Like Spa, the famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza's original layout has been altered in the interests of safety, but still possesses a unique character and ambience. Situated in the grounds of the royal park, Monza oozes with motorsport tradition...
Like Spa, the famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza's original layout has been altered in the interests of safety, but still possesses a unique character and ambience. Situated in the grounds of the royal park, Monza oozes with motorsport tradition and remains one of the most challenging circuits on the Grand Prix calendar. It is also F1's fastest track, which means cars must be set up with the lowest downforce levels possible without causing major stability problems under braking. They must also be able to "ride" the Monza curbs effectively and remain well balanced without too much understeer at high speed. This is particularly important when exiting the famous Parabolica. Drivers carry as much speed as possible through the corner in order to pick up a "tow" from another car down the long pit straight that follows and then look to overtake into the first chicane. In addition, good traction is important for exiting the low-speed chicanes effectively and braking must be optimised to cope with the very high temperatures generated when drivers slow from 300 km/h twice a lap to negotiate the chicanes.
Jacques Villeneuve secured a points finish in Monza during his triumphant 1997 season but since that time has had little luck at the historic circuit. Monza has been equally unkind to Olivier Panis in the past so things can really only get better for the Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda duo at the 2001 Italian Grand Prix.
The team tested at Mugello last week to give them the best possible chance of securing crucial Championship points this weekend. Much will rest on the weather as the anticipated heat of Northern Italy should suit the BAR003 down to the ground.
"We're all looking forward to Monza. We had a good test there before Hockenheim where we finished third. I wouldn't be so bold as to predict the same result in Italy but we should certainly be on for some more championship points."
"I have had some enjoyable races at Monza over the years and every time I've qualified very well. But I've rarely finished the race because of mechanical problems. Maybe this year I will have a change in fortune and finish in a good position!
There are plenty of overtaking opportunities at Monza, although it depends on what strategy you have decided on. For example if you get a good exit from Lesmo, it's possible to overtake before Ascari. Generally though, the whole lap is very exciting.
Because Monza is another high-speed circuit, I am confident it will suit the Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda very well. Hockenheim was a similar kind of circuit and Jacques finished third there. And while I know many cars retired that day, the car was still very competitive."