After Istanbul's contemporary Otodrom, Formula One turns full circle this weekend to visit one of the more traditional tracks on the calendar, Monza. Nestled in Italy's Lombardy region just half an hour from fashion capital, Milan, the Autodromo...
After Istanbul's contemporary Otodrom, Formula One turns full circle this weekend to visit one of the more traditional tracks on the calendar, Monza. Nestled in Italy's Lombardy region just half an hour from fashion capital, Milan, the Autodromo boasts an enviable racing heritage having hosted more F1 races than any other race track and all but one Italian Grand Prix since the sport's inception in 1950.
Over its 30 years, Williams has won one in five Italian Grand Prix, set one in three fastest laps and still holds the record for the fastest ever average lap speed on Monza's hallowed asphalt with Montoya's 2004 qualifying lap. Sunday's race, round 13 of the Championship and GP number 57 for Monza, is the penultimate of the European season and with just five rounds left, the team's ambition will be to bag as many points as possible in order to remain ahead of its keenest rivals in the Constructors' Championship.
"We have Monza coming up this weekend, which is always a special race because of the Tifosi. I also enjoy the Italian lifestyle, so it's nice to spend a few days there. The circuit is the last remaining high speed track on the calendar and I really like driving it. It always takes a while to get used to it but once you've adapted your driving style and tuned your brain into it, it's challenging, but it's great."
"I usually have good races at Monza, so I hope that continues for the coming race weekend. I want to chase a few more points to keep ahead of my team mate and so the team can move comfortably ahead of Red Bull and Toyota."
"I like racing at Monza. I have good memories there, especially from my GP2 race when I had a very good weekend, finishing in second twice and setting the fastest lap. The circuit itself is unique, has a great deal of history and it's fun to drive. The whole lap is a great experience because every corner is different and interesting in its own way."
"The second chicane is fun because you have to throw the car over the kerbs, hold onto as much speed as you can and brake as late as possible, unlike at the two Lesmos where you need to brake a bit earlier. The Ascari corner and the Parabolica are also interesting for the drivers."
"The atmosphere at the Autodromo is brilliant thanks to the Tifosi. Italy has a lot of nice places to visit, it has fantastic food and I really like the Italian attitude to life, which is probably why most of my friends are Italian!"
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1:
"Monza is steeped in motor racing history. It's still possible to walk through the parkland which surrounds the circuit and find the old concrete banked corners where they used to race Grand Prix cars. The circuit is dominated by long straights and as such the top speeds are the highest that we see all year in Formula One -- around 350kph."
"Set-up needs to be on the softer side and has to tend towards low drag so that the car rides well over the large kerbs. We spent some time at the test in Monza working through different set-up options that we can use for the Grand Prix."
"As is normal for Monza, we will run a different front wing, rear wing and bodywork package to enable the car to cope with the high top speeds. The teams will probably opt for either one or two stop pit stop strategies this weekend. We are expecting fairly neutral weather, with temperatures in the mid 20s and no repeat of the massive thunderstorms that nearly washed away the test!"