Italian GP: McLaren preview

Following the Belgian Grand Prix, which saw Kimi Raikkonen claim the first West McLaren Mercedes race win of the season, the Formula One World Championship now moves to Monza for the final European event of the 2004 season, the Italian Grand ...

Following the Belgian Grand Prix, which saw Kimi Raikkonen claim the first West McLaren Mercedes race win of the season, the Formula One World Championship now moves to Monza for the final European event of the 2004 season, the Italian Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"I am really looking forward to racing again at Monza this weekend following the result at Spa. The car was running really well, as the win and fastest race lap demonstrated, and hopefully we will be up there at the front again. Monza has seen some real battles in the past and it would be nice to continue that trend this weekend."

"Although there have been many changes to the track, it is still awesome to drive, with its fast, sweeping corners, such as Parabolica, and the long straights, however they are of course now broken-up by chicanes, which themselves need good traction. Parabolica is actually one of the most important sections of the track, it is great fun to drive as you are on the absolute limit."

"We scrub off 50% of our speed as we brake from the straight to negotiate the corner, however it is crucial to maintain as much speed as possible through here, as it takes us back onto the main straight."

David Coulthard:

"After the overall performance we demonstrated as a team at Spa, it was great to get back testing at Monza last week to help us to continue to push forward. It was a positive test and hopefully we will be able to challenge for podium positions again. Monza is the fastest track we visit during the course of the season, with an average speed of 254.848km/h and a top speed of 350km/h."

"Although it is an out and out power circuit, precision is vital. Because we run with such low downforce, any errors are magnified, especially on corner entries and over the bumps in the track surface. We also use the kerbs a lot at Monza, primarily through the chicanes and this sees us running with a softer than normal mechanical set-up to optimise the performance of the cars in this area."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes:

"The result of the Belgian Grand Prix was an obvious boost for the West McLaren Mercedes team, and we are now looking to take this momentum into Monza, where we feel we will be in good shape for a competitive race."

"Along with the majority of the teams, in between the two races we have resumed testing at Monza, where we completed a comprehensive programme. This included work on a modified aero package for the Italian Grand Prix, which essentially sees the front and rear wing's running in a trimmed specification to achieve the low downforce required."

"Together with our Partner Michelin, we also completed an intensive tyre test programme. During the test at Monza we didn't encounter any tyre problems and meanwhile we believe that the incidents at Spa were caused by tyre damage resulting from either the kerbs or debris."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Kimi's race win at Spa-Francorchamps was a reward for the team's hard work developing the MP4-19B in the five races since it's debut. The upcoming Italian Grand Prix is a new challenge for our drivers and the team. Monza is the fastest circuit on the calendar with an average speed of more than 250 kph per lap and top speeds of more than 360 kph."

"The track's main features are the long straights with three tight chicanes where the drivers have to brake hard from high speeds causing high strain on the brakes. The high speed circuit of Monza is also more demanding for the engines than any other track as almost 75 per cent of a lap are run with full throttle. Although we won at Spa we are not at all the favourites for Monza, however, everybody in the team is keen on continuing our upward trend."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Norbert Haug , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren