Williams heads to Monza

Round: 13 of 19

The fastest track in Formula One. It’s known colloquially as ‘La Pista Magica’, and with good reason: the atmosphere is second to none. The old banking, lying adjacent to the modern racetrack, gives the circuit a sense of history that can’t be found anywhere else in the world and the Italian fans are passionate about F1 and Ferrari in particular.

The cars exceed 320kph at four different points on the lap, so the combination of straight-line speed and braking stability is the Holy Grail for race engineers and drivers.

“The car feels completely different at Monza,” says Rubens Barrichello. “The lack of downforce helps acceleration and it feels like someone has put a 3-litre V10 in the back when you first go on the track. The car moves around a lot more than normal as well, but you quickly get used to it.”

Sam Michael, Technical Director: Monza is such a unique circuit that we design and manufacture front and rear wings specifically for use only at this event. The lowest drag aero set-up is used in combination with a mechanical set-up that is optimised for kerb riding. Overtaking should be common given the long straights and DRS.

Rubens Barrichello: Monza is a circuit that I like very much. Having good brakes and traction are important factors here so setting the car up becomes crucial for a good race. Having won there in the past, I really look forward to racing in Monza again. The tifosi also make it feel very special.

Pastor Maldonado: Monza is a very special circuit for me and I have great memories of winning there in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2006. I used to live very close to the track so I am looking forward to seeing many Venezuelan and Italian friends there this weekend. It is a wonderful track, especially because it is so quick, one of the quickest of the year. It is a low downforce circuit so you need a good aero balance for that. As we showed at Spa-Francorchamps, our car is working well on these types of tracks so I hope to be in the points again this weekend.

From Cosworth’s perspective: The Italian Grand Prix continues Formula One’s run of power circuits with the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza providing the ultimate test of an F1 engine. Monza’s place on the calendar immediately after Spa-Francorchamps - which comes a close second to Monza in terms of its position on F1’s power charts - makes this one of the most exciting and challenging phases of the season for Cosworth.

The Monza circuit is made up of fast straights and tight chicanes which demand the lowest downforce settings of the season, bringing engine power to the fore. Drivers spend over three-quarters of the lap at full throttle, delivering the fastest average speed of the season and top speeds of over 340km/h down the 1.2km main straight. Teams often develop Monza-specification aero packages to minimise drag. Brakes will be tested rigorously, particularly with the aggressive deceleration into the slow first gear chicane at turns one and two, while a good exit from the quick Curva Parabolica, the final corner of the lap, is important to give a smooth run down the Rettifilio main straight. 

Pastor Maldonado’s performance at the Belgian Grand Prix represented a welcome return to the points for AT&T Williams and Cosworth, and particularly pleasing at a power track, so Cosworth hopes for more of the same at Monza this weekend. 

From Pirelli’s perspective: Monza is obviously a very important occasion for all of us at Pirelli, as it is only half an hour down the road from our headquarters in Milan and it’s a circuit that has played a key role in our motorsport history. We’re bringing the P Zero Yellow soft tyres and the P Zero White medium tyres to the grand prix, which should be well matched to the high-speed characteristics of the track. The important thing for the teams will be finding the right compromise between performance and durability, and coming up with a set-up and strategy to suit that.