Time is flying as the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, which takes place from 6th to 8th of September, means it is already the end of the 2013 European season. The motorhomes are heading to a paddock for the last time this year.
Nevertheless, the season is anything but over with seven flyaway races left. Sauber F1 Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez both look forward to this true high-speed track.
Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“Monza is a track with a lot of history and the only true high-speed circuit of the season. I still remember sealing my GP2 title there in 2009. After the race on Sunday morning I was the champion. Monza requires a low downforce configuration, which can make the car quite tricky to drive when braking from 340 km/h down to speeds of about 60 km/h in the chicanes. It’s a very nice race with a good atmosphere in the Parco di Monza where a lot of passionate Italian fans cheer on the Sucderia Ferrari. I enjoy driving there, as it’s a simple layout but it’s not as easy as it looks. There are some technical bits and chicanes, and you really have to master the kerbs.”
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“Monza is a great track, and very different to Spa. It’s important to consider that. Coming from a track like Spa, we need to adapt to Monza in terms of driving style, strategy and set-up. It will be a crucial weekend, because stability in slow corners is important and, unfortunately, this is where we’ve been struggling. We have to focus on that and try to improve. My favourite part of the track is the Variante Ascari, a left-right-left combination. It’s very quick, you have to get the right line, react quickly to the kerbs and the bumps, and it’s fun. Our pace is good, but now we need to complement that with the right decisions. I have great memories of Monza, as I won the Formula BMW and GP3 titles there. I remember very well my pole position lap there in GP3, this point made the difference and I went on to win the championship, so it was very special.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“Monza is a unique challenge for the drivers and engineers as the circuit efficiency requires our lowest drag configuration of the season. The track is well known for its long straights. The majority of the grip-limited time comes from medium speed cornering and two lower speed chicanes. The track is pretty bumpy in some areas and you need to be able to use the kerbs, so the ride quality is also an important factor. The track tends to favour strategies with less stops because of the low fuel effect and the time you lose in the pit-lane. We have some further developments to be tested. Again, Pirelli has selected the Medium and Hard tyre compounds. Coming from Spa we are confident that we can fight for points in this final European race.” (Sauber F1)