Franck Montagny, The Renault F1 Team's test driver, explains why the Italian track requires precision and feeling from a driver... Q: Franck, Monza is an unusual circuit. What is it like for the drivers? Franck Montagny. Photo by ...
Franck Montagny, The Renault F1 Team's test driver, explains why the Italian track requires precision and feeling from a driver...
Q: Franck, Monza is an unusual circuit. What is it like for the drivers?
Franck Montagny: In the first laps, the lack of downforce makes you think you are driving a completely new car. It is completely different to usual -- usually, the car feels glued to the track, like it's on rails. You can really attack the high speed corners. At Monza, it slides under braking and in the corners.
Q: Is it fun or frustrating for a driver?
FM: It's quite fun... as long as you are quick! If you're slow, then Monza immediately becomes much less fun...!
Q: How do you have to adapt?
FM: You need to be precise and attentive to how the car is behaving. You can't miss braking points, and you need to do the same things lap after lap. When you have a heavy fuel load, it becomes even more difficult. The main thing is to not lose time in the corners so you reach the best possible top speed at the end of the straights.
Q: Are there challenges for the set-up at Monza?
FM: In terms of the aerodynamics, you need to find a balance between too much and not enough. You need to get through the corners quickly, but not be too slow on the straights. We also work a lot on the mechanical grip: you need a stiff car in Parabolica, but a softer one for the kerbs. So the teams try some different things to normal, like stiff anti-roll bars with softer springs for example.
Q: Are there any secrets for being quick at Monza?
FM: Of course. Each circuit has them. You only need to do a lap on foot to spot them.