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Italian Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 06 Sep 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 26 August 2006 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 25 August 2006 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Testing, Day 2, Monza, Italy. 30th August 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton. Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 25 August 2006

This weekend Formula One racing will descend on Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. And after last week’s successful testing session at the track, all the drivers are eager to start racing at the historic circuit…

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 5th, 2005 Race - 5th

"I always enjoy coming to Monza. I'm at home so I enjoy more support than usual and the atmosphere is excellent. I like the circuit too and I have usually had good results there, including last year when I had a good run to 5th place in the Toyota. Because Monza is the quickest circuit of the year, straight line speed is essential and everyone runs with as little wing as possible. With such low downforce you push the limits of the grip. The car has a tendency to be more nervous, even on the straights, so you have to drive smoothly. You have to be very precise with your braking points, ride the kerbs and get a good exit out of the chicanes. If you can get it right every lap and always be on the limit you can make a lot of difference. Our package has been strong in recent races so we will try to make it through the weekend and score a good result in front of my home fans."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2005 Qualifying - 9th, 2005 Race - 6th

"Monza has a special place in the heritage of F1 and it is a very fast circuit with long straights interspersed with chicanes. Because we run with such low downforce at Monza you can always notice the drop in grip compared to the more typical circuits we run on. So we have to adapt for that with your set-up because confidence is important under braking for the tight chicanes. You have to be precise when you switch between high and low speed sections so that is a good challenge for the drivers. To keep up your momentum you have to get the chicanes just right so setting up the car for the kerbs is crucial. Last year we had a good weekend and I made up ground during the race to finish 6th due to good strategy work from the team. In the last few races we have shown we can be quick. So we will look for more of the same this weekend and hope for an even better result."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - 11th, 2005 Race - 4th

“Monza is a great track, it is all about speed but not just on the straights. It has some fantastic corners such as Parabolica that are flat out and you really have to push the car. Parabolica is a really important part of the track, because it takes you back out on to the long start and finish straight, and so you have to keep your speed as high as possible through it. The track is also really hard on the cars, with the bumps and the long straights at full throttle. You tend to use the kerbs quite a lot and so have a slightly softer set-up so the car rides well over them. After my retirement from the Turkish race, my back was a bit sore, so we decided that I would rest to get properly fit for this race rather than test, but I am totally fine, there are no problems from the incident and I am looking forward to getting back in the car. It has been feeling really strong recently, so I hope we can have more of a race in Monza than in Istanbul.”

Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“We had a good test last week in Monza, Gary (Paffett) and I completed over 1500km and were able to work through a lot of the preparations for the race this weekend. This included tyre selection with Michelin, proving aero packages and set-up work. The latter is always quite tricky here, so I had a big focus on this at the test. Monza demands high speed and braking stability, so this also has to be taken into account. The track surface at Monza has been re-laid recently, and it now has quite different characteristics to the previous surface, which of course has an effect on tyre performance and wear, and we also covered this in detail at the test. It was our first time on the track with the V8 engines, and the top speeds are around the 340km/h mark, which is not significantly less than last year. ”

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2005 Qualifying - 6th, 2005 Race - 10th

"You cannot say more about Monza than this: the track is legendary. It is an important part of our sport and is unique of its kind. For us, it is always a great event driving here as we enjoy huge support. As in previous years, we arrive at Monza with the title hanging in the balance but we are determined to change things. In the constructors' classification we are not too far off the lead and anything is still possible in the drivers'. We have to attack and the fans can be sure that we will do our all. We have gathered significant data in the tests and this leads us to believe that we can get back to the top."

Mark Webber, Williams
2005 Qualifying - 14th, 2005 Race - 14th

“Monza is a different type of circuit to the others that we race on over the season. It’s a track which has high top speeds - in a straight line we’ll reach speeds up to 340km/h - so the aerodynamic wing level on the car has to be totally different for this race. Also, the set-up has to be good to allow us to ride the chicances as we hit the kerbs so hard. Monza isn’t the safest circuit in the world, so we need to work with the organisers to find some way to make the track a little bit safer. I’ve had a few points’ finishes here, but I’ve never been on the podium, so hopefully I will get there one day. We can probably have a reasonable race here, it’s very competitive at the front at the moment but I hope we’ll be fighting to get back up there in these last few races and get some good points.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“The Autodrome is a special track. I believe it’s one of the oldest circuits on the calendar so there’s plenty of history. Monza is also a very exciting circuit as it’s so different to the other tracks we race on. There are lots of straights so you have to take all the downforce off the car. That, though, means that there’s less grip, so it’s harder to drive. Aside from the track itself, this Grand Prix is always a good one because of the Italian fans who just go crazy for Ferrari. They’re great supporters of motor racing in general as well, so this race always has a very special atmosphere.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 7th, 2005 Race - 12th

“Monza has always been a very special event for me and I still have a lot of Italian fans who write to me with their support, so it’s a weekend that I always really enjoy. I have actually won twice at Monza in 2004 and 2002 which are some of my favourite memories in Formula One. It’s a unique circuit and easily the fastest in the F1 calendar in terms of speed. You have to get the braking right and obviously the traction and the power of the engine are important too. We had a good test this week in preparation for the race, focusing mainly on tyre choice and car set-up for the lower levels of downforce that you need here, so we look forward to another good race next weekend.”

Jenson Button, Honda
2005 Qualifying - 3rd, 2005 Race - 8th

"I’m really looking forward to the race at Monza. The atmosphere is always great over the race weekend and the circuit has traditionally seen lots of exciting racing, so hopefully it will be another good race for the fans. I had a podium finish here in 2004 and it is a track that I always enjoy. We did a lot of good work with Michelin at the Monza test this week in preparation as most of the track has been resurfaced, so we needed to focus carefully on the tyre choice. We have a relatively good car around here so I think that we should be reasonably competitive in the race.”

Tiago Monteiro, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 17th, 2005 Race - 17th

"It's great to be back in Monza. I really like this region of Italy and it's always good to come back here - the fans, the atmosphere, and the history of the place are all just incredible. It's definitely one of the more exciting venues as far as culture goes. The track itself is a different story: it's very, very fast, but also kind of boring, actually. The low-downforce configuration means we have less grip and longer braking distances than at other circuits, and the chicanes are very slow. I do like the Ascari curve, though - it's demanding, but it has a good rhythm and is a lot of fun when you get it just right. We had a good few days of testing here and I'm happy with how the car has been improving, especially when I drove it on the last day. Hopefully, we'll see some great racing this weekend and enjoy a good result in the race."

Christijan Albers, Midland
2005 Qualifying - 20th, 2005 Race - 19th

"I have really been looking forward to Monza. It's a track that suits my driving style and it's always fun to race in a place with so much history. Monza is the home of Italian motorsport, so there is always a fantastic atmosphere here, with many passionate fans. I also remember a large number of Dutch fans attending this race last year, so I hope the team can do something to give them a memorable weekend. This track is very fast, so choosing the right tyres and tuning our package correctly is going to be really important. We're also going to need strong engine performance and reliability if we're going to keep fighting with the other teams. We had a good test here last week, so I have a good feeling for the track and am anxious to go racing."

Giorgio Mondini, third driver, Midland
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"As an Italian speaker with Italian roots, it has always been a huge confidence booster for me to race in front of an Italian crowd. I grew up dreaming of driving an F1 car at Monza, so leaving the garage for the first time on Friday morning will really be a special moment for me! True, I drove at the test here last week, but it's not the same thing. The choices we make on Friday will be very important for Sunday`s race, so I have to make sure I give the team the best information possible. Every time I drive the M16, I am gaining valuable experience, so putting in the kilometres is very important to me and the team."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"For me the Italian Grand Prix in Monza is an unusual one for a number of reasons. For a start, the circuit in the Royal Park is one of the last real high-speed tracks Formula One still races on. To give you an idea of the speed: at 360 km/h you cover 100 metres in one second. That means if you're half a second too late, you've missed the braking point for a corner. Secondly, Italy is Ferrari country, and the tifosi always guarantee a very special atmosphere. Thirdly, nowhere else do you hit the kerbs as hard as in Monza, and fourthly, there are passing opportunities, which is great for the drivers and spectators alike."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"My third Formula One race will be on a track I know very well and like a lot. I shall work hard with the engineers as usual, but this time we will have some valuable information from this week's three-day test at Monza to add to that from the June test there. I lived in Italy for many years, so I suppose I could claim this as a home race. The Italians love their motor racing, and this is where I learnt my racecraft from the age of 13."

Sebastian Vettel , BMW Sauber
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

"I'm really looking forward to my second Grand Prix weekend. During testing I didn't like the Monza circuit at all at first. I found it quite difficult to find the braking points. But once I had that sorted out, I got to like it more and more. Some of the turns are fantastic, even though it isn't easy to get them right with the low-downforce configuration. What was also unfamiliar to me was the wild way you have to ride over the kerbs. Testing so soon before a Grand Prix weekend will make my work as the Friday driver a bit easier as we will have fresh data. But for the finer details and setting the car up for the prevailing conditions and weather, my job will still be very important."

Fernando Alonso, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 2nd, 2005 Race - 2nd

“This year I have won in Silverstone, in Monaco, in Spain - and for sure, I want to win Monza too. It is one of the legendary circuits, so it would be special to win there, and even more so to beat Ferrari at their home race. We know how important the championship is, but this is a big race as well.

“You have such low downforce that by the time you get to the end of the straight, it feels like you could fly! The steering feels light, the movements are a bit lazy, and you don’t quite feel like you have everything under control. It’s not a nice feeling for the driver, but it’s what you need at Monza to be quick on the straights."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2005 Qualifying - 8th, 2005 Race - 3rd

“Well, it’s my home race, so obviously special for that reason. I have a good feeling with the track: I won there in Formula 3, and got on the podium last year, being the first Italian to do it since Alboreto 17 years earlier. That was a great result, but a win would be even more special.

“We run with very low downforce, the grip level is low and it’s not easy to slow the car down from 350 km/h to 60 km/h for Turn 1, the slowest chicane.”

Takuma Sato, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - 4th, 2005 Race - 16th

“The Italian Grand Prix is a unique race as it is the fastest on the F1 calendar. After a positive test at the Monza circuit last week I believe that we have a good package for the race. We will, as always, work on our race set-up on Friday, and following a positive briefing after the test where we ran through our preparations, I am very much looking forward to returning to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Super Aguri
2005 Qualifying - NA, 2005 Race - NA

“We have been testing in Monza in preparation for this week’s race, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to learn the circuit. We were able to complete most of our planned testing programme for the new car, so we are quite prepared for the Grand Prix. I am looking forward to the race on this very quick circuit. In Turkey until I had a spin the race was okay for me, so I hope to do a good job in Monza and finish the race.”