The Italian Grand Prix brings Formula One’s European season to a conclusion this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Located just outside of Milan, Monza is the quickest track on the calendar with top speeds reaching up to 340 km/h along the straights of the 5.793 km circuit.
- Six of the last ten races at Monza have been won from pole (so far in 2012, 7 of 12 races have been won from pole)
- The braking zone for turn one features a deceleration of 265 km/h – from 340 km/h to an apex speed of 75 km/h
- DRS overtakes outnumbered normal passes by 18 to 15 during last year’s Italian Grand Prix
When I think of Monza, I immediately see everything through a red veil. It is the beating racing heart of Italy, everything there lives and breathes Ferrari, and I must inevitably think of the good times I spent there. What makes me particularly happy is that after all these years, the tifosi still welcome me so warmly, and I would like to thank them for that. Naturally, now I’m racing in Mercedes silver, I hope I can offer them a nice fight and be a worthy rival. They can be just as sure as our own fans that everybody in the team is looking to have a successful finale to the European season, and is therefore fully motivated to put on a good show in Monza.
I’m looking forward to getting to Monza on Thursday and getting the weekend underway. After a difficult weekend in Spa, I believe that our car will be much better suited to the amazing and high-speed Monza track. We will also have a different package there for the long straights with the low downforce required. We are continuing to work hard on improving our car, and I’m quite positive about the news that I hear from the factory, although we know that it will be a tough job with all of the other teams developing quickly as well.
Monza is a very special race track, and certainly one of my favourite venues to visit on the calendar. The atmosphere created by the Italian fans is always fantastic and it’s a great place to bring the European season to a conclusion. The circuit is a unique challenge with its high-speed straights and the requirement for a low-downforce package designed specifically for the weekend. We would like to finish the European season with a strong result and the team will be working hard to achieve that at the weekend.
Monza is a circuit that demands very diverse strengths from the technical package – high straightline speeds through low levels of drag and downforce, with the cars exceeding 300 km/h on four separate occasions, and a good mechanical base for braking stability into the chicanes and corners, and good traction exiting them. Monza is also well known as an engine circuit thanks to its high-speed layout, with over 80 percent of the lap distance spent at full throttle. The races in Belgium and Italy are separated by just a week. The circuit-specific modifications made for Monza are only run once a year and could possibly mean that the competitive order won’t be quite the same as that we saw in Spa.
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