Italian GP: McLaren preview

The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives at the Monza circuit, near Milan, to contest the 2002 Italian Grand Prix, which marks the end of the European season. This years' event is the 53rd Italian Grand Prix and all but the 1980 race, which took...

The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives at the Monza circuit, near Milan, to contest the 2002 Italian Grand Prix, which marks the end of the European season.

This years' event is the 53rd Italian Grand Prix and all but the 1980 race, which took place at Imola, have been held at Monza, the spiritual home of Italian motor-racing. Also known as the Autodromo Nazionale, Monza was constructed by the Milan Automobile Club in the early 1920's, and the 2002 Italian Grand Prix marks the eightieth anniversary of racing at the circuit.

The original Monza track incorporated long banked sections, but safety concerns saw significant modifications, which included the removal of the banking from the circuit and the inclusion of a number of chicanes.

Since the Belgian Grand Prix, the team has been preparing for the Italian race with testing programmes at both Monza and Silverstone with David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen and Alexander Wurz at the wheel.

DAVID COULTHARD

"With a number of extremely fast straights punctuated by chicanes, Monza is a low downforce circuit that is tough on cars and therefore can lead to a high rate of attrition. It also offers an exciting high-speed challenge! Monza is notorious for first corner melees, as the wide pit straight narrows into the tight Rettifilio chicane, however Spa is equally notorious and proved to be incident free, so hopefully that trend will continue."

"Although it is not necessarily aimed in our direction, there is always a fantastic atmosphere at Monza, which adds to the spectacle of the race. Following the break, we returned to testing this past week. I was at Monza for three days, where we had a good session, focusing on set-up for the race."

KIMI RAIKKONEN

"The 3.6 miles/5.8kms Monza circuit is the fastest on the calendar with top speeds of 220mph 350km/h. It is also the second longest. These factors all lead to a high full throttle percentage per lap. There are a number of challenging corners at Monza, such as Lesmos and Parabolica, the latter of which is vital to get spot on if you are going to put in a fast lap time. I am aiming to secure another good qualifying result, but hope that at this race we can translate it into an equally good race result."

MARTIN WHITMARSH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, McLAREN INTERNATIONAL

"The West McLaren Mercedes team is travelling to the historic Monza circuit for the final race of the European 2002 season, following positive test sessions at both Silverstone and the Monza track. David, who was at the latter of the two circuits, focused on set-up for the race and some suspension work. The Silverstone test, which was one of the most positive we've had this year, saw Kimi and Alex test new components, which will probably be incorporated in the final two rounds of the Championship. The entire team has been working hard to prepare for the race at this power circuit, with the aim of further developing the potential of the MP4-17 illustrated at Spa."

NORBERT HAUG, VICE PRESIDENT, MERCEDES-BENZ MOTORSPORT

"Monza is the fastest circuit on the 2002 calendar. The main characteristics of the track are the long straights interrupted by three chicanes, which are attacked at high speed, so braking and brake wear are crucial factors there. The circuit layout is very challenging for the engine, and the cars will be run with as little wing as possible to achieve high top speeds, which are key for a good performance. Monza is traditionally a one-stop race with a very long first stint, but this strategy may change this year depending on the tyres being used."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Alexander Wurz
Teams Mercedes , McLaren