Italian GP Benetton preview

Technical Director Mike Gascoyne explains how the team's improved performance over the last couple of races has given everyone renewed optimism for the last races of the 2001 season. "The whole team is looking forward to the final three races of...

Technical Director Mike Gascoyne explains how the team's improved performance over the last couple of races has given everyone renewed optimism for the last races of the 2001 season.

"The whole team is looking forward to the final three races of the season after our strong performances in the last few races, and especially our podium finish at the last grand prix in Belgium.

"Being a low downforce track like Hockenheim, the Italian Grand Prix circuit is quite an unusual venue and the new aerodynamic package should help us substantially here," he continued.

"For this weekend, we also have more new aerodynamic parts and an improved engine specification for qualifying, so we must look to consolidate our recent results.

"We've had successful tests at Magny Cours - including tyre evaluation and wet tyre testing for Michelin - and at Danielson in France, where we concentrated on aerodynamic work, and once again we feel well prepared for the race," he added.

"Considering both cars finished in the points at Hockenheim, where we run similar levels of downforce, we have to look to score further points and pressurise the teams above us in the championship."

Director of Engineering Pat Symonds adds that the race will be particularly special for the team, since they have, up until now, considered it a 'home' race.

"Monza holds special significance for the team this year, as it is our last Italian Grand Prix as an Italian team. The circuit itself is of course a very high-speed, low downforce circuit, but in spite of this, the nature of the corners leading onto the straights makes overtaking quite difficult.

"Traditionally, this has been a one-stop race, and - tyres permitting - pitstops are generally made well beyond half-distance. This means that the size of the fuel tanks on the various cars can predetermine the strategy employed by the team."

He also explained the importance of set-up for this race, especially since Monza is so tough on brakes, adding:

"The set-up of the car must address the normal issues to be found when running in a low downforce configuration and these include the general balance of the car, but in addition at this circuit, the performance and wear of the brakes must be carefully monitored.

"Even with the lower kerbs that the Monza circuit now has, it is still vital to set the car up to ride these kerbs well, in order to obtain a quick lap. The track is not only very hard on brakes but also puts a high strain on the engine, with a lot of full-throttle, high-rpm use throughout the race, so reliability will be at a premium."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mike Gascoyne
Teams Benetton