Italian GP McLaren preview

The West McLaren Mercedes team arrive at historic Monza for round 15 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Italian Grand Prix, looking to consolidate the second positions currently held in both the Constructors' and ...

The West McLaren Mercedes team arrive at historic Monza for round 15 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Italian Grand Prix, looking to consolidate the second positions currently held in both the Constructors' and Drivers' tables. David Coulthard has 57 points and the West McLaren Mercedes team has a total of 81 points.

Following the Belgian Grand Prix, the West McLaren Mercedes team has been testing at Valencia with David, Mika Hakkinen and Alex Wurz at the wheel in preparation for the final European race of the 2001 season.

McLaren has won the event seven times, with Denny Hulme securing the first victory for the team in 1968. The most recent victory was in 1997 when David took the chequered flag at Monza and the lap record for the track is held by Mika Hakkinen with a time of 1.25:139.

Constructed by the Milan Automobile Club in 1922, Monza, also known as the Autodromo Nazional, has hosted the Italian Grand Prix since 1950 with the exception of 1980 when the race was held at Imola. This years race is the 52nd Italian Grand Prix, since the FIA Formula One Championship began, the greatest total of Grands Prix hosted by a nation equalled only by Britain.

"I am aiming to go one better at Monza following the podium position I secured at the Belgian Grand Prix, in a bid to strengthen my second position in the Drivers' Championship. We had a successful test last week at Valencia and I'm looking forward to the high-speed challenges the circuit offers."

"Following the double points position we secured at Spa, we are well placed to retain second position in the FIA Formula One Constructors' Championship, and we need to work hard at Monza to ensure we continue to build on this. I enjoy driving at Monza, it's a great circuit and the tifosi create an equally great atmosphere."

"We go to each race weekend looking to win the Grand Prix and we will strive to optimise our performance at Monza with the aim of achieving this goal, and to finish the European leg of the 2001 season with a flourish."

Track Trivia

Located near Milan, Monza was built in 1922. Significant modifications to the track have been made for safety reasons and the original long banked sections are no longer in use.

The revised circuit is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, with a high percentage of full throttle per lap, and demands a low downforce configuration. It is also tough on brakes and the race often suffers from a high rate of attrition.

Lap of Monza with Alex Wurz, West McLaren Mercedes Third Driver

"Powering along the wide start-finish straight at Monza, you reach the top speed on the track of some 215mph/344kph in seventh gear, you brake dramatically with your speed dropping to 60mph/96kph in second gear to negotiate the right-left flick of the Retifillio Chicane.

As the tightly packed field enters the Retifillio on the first lap, the narrowing track has a funnel effect, and is often the scene of incidents. Exiting the chicane leads to the long right-hander of the Curva Grande. Entering at some 155mph/248kph in fourth gear, you accelerate through the corner and reach a speed of 183mph/296kph in sixth gear on the exit.

Full on the throttle along the short straight that leads to the Variente della Roggia chicane, you reach 203mph/328kph in seventh gear before braking hard, pulling 4G, for the left-right chicane which is negotiated at 69mph/112kph in second gear.

Another short straight leads you to the fast double right-hander of the Curva di Lesmos. The first section is taken at 104mph/168kph in third gear, a quick burst of acceleration up through fourth gear, sees you reach 155mph/248kph before again slowing for the second part of Lemos, which is negotiated at 95mph/152kph still in fourth. Pushing hard on the throttle as you exit the corner, your speed approaches 210mph/336kph in seventh gear as you power along the long Curva del Serraglio straight, towards the left hand Curva del Vialone, which sees your speed drop to 95mph/152kph in third gear.

This is immediately followed by the right-left Ascari chicane. You enter the fourth gear chicane at 110mph/176kph, with your speed increasing through the chicane to 135mph/217kph as you exit. Accelerating along the Retifillio Centro straight, you reach 210mph/336kph in seventh gear on the approach to the long sweeping right-hander of Parabolica. Your speed drops to 110mph/176kph in fourth gear as you negotiate the tight entrance to Parabolica. As the curve opens out, your speed increases, powering up through the gears as you swing back onto the long pit straight.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Alexander Wurz , Denny Hulme
Teams Mercedes , McLaren