTING STAGE FOR MICHELIN'S EUROPEAN SWANSONG Fresh from Istanbul Park, the newest venue on the calendar, the Formula One world championship switches this weekend to the oldest: Monza. Monza first staged the Italian Grand Prix in 1922, the...
A FITTING STAGE FOR MICHELIN'S EUROPEAN SWANSONG
Fresh from Istanbul Park, the newest venue on the calendar, the Formula One world championship switches this weekend to the oldest: Monza.
Monza first staged the Italian Grand Prix in 1922, the year of its construction, when Pietro Bordino won for Fiat. It swiftly established itself as one of Europe's premier venues and, in 1950, became one of only seven circuits to feature on the inaugural F1 world championship calendar. It has subsequently failed to appear only once (in 1980, when the race transferred temporarily to Imola).
As a result, Monza has staged more F1 world championship races than any other track and this year's event will be the 56th of its kind. This traditional temple of speed provides an appropriately charismatic stage as Michelin embarks upon its final European F1 race for the foreseeable future.
Michelin has a proud record at Monza, which has been subtly modified over time but retains much of its historic infrastructure. The company scored its first win here in 1979, with Jody Scheckter (Ferrari), and has since provided winning F1 tyres on a further six occasions: Alain Prost (Renault, 1981), René Arnoux (Renault, 1982), Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW, 1983), Niki Lauda (McLaren-TAG turbo,1984) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW, 2001 and McLaren-Mercedes, 2005) have all scored Italian GP victories for Monsieur Bibendum.
Nick Shorrock, Formula One director, Michelin:
"After an intense race in Turkey, the F1 championship moves to the classical F1 venue of Monza and one of the oldest circuits after Brooklands and Indianapolis. Monza is a track combining speed and skill along very long straights and some demanding corners. The long straights at Monza require a minimum of downforce to allow the cars to achieve maximum speeds in excess of 350 KPH on four or five occasions each lap."
"There are however some challenging bends and in particular the two LESMO bends. In addition, almost half the track has been resurfaced this year including the two LESMO bends. This change impacted the test session last week when we needed to change our reference tyres because the track was significantly less severe on the tyres."
"The test week at Monza was a very heavy programme after several weeks of no testing. During the week, as well as doing the normal tyre choices for the Monza GP, we have been pursuing our overall tyre development package with our partners. We have been looking at tyre compounds, tyre constructions and examining ways that teams can develop greater performance from the overall car/tyre package. In addition to the tyre testing work, our partners were also very busy testing their latest developments of chassis, aero and engine."
"With both World Championships still wide open, the objective of such tests is to be able to tune the car package to be as effective as possible and to try to gain vital tenths or even hundredths of a second. The work we do for tyres contributes to these gains but clearly our partners are equally keen to demonstrate their ability to improve the basic car performance. This is true for all our teams who are keen to contribute more points to their current tally."
Flavio Briatore, managing director, Renault F1 Team:
"Like all of this season's remaining races, the Italian Grand Prix will play an influential role in the Formula One world championship's final outcome. We worked hard in every domain during the most recent test session at Monza. From a tyre perspective, Michelin's engineers have conjured a new range of products and we are confident they will enable us to be competitive at Monza."
Franz Tost, sporting director, Scuderia Toro Rosso:
"Monza is one of the most demanding tracks when it comes to making the correct tyre choice, because its blend of extremely quick corners and slow chicanes requires a degree of compromise in terms of constructions and compounds."
"Cars flirt with 350kph (217mph) at the end of the straights, yet two seconds later they brake to just 120 (75). That puts a 5g load through the tyre's sidewall. The tyres are subjected to high lateral loads, too -- about 4g through Turn Three and, obviously, the Parabolica."
"Softer compounds are an asset in terms of braking and acceleration, but you daren't risk too soft a tyre because the high cornering speeds through the Parabolica and two Lesmos provokes a risk of blistering. That's why Monza is as challenging for the tyre engineers as it is for the drivers."