Rear-view mirror: Italian GP A review of the weekend's events with the Renault F1 Team in Monza. Dedicated to Michele Yesterday, Giancarlo became the first Italian driver to stand on the podium at his home Grand Prix since Michele Alboreto 17...
Rear-view mirror: Italian GP
A review of the weekend's events with the Renault F1 Team in Monza.
Dedicated to Michele
Yesterday, Giancarlo became the first Italian driver to stand on the podium at his home Grand Prix since Michele Alboreto 17 years ago, in 1988. Ferrari may have disappointed, but the tifosi still had plenty to cheer about as a delighted Fisico took to the podium and encouraged their celebrations. So what did it feel like for the Italian the climb on the podium in Monza?
"Just fantastic!" explained a delighted Giancarlo after returning to an ovation from the team in the motorhome. "It was a tough race, and the engineers were worried near the end because Kimi was catching me quite quickly, so they kept on telling me to push even harder over the radio."
"It was a great feeling to be on the podium, and to see the crowd cheering down on the pit straight below. I just want to say thank you to all the team, and especially my mechanics and engineers who have worked so hard for me since Melbourne."
"I know Alboreto was the last Italian on the podium at Monza before me. I was lucky enough to race together with him in touring cars, and he was a great person, really special. I want to dedicate the result to his memory."
Fernando has been fielding the query since early in the season: are you thinking about the championship yet? After finishing on the podium for the 11th time in 15 races, the Spaniard gave his thoughts.
"We know what job we need to do in these final races -- to stay reliable and build on our success from earlier in the season. I have said since the early races, that if a driver can finish on the podium at almost all the races, he will be hard to beat in the championship. That has been our goal for these final races, and we did it again in Monza."
"There is a feeling that I have been lucky this year, but I have 103 points -- we have a fantastic car, and we earned this position. Looking to Spa, I am not going there thinking about winning the championship; I want to approach the weekend with the aim of achieving the maximum possible, and aiming for the win."
"It is my favourite circuit, and I love the fact that the driver can make the difference. For sure, McLaren are very competitive and Belgium will suit them -- but we are aiming to keep pushing them to try and exploit their weaknesses."
Was Monza one that got away?
Fernando Alonso's pit-stops stood out as an anomaly in yesterday afternoon's race. While Juan-Pablo Montoya's two visits to the pits cost him 52.108s and Giancarlo Fisichella spent 52.326 in the pit-lane, Fernando's total pit-lane time was 58.951s -- some 6.8s longer than the race winner.
By the final laps, Montoya was in difficulty with tyre problems and on lap 47 Fernando was 10.713s behind the Colombian; by the start of the final lap, the gap was down to 3.544s. So the ultimate question was, could or should Fernando have won the 2005 Italian Grand Prix?
Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds tackled the question: "I don't think we can definitely say that without the time he lost in the pits, Fernando would have won the race."
"Montoya may have been in difficulties, but his times in the first sector were still very competitive, and he remained quick on the straights: as always, catching the car in front is one thing, but passing would be quite another. But we know that the key at the moment is to keep McLaren under pressure to try and make them push their equipment."
"Had Fernando been six seconds closer to Montoya when he began suffering problems, then we certainly would have put him under more intense pressure, for a much longer period. Who knows what might have happened then?"
Speed and reliability: a balancing act
The 2005 Italian Grand Prix was the first time in 44 years that every starter finished the race, a record that stretches back to Zandvoort and the 1961 Dutch Grand Prix. Then, there were just 15 starters; yesterday afternoon, 20 cars took to the grid at the most demanding circuit for modern F1 engines.
Not only that, but a large number of the V10s will be used once again at Spa in four days' time. What did Rob White, Renault F1 Team's Engine Technical Director, make of the 100% reliability record in Monza?
"Every engine builder knows that finishing races is important, and 20 from 20 is an exceptional result. But perfect reliability is not the only objective -- all that does is get you to the finish."
"The challenge comes with trying to develop the performance to achieve good racing results, while making sure you are there at the end to benefit from your speed. The key is how you manage the potential risk for reliability that comes with every new performance improvement."
"Both RS25 units ran without incident this weekend: we were competitive in the race and pushing McLaren, running our engines aggressively without exceeding the limits we had set before the event. But we are only halfway through the toughest pairing of the season, and Spa also imposes a severe duty cycle. It will be another stern test for all the teams."
Used since: Turkey
Engine: RS25-C, 1st race
Race 1: 538 km
Total: 538 km
Practice: 34 laps
Q: 3 laps
Race: 53 laps
Strategy: 2 stops (19, 39)
Results: Q, P3 (start P2) Race, P2
Used since: Imola
Engine: RS25-C, 1st race
Race 1: 561 km
Total: 561 km
Practice: 38 laps
Q: 3 laps
Race: 53 laps
Strategy: 2 stops (14, 36)
Results: Q, P9 (start P8) Race, P4