Monza - the technical requirements 08 Sep 2006
Monza, a historic circuit with legendary demands on the car, is a challenging prospect for driver and car alike, but with just two points separating Ferrari from Renault, the French team are eager to score this weekend. Here, they explain how they plan to tweak the R26 to find maximum performance out on track...
Aerodynamics: Monza is easily the fastest circuit on the calendar. In order to obtain competitive top speeds, the team develops a special low downforce aero package. While low downforce is often the term used, the critical thing at this circuit is achieving low levels of drag, which is achieved with particularly efficient wing designs.
Suspension: Monza is an old circuit with bumpy braking area into turns 4 (Roggia) and 11 (Parabolica), although recent resurfacing work may have improved this a little. Given the low levels of downforce and the aggressive kerbs in the first two chicanes, mechanical grip and stability are major set-up areas. In general, the front of the car will be set up stiffer than the rear, to get a reactive change of direction at the front while ensuring good traction at the rear. Ride heights are generally quite low, but to avoid touching at the fastest points of the circuit, we use bump rubbers on which the car sits at high loads.
Braking: Monza is not just a power circuit, because the cars spend nearly 15 percent of the lap on the brakes. The braking system is worked very hard on this circuit, particularly on the entry to turn 1 where the cars shed about 300 km/h. We pay close attention to brake cooling to ensure optimum performance.
Performance: Monza is the engine circuit par excellence. With 79 percent of the lap spent at full throttle, the Italian circuit is without any doubt the most demanding challenge the RS26 engine will meet all season. There are slow corners and an average lap speed of 260 km/h - meaning that at Monza even more than other circuits, teams need a versatile, powerful engine. This is the goal for the D spec engine that Fernando Alonso will use this weekend.
Reliability: The cars require good braking stability, but also a good balance in the fast and slow chicanes portions where the driver often use a lot of kerb. That means there is a real risk of hitting the rev limiter or damaging the transmission when the rear wheels land. The team also pays special attention to potential damage to ancillary components such as water or oil pumps, which can be affected by the severe demands of the Monza layout.