Italian GP: Williams preview

Following a series of strong, but not race winning performances in the last couple of races, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is looking forward to Monza. Last year the high-speed circuit witnessed Juan Pablo Montoya claim pole position and his debut...

Following a series of strong, but not race winning performances in the last couple of races, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is looking forward to Monza. Last year the high-speed circuit witnessed Juan Pablo Montoya claim pole position and his debut victory in Formula One. Team-mate Ralf Schumacher joined him on the podium, having finished in third place.

After an extensive period of testing at the Monza circuit last week, the team is eagerly anticipating taking the fight to Ferrari on their home territory. This is an important race as the BMW WilliamsF1 Team has the chance to consolidate second position in the 2002 FIA Formula One Constructor's Championship ahead of closest rivals, McLaren.

Ralf Schumacher:

"After Ferrari showed their superiority at Spa, I don't dare make any forecast about the Italian Grand Prix. Normally the high speed track is good for us, but we believed the same before the Belgian Grand Prix. Our priority must be to extend the lead ahead of our direct rivals, McLaren, and to secure second position in the Constructors' World Championship."

"We should be able to achieve this even though the Monza circuit is not among my favourite tracks. To me as a driver it is simply not demanding enough. It is full throttle on the straights and then hard on the brakes before the chicanes so there is not enough variety! During the test we had this week, we have made improvements to the car, so that we should prove competitive in Monza."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"One year ago I had my first Formula One win at Monza, but it is looking increasingly difficult for us to achieve the same result this year. At Monza, we probably have one of our best chances to do well, but I think it's going to prove hard to beat Ferrari. We should be strong as our engine is powerful, which is a decisive factor here, but still we must be realistic. It seems at the moment with the equipment we have got that third place would equate to a win. However, we just finished a positive test on this circuit and this makes us confident for the race. One of the most important targets will be to get ahead of Rubens as it would be really good to take some points away from him."

Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1):

"Monza is a very low downforce circuit with four medium speed corners and chicanes that can be hard on the car during the race. As such, the mechanical set-up is geared towards the soft side to help the car over the curbs. In addition, braking stability is a major factor on this circuit as well because of the long braking periods with low downforce."

"The recent test in Monza has been compromised by bad weather but it did give us an opportunity to assess the latest wet tyres from Michelin. The tyres appeared to be quite competitive and Michelin has taken a step forward. The two dry tyres that Michelin are taking to the race have been evaluated under different conditions, and should provide us with a competitive solution."

"With the low wing levels and good engine power this is the easiest circuit on which the drivers can overtake. Depending on our qualifying position this may be the key to our pit stop strategy on race day."

Gerhard Berger (BMW Motorsport Director)

"With three races to go the advantage of a 29 point lead over McLaren would normally be enough to reach our target and finish the season in second place. Looking at the three circuits to come, it is Monza where we should have the best chance for a good result. It would really help to extend our advantage to 33 points and finally secure the second place. In terms of engine power we will bring another improvement to Monza and I am keen to see how our duel with McLaren will unfold. Apart from this, I have to say that Monza always has a great atmosphere, and I believe it will be even more special in such a strong season for Ferrari."

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