On Sunday Sept 16th, the legendary Autodromo Nazionale di Monza will host the 52nd Italian Grand Prix in history - last European round of the 2001 Formula One Championship. The Italian Grand Prix has been part of the FIA Formula One...
On Sunday Sept 16th, the legendary Autodromo Nazionale di Monza will host the 52nd Italian Grand Prix in history - last European round of the 2001 Formula One Championship. The Italian Grand Prix has been part of the FIA Formula One Championship from the very beginning, and shares this record only with the British Grand Prix.
Despite both World Championships being already won by Ferrari, Michael Schumacher's eagerness to win even more races and Rubens Barrichello's determination to secure 2nd place in the Drivers' standings will for sure set the Monza Royal Park on fire, as the Italian Grand Prix is known for its unique atmosphere renewed every year by the faithful Tifosi.
The Monza track is technically very demanding. Being the fastest circuit of the calendar together with Hockenheim, it puts both engine power and brake efficiency to the test : 70% of a lap is run at full throttle and the various chicanes require a perfect car stability under braking. A good balance is also essential to allow drivers to ride over the kerbs, which is necessary to achieve a good laptime.
After Heinz-Harald Frentzen's unfortunate start and Luciano Burti's horrifying accident at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago, the Prost Acer team is hoping to reverse fortune and to achieve some good results in Monza. Everyone in the team was happy to know that Luciano Burti is recovering quickly and well, and that he could go back home at the beginning of this week. However, Luciano chose not to take part in the coming race, and therefore will be replaced at the Italian Grand Prix by Tomas Enge, recently appointed as test driver for the team until the end of the season.
Relieved with the news on Luciano's condition, the team could concentrate on the specific challenge set by the Italian Grand Prix and prepare newcomer Tomas Enge for his first ever Formula One race during a three day test last week at the Magny-Cours track. The overall session had a very positive outcome, as Henri Durand explains :
"The Monza circuit is a very high-speed track, which is in various aspects
very similar to Hockenheim. It is the kind of track where we believe our
car can be performing well : having achieved 6th place at the German Grand
Prix, we can realistically hope to set a good result at Monza this
week-end, also with the help of Michelin, who we think will be competitive
on this track. We have completed a very successful test session last week
in Magny-Cours in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. This helped
Heinz-Harald to further familiarise with our car, and ourselves to chose
some aerodynamic elements for the coming race, as well as some suspension
options. Tomas had the opportunity to accustomise to the car during the
first two days in Magny-Cours, and considering the solid work he has done
with us, we trust he will be in a position to do a good job for his first
Formula One Grand Prix. All in all, we head to Monza with a positive
spirit, all the more as we know that Luciano is fine. Our thoughts will be
with him this weekend and we hope to offer him and the whole team a strong
performance at the Italian Grand Prix."