The Italian Job The GP2 series embarks on its tenth round this weekend at the legendary Autodromo di Monza, near Milan, Italy. The circuit has stood since 1922, and in 2005 is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Formula One's new feeder category.
The Italian Job
The GP2 series embarks on its tenth round this weekend at the legendary Autodromo di Monza, near Milan, Italy. The circuit has stood since 1922, and in 2005 is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Formula One's new feeder category. With Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg locked in a duel for championship glory, this weekend once again promises excitement and thrills aplenty, as the 24 drivers of the GP2 series do battle.
Monza's history is filled with stories of some of the most classic races seen in motorsport. In 1971, the Italian Grand Prix held at Monza saw what was the closest ever finish in Formula One history as race-winner Peter Gethin led Ronnie Peterson over the line by 0.01 seconds... a record that would stand until the 2002 US Grand Prix. Having witnessed some nail-biting battles already in 2005, the GP2 series arrives in Monza confident that the fast straights, tricky chicanes and challenging corners of this fabled circuit will provide yet another perfect platform for an exhilarating weekend's racing.
Our last round in Turkey saw two great races around the Istanbul Park track, with Sunday's race providing the first opportunity for fans of the series to see our drivers compete in the wet. Monza, however, provides a very different challenge to Istanbul. With its long straights and notoriously demanding corners, the GP2 series will reach its highest recorded speeds of the year this weekend. And with a number of hard braking zones dotted around the legendary circuit, there is sure to be a fair share of overtaking attempts during our two races.
>What about the championship? The championship battle remains as hotly contested as ever, with Heikki and Nico still separated by the seven point margin they carried out of the Hungarian round. Heikki leads Nico by 85 points to 78, with Scott Speed in third, 19 points behind the German. Alex Prémat is fourth on 53 points with Adam Carroll benefiting from his drive to second place from the back of the grid in Turkey to sit fifth in the standings on 41. Neel Jani is sixth on 40 points, ahead of Giorgio Pantano (36), Gimmi Bruni (33), Nelson Piquet Jr (30) and Jose Maria Lopez (28). In the teams' battle ART Grand Prix lead the way with 131 points, ahead of Arden International on 98 and Super Nova International on 77.
Didier Perrin: GP2 Series Technical Director. "Monza is a very special track with its own individual characteristics. When we first started to think about the design of the GP2 series car, we defined some aerodynamic characteristics looking specifically at Monza, especially the minimum wing configuration. We will feature a longer sixth gear for the race, so we will reach well over 300kph on the straights. That is far over what F3000 was able to achieve. Also we should confirm the level of reliability that we saw in Istanbul. I'm really looking forward to seeing the cars race on this great circuit.
"Setting up the cars will be very delicate, and there will probably be a big difference between the set-up for quail and the race. I really think that in Monza it's important to be as fast as you can be in a straight line. Even if a car isn't quick enough to overtake another, it's important not to be overtaken yourself. And in comparison to other tracks there will be much more difference between quali and race set-up than we've seen all season. It will be very interesting to see how the teams react to this."