Italian Grand Prix: Toro Rosso preview Monza

Daniil Kvyat leads Jean-Eric Vergne

Daniil Kvyat leads Jean-Eric Vergne

It’s that time of year again when everyone at Toro  Rosso looks forward to our home race. The Italian Grand Prix is also the home event for that other famous team which features an animal in its logo, however it’s fair to say that all the other nine teams also look forward to the week in Monza, as it’s truly a unique and historic event on the calendar.

Driving into the Royal Park, one cannot fail to get a sense of history about the place. Putting all that emotion to one side, the hard truth is that the race is the fastest of the season, thanks to the famous long straights, broken up with some tight chicanes and a couple of testing corners. That means it will not best suit the power characteristics of the STR9.

Long high speed straights mean brakes are also going to be sternly tested, especially as the cars will all run in a low downforce configuration, even if the current rules mean there are no special “Monza-specification” cars like in the old days. As for overtaking, braking for the first corner provides the most likely opportunity, which is why there are inevitably fireworks on the opening lap. It’s a fact of modern Formula One life that quick tracks tend to provide the least passing places, so Saturday’s qualifying will be the first hurdle to overcome for everyone. As for Sunday, there will be many factors to take into account, some of them linked to the new Power Unit as finding the best energy strategy and managing fuel consumption will be the key. Demands on tyres are tough here, so Pirelli has gone for the classic “Hard” and “Medium” compounds for Monza and the fact the lap is so quick means that strategy is always a case of making the least stops – which effectively means just one. Knowing when to make it is the tricky part.

Jean Eric Vergne: “It’s the home race for us at Toro Rosso and I’m really looking forward to the weekend, because it’s always great to perform in front of the Tifosi, who really make this Grand Prix special. I think it might be a difficult race for us, as it is very much a power track where you need to be flying down the straights, which is maybe not our biggest strength this year. We will still be doing our best to have a good home race. I love the atmosphere here and I have good memories of when I won here in the World Series. In last year’s race, I picked up the final point for tenth place and it would be nice to do at least that this weekend.”

Daniil Kvyat: “I really like Monza and it’s been an important circuit for me, as I have taken some major wins and podium finishes there. Last year was particularly good, when I won Race 1 in the GP3 category and then came second in Race 2 in which they reverse the grid order for the front runners. It’s a very challenging track, especially for the rookie drivers, as it is a very high speed and demanding circuit. I have always enjoyed driving it in the junior formulas and I hope it will still be the case in the Formula One car this year. I have spent a lot of my life in Italy, so it’s going to be cool to be in a familiar atmosphere. Of course, it’s also Toro Rosso’s home race, which will make what is always a highlight of the Formula One calendar even more special.