Williams team and drivers preview the Italian Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, at Monza.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is another historic track which we enjoying visiting. It is a circuit of extremes and it differs significantly from most Formula One circuits. It features the highest top speed and the highest average speed of all circuits, with the second lowest turn angle of the year. It has a high pit loss time and a low fuel effect, which typically pushes the race towards a one-stop strategy.
As always it is a compromise in terms of set-up, however low drag is favoured here due to the long straights and high track efficiency, although the lack of downforce makes the chicanes tricky. Monza, alongside Monaco, is one of the two races where teams will often take specific aerodynamic components only used at those tracks. The brakes are under considerable mechanical stress due to the magnitude of the change of speed at the end of the long straights, although the long straights do aid in cooling them down again. Monza marks our last outing before the final flyaway races of the season so we will be aiming to leave Europe with some more points on the board.
Pastor Maldonado: I really enjoy driving at circuits that are rich in history and Monza is one of the most historic we visit and the fans are incredibly passionate. It’s the fastest track of the season and we will be reaching speeds of up to 340 km/h. Most of the corners are high speed which makes it more of an adrenaline boost and the downforce will be very low on the car which makes it more challenging to drive. This circuit gives everyone the chance to open the car up and see what it is capable of on the long straights. I also have a personal affiliation with the area as I lived very close to the circuit for three years at the start of my career, when I was competing in Formula Renault and Italian F3000, so I enjoy coming back. We had a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but our car has good straight line speed so should be suited to this track and hopefully we can continue the progress we made in Hungary and score more points.
Valtteri Bottas: In Monza straight line speed is very important for lap time as well as overtaking or defending in a race so we will run the car with the lowest amount of downforce and drag of the season. Tyre wear will not be as big an issue at this race as some other circuits and because of the high pit loss teams will be trying to pit as little as possible. This is an old fashioned circuit that is high speed and has a number of good overtaking opportunities and traditionally leads to some very close and competitive racing which makes it a good spectacle for the fans. I have fond memories of Monza as this is where I won the GP3 title in 2011, so hopefully I can draw upon that experience and have a good weekend.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Monza represents the ultimate test for an engine’s outright performance and reliability. Over three quarters of the lap is spent at full throttle and the maximum speed goes over 330 km/h four times per lap. The cars will also be at the highest average speed of the year; very close to the 250 km/h mark. Only three chicanes break the flow of the lap so drivers try to straightline them as much as possible, however this places its own demands on the engines as the drivers ride the kerbs, momentarily unloading the internals of the units. The phases of heavy braking and acceleration only compound this challenge so we tend to use a new engine where possible.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re taking the P Zero Orange Hard tyres and P Zero White Medium tyres to Monza: the same nomination as we had for Spa. Obviously Monza is our home race, just half an hour from our headquarters in Milan, and it’s also the fastest lap of the year thanks to all those famous straights and corners. The higher the speeds, the more energy is put through the tyres. There are also some very big kerbs there, where the tyres have to absorb significant impacts as a key part of the car’s suspension. But obviously we’re really looking forward to it: Monza is a real highlight of the year. (Williams, Pirelli)