Italy preview quotes - Bridgestone, Ferrari, Virgin, Force India & more 09 Sep 2010
With average speeds of 250 km/h and top speeds of 340km/h, Monza is one of the quickest circuits on the calendar, as well as one of the oldest. Also home to the Tifosi, the track isnt short on atmosphere either. The drivers and team members explain why they love Monza and discuss their prospects for the Italian Grand Prix
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"The layout of Monza means that teams run with low levels of downforce and this naturally affects the tyres. A greater reliance on mechanical grip is one consideration, and the lower levels of downforce are also relevant for braking stability. Before the chicane in Monza is one area where there is heavy braking from high speeds, so causing flat spots on the tyres can be a consequence of this. Teams will pay close attention to their weight distributions to assist their braking here. Monza is famous for its long straights and these have an interesting impact on tyre performance. They can serve to cool the bulk temperature of the tyres, but they can also highlight if the tyre pressures are not perfect. Too low a pressure and additional resistance is encountered and heat is generated in the tyres, too high and the grip is not as good through the corners."
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2009 Qualifying - 8th, 2009 Race - 5th
I am here in Maranello getting ready for a special event, my first Italian Grand Prix as a Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. From a technical point of view, Monza is a very different race to all the others: its long straights require a very low level of downforce and, as a consequence, unique aerodynamic elements. But clearly, this is not the only thing that makes Monza special: it is Ferraris home race and even if ours is a team that tackles every Grand Prix in the same way, giving it our best shot, always trying to win, there is no doubt that everyone in Maranello really wants to do well in front of our fans. You can see that on everyones faces, especially as, mixed in with the fans in the grandstands, many of our people will have their family and friends watching.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
It is obvious that the 14th race of the year will be very important for the Scuderia, not just because of it being the home race, but also because of the current situation in the championship. In Spa, given everything that happened in the race there, finishing fourth having started sixth was a good result, but in terms of the points situation, we needed more. So, looking at the championship, there will be some pressure this weekend, although I have always felt that the spotlight that falls on Ferrari in Monza is a positive thing and I enjoy seeing all the red flags, hats and t-shirts and hearing the noise of the Tifosi cheering, whenever we leave the pits. From a personal point of view, Italy is definitely my second country after Brazil, as my grandfather emigrated from Italy and I even hold an Italian passport.
I have never done very well in the Italian Grand Prix and in fact my best finish is just a sixth place in a wet race in 2008. All the same, I like the track even if I have not had much luck there, like in 2007 when I was in the top three but did not finish the race. I have won in Monza, because I spent much of my early career racing there, with two victories in Formula Renault and one in Formula 3000. The track is now unique on the calendar in requiring very low downforce, so the car is very different to the rest of the year, running with very small wings, which means it needs to have good mechanical grip and work well on the kerbs. I think our car should be competitive here, or at least I hope so, because usually the F10 has gone well this season on tracks that feature hard braking at the end of straights, into slow corners, such as Bahrain and Hockenheim and even in Canada. I am looking forward to the weekend, because it is nice to end the European part of the season at such a great circuit.
Timo Glock, Virgin
2009 Qualifying - 16th, 2009 Race - 11th
It was great to be back racing in Spa after the break and already the pace of the last part of the season has really picked up. Im looking forward to the next six races as there is going to be a real energy as everyone fights hard to achieve their objectives. Were no different and were pushing very hard to end the season as the best of the new teams. I love racing at Monza. Its such a great track and I love the history attached to it. The old part of the circuit with the banking is spectacular. But as for the part we run on today, its very different to most of the circuits we race at. It is very quick and we run in a very low downforce configuration to get the straight-line speed required for the straights. My favourite part of the track is Ascari, which is good fun. The straight at Parabolica is also good in qualifying when youre trying to get the maximum out of the car and leave your braking as late as possible.
Lucas di Grassi, Virgin
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
I feel the same way about racing at Monza next weekend as I did about racing in Spa last race. They are both fantastic, legendary circuits which I have raced at before but the first time round in an F1 car is always going to be extra special. I have done a lot of work in the simulator to prepare and I think we have a good package for this race, so we need to focus on finding a good balance for our low downforce trim. The objective is the same as ever and everything counts now were on the home straight to the end of the season.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
Its hard to believe there are just six Grands Prix remaining. The 2010 race is really on now for all of the teams, as this is where it can all come good or it can all run away from you. From our point of view we need to do the best job possible in every session of every race weekend to achieve our own objectives for our debut season. It is also hard to believe that this is the final European race of the season and the last time we will have the relative comfort and familiarity of our race trucks and motorhome, which have served us well. There can be no better venue to end this leg of the season than Monza however, as this is a truly fantastic circuit. The last race weekend in Spa was a challenging one given the weather conditions and the build up to race day, but I am very pleased with what we have in terms of a race team operation and for that matter the continual improvements we have made in all areas of late.
Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
The wonderful Monza circuit really is out on its own now in terms of its requirements for an extremely low-downforce setup in comparison to the other tracks. Mechanically, the ability to ride the Monza kerbs is crucial for lap-time as well as having a great engine. We've done a nice package for this track and with our seasons mechanical developments plus our strong Cosworth engine, we're hoping to put on a good show in front of the Tifosi at our final European race of 2010.
Adrian Sutil, Force India
2009 Qualifying - 2nd, 2009 Race - 4th
Based on the speed and handling of the car in Spa I'm now really looking forward to Monza. We don't have the top speed advantage we had last year so it's going to be another close weekend, but we do know that we are amongst the quickest and that gives us a big chance to be in Q3 and then getting in the points. I got a great finish there last year - fourth, my best finish in F1 so far, and to get that again would be amazing. Of course there's a huge championship battle going on ahead of us so getting towards the front isn't going to be easy, but I'm confident, the team has got its momentum back after the double points finish in Spa and we're all going to Italy very optimistic.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India
2009 Qualifying - 7th, 2009 Race - DNF
Next up I've got my home race in Italy, which is the same race I made my Force India race debut last year. It holds such great memories for me. Going into the race we had just had a fantastic result in Spa so the whole team was on a high, and we knew we had a great car going into Monza. I got the call and of course I was pretty nervous but I tried to build into the weekend and gradually improve. Then in qualifying I got into P7, which was such a fantastic feeling. Unfortunately in the race I had a mechanical problem when I was running in the top six but I really felt that I had done the maximum I could do. Now this year as always we want to perform, especially after last year. But it's also not just that or because it's my home crowd that I want to do well, I also want to get the result we deserve this season. We have narrowly missed out on really good results for a number of reasons this year, so I want to pull it all together. And if it's at Monza, it's true that it will be even more satisfying. The signs so far are good - the aero test we did showed a big improvement, the car is already strong and we've got a good programme for the race weekend in place.
Paul di Resta, Force India test and reserve driver
I'm looking forward to Monza where I'll be out again in free practice, this time replacing Adrian. It's a special track that will require a very different approach to the other tracks I have driven. It's low downforce, high speed and then heavy braking into the chicanes so it's going to be another experience to put in the book. I've done some work in the simulator in preparation for the run and I'm hoping to get as much out of the session as possible. Of course the track has a very special atmosphere and while I'm there I'll want to look into the history of it and see some of the old banking and track. With my little bit of Italian ancestry and some of my family still living in the country, hopefully I will feel very at home there. So it should be an interesting weekend, both professionally and personally. We'll all work together to do as well as we can over the weekend, have the right approach from the start and develop the low downforce package. We showed well in Spa so there's no reason why it shouldn't show again in Monza.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India chairman and team principal
Yet again Spa was a good track for us, ultimately yielding a double points finish for Adrian and Tonio. These points were crucial for us in the constructors' championship, moving us 18 points clear of Williams for sixth, but it also showed that we're back in business for the second part of the season. The pace and the handling were both encouraging and, with similar configuration tracks coming up in Monza, Japan and Brazil, we're hoping that this performance can be replicated. Of course we know that the on track fights will intensify and it's not going to be easy to consolidate our position but we feel the momentum is with us now. Adrian and Tonio both raced very well and we've been given a real boost by the double points - we needed it after a couple of frustrating weekends before the summer break. But we're not sitting back based on this performance - we've been doing a lot of work back at the factory on the blown diffuser, and conducted a successful aero test last week to develop further. We will also use a low downforce package to suit the top speeds we reach in Monza, which is a further refinement of the Spa package. We're cautiously optimistic and quietly confident - if it all comes together I would hope we could show a similar level of performance and results to Spa, but there are so many varying factors that you just can't take anything for granted at this stage in the season.
Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2009 Qualifying - 5th, 2009 Race - 1st
Three wins and two podiums wins at the Autodromo Nazionale make it statistically my best rack, but never mind the numbers, it is a circuit I love and I always travel to Italy with affection and excitement. My positive record at the track and the work we have done to prepare for both the downforce and kerb requirements means that I am full of optimism. It was great to celebrate my 300th Grand Prix in Spa, but the race didnt go to plan. We will pick up our momentum again in Monza.
Nico Hulkenberg, Williams
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
I have only raced once at Monza in last seasons GP2 Championship, but I immediately enjoyed the challenge of its high speed nature and one of the races ended for me in a podium. So I am approaching next weekend with a degree of respect that such a circuit demands, but equally I feel that it is time that both the car performance we are finding and my own work behind the wheel deserves to be reflected in better results more often, so my respect will be balanced with a really determined approach to the race weekend. Spa was frustrating as I worked hard to claim a good grid position and really want to ensure we convert our opportunities in Italy.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
Monza is the lowest drag level circuit on the F1 calendar, so the cars are running at very different aerodynamic efficiency levels compared to the normal high downforce tracks. This requires a special rear wing for this race only. Another important aspect of the historic Italian circuit is the kerb riding, something the FW32 will be set up to handle. For this track we have low drag front and rear wings.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2009 Qualifying - 10th, 2009 Race - DNF
There are a lot of things that make Monza unique and special, not least of all the passionate Italian tifosi who help to give the place a great atmosphere. I love the way the track threads its way through the park too and remains one of the classic races on the F1 calendar. Of course its renowned for its many long straights, which means a lot of heavy braking so it can be quite hard on the car. I think we can still do well at Monza. We might have a bit more in the way of opposition - in addition to Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, Force India could also be in the mix for the top places.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2009 Qualifying - 9th, 2009 Race - 8th
I have got two great memories from Monza, my first F1 first win and first F1 pole position, so its good to be going back. Its a unique circuit with a great history and an unforgettable atmosphere due to the fans. The circuit is one of the most challenging of the season, due to the low downforce levels and high top speeds. Its unique because it includes very long straights where we reach more than 300 km/h and there are the famous corners, Parabolica and Lesmo. They are faster than the first chicanes, but you have to brake heavily on the approach. The key factors are low drag and good braking stability. I think it wont be easy for us, due to the long straights, but Im sure we will do our best and keep fighting until the end.
Cosworth, engine suppliers to Williams, Lotus, Virgin & HRT
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is the ultimate test of a Formula One engine. Its place on the calendar so soon after Spa-Francorchamps, the only other circuit of the season to get a five rating on the engine severity scale, makes this part of the season one of the most exciting and challenging for Cosworth. The circuits composition of fast straights and tight chicanes demands the lowest downforce settings of the season, bringing outright engine power to the fore. Drivers will spend over three-quarters of the 5.793 km lap of Monza at full throttle, which represents a total of around 230 km over a full race distance. It is the fastest average speed of the season and sees drivers attain a top speed of over 340 km/h down the 1.2 km long main straight.
Teams often develop a Monza-specification aerodynamics package to minimise drag down the straights in order to optimise lap time. Brakes will also be tested rigorously, particularly with the aggressive deceleration required to navigate the slow first gear chicane at Turns One and Two. 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 and a possibility of overtaking under braking into the first chicane. Cosworth has already demonstrated the strength of its engines this season and is looking forward to stretching the legs of the CA2010 properly around Monza, one of Formula Ones most iconic tracks. Monzas heritage in Formula One makes it a fitting end to Formula Ones European season with five overseas events making up the culmination of the 2010 championship.
Robert Kubica, Renault
2009 Qualifying - 13th, 2009 Race - DNF
Poland is my home country but in go-karts, Formula Renault and Formula Three, I always raced for Italian teams and spent over a year living close to Monza, so this whole area holds good memories for me. Looking at my F1 career, this was also the track where I scored my first podium finish in 2006, so its certainly a very special circuit and weekend.
You have a lot of high-speed sections, like Ascari and Parabolica, plus the low-speed chicanes and its difficult to balance these sectors so the car performs well in all of them. Its the quickest circuit on the calendar, which means we use a very low-downforce, low-drag configuration. In previous years, we tested at Monza the week before the race so we could get used to the feeling of the car, which is much lighter than normal. Now, we dont have that test, so it becomes a bit of a tricky weekend. The other important factor is good mechanical grip for braking stability into the chicanes, and good traction on the exit.
The feeling is so unusual - its like being at the wheel of a completely different car. At the start of the weekend, you think that the rear end is very unstable, but in fact thats how it stays all the time, and you never quite find the grip and stability youre used to at other circuits. That makes it a bigger challenge for the drivers, and I also enjoy the fact that theres a lot of heavy braking, where you approach the braking points at very high speed and need to be extremely precise. Its not easy to pick them up or to hit the apex of the corners.
I think this will be a very interesting weekend to judge the performance of the cars. Spa was a good example of how powerful the F-duct can be and we were immediately more competitive and closer to the front when we fitted it. The effect will be less powerful in Monza because the cars run with less drag, but there will be still be an advantage, so we need to see which teams use it and if we are able to as well. This circuit can sometimes throw up some surprises, so I prefer to stay cautious when it comes to predictions. But if the car feels as good as it did in Spa, then theres no reason why we wont be competitive in Monza.
Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
I was on pole position for GP2 in Monza last year. I was leading for the majority of the race, but finished second because I had to slow down when there was an accident in front of me and I lost the lead. Despite this, it remains a good memory for me, although now in Formula One I will need to learn it again and adapt my driving style. Monza is a great track with some famous corners like Parabolica and the Lesmos. What is important is not to make any mistakes, because even if you lose a few tenths, it could cost five places or even more. It will be interesting to race there and I look forward to it. My target again is to be in the top 10.
James Allison, Renault technical director
Monza is very different from all the other circuits and so we have had to prepare a bespoke package that we will not use anywhere else. Monza has such long straights and so few corners that it requires much smaller wings than any other track. To add further complication, the F-duct is a potential alternative option for Monza. Like several other teams, we too are evaluating whether we can make the device work in the particular, low-downforce environment of Monza
Monza is very different from the mainstream bunch of tracks that make up the calendar, but generally speaking the cars that are good at one track tend to be good everywhere, regardless of the downforce levels. The performance of the R30 in Spa therefore gives me confidence that we can compete for similarly good results at all the remaining tracks, including Monza. We will be aiming to get both cars well inside the top ten both in qualifying and the race this weekend.
Bruno Senna, HRT
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
The track in Monza is full of history and the atmosphere there is very nice. Since 2005, I have been racing in Monza every year except in 2009 and I am always looking forward to racing there. It is a very high speed circuit with slow chicanes and medium speed corners interrupting the straight lines. So the car is configured with low downforce for maximum speed. The brakes and tyres are used very hard due to the high speed nature with low speed corners. I hope to have another competitive weekend against the new teams and still look forward to achieving our best results.
Sakon Yamamoto, HRT
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
I was driving a Formula 1 car two times in Monza: in 2006 with Super Aguri F1 and in 2007 with Spyker F1. The circuit is very traditional and I am always looking forward to race there. The car has the lowest downforce setting of the whole season and the maximum speed is around 340 km/h. With this set-up, braking into the first corner is hard and difficult. We need to be prepared for good straight line speed and I am really looking forward to be in the car again.
Dr Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
After the exciting race in Belgium, we are looking forward to coming to another historical Grand Prix in Monza. The Autodromo di Monza is an ultimate power circuit with a top speed rate of 70 per cent. We have to find a very low downforce set-up for the car to achieve maximum speed. With top speeds of up to 340 km/h, the cars are difficult to control and the drivers have to be attentive and concentrated. We want to show a good performance and to finish the race with both of our cars again.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2009 Qualifying - 6th, 2009 Race - 2nd
Obviously, my non-finish in Spa wasnt ideal for my championship aspirations, so I head to Monza next weekend determined to put myself back in the hunt for the title. Our pace over the whole weekend in Belgium was extremely encouraging - were developing the car at a very rapid rate, and were learning more about it all the time, so Im optimistic that well be able to maintain that form in Italy next weekend. We still have some work to do to make sure the package we bring to Italy is perfectly suited to the track, but Im confident that our engineers have made some good steps forward with their understanding of our car, so we should be in good shape. I love racing at Monza - its a totally unique experience; running minimal downforce at incredible speeds along the straights, and then coping with the lack of grip, and an extremely skittish car, through the low-speed stuff. Given the competitiveness at the front of the field, this could be an intense, thrilling Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2009 Qualifying - 1st, 2009 Race - 12th
Our victory in Belgium showed that, as a team, we never give up, and that well always bounce back from adversity feeling stronger and more determined than before. This team has such an incredible fighting spirit - we strive to win, and I hope that Spa is only the start of a run of stronger form for us as we head into the final races of the championship. Ive made no secret of my wish to win this race. Monza is an incredible circuit - full of history and stories from the past. It has a special feeling in the air that you dont find anywhere else in the world. Its a circuit that inspires you to race at your limit, and Ill be pushing hard all weekend. Finally, Im looking forward to meeting the Italian fans this weekend. I pretty much grew up racing karts in Italy, so Ive always appreciated and understood the passion and support of the fans for Formula One, and motorsport in general. Even if its not always obvious, I know that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes does have a deep pocket of support in Italy. So I hope the whole team can have another great race at one of the classic tracks in Formula One.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Even though, on paper, the Monza circuits characteristics appear to suit our package, developing a car that performs well on one of the most unique venues on the Formula One calendar is no easy job. The low-downforce, extreme high-speed nature of Monza demands its own bespoke aero package - and getting that downforce level correct is not as straightforward as it seems. We require a complex number of mechanical and aerodynamic variables to work harmoniously if we are to provide both Jenson and Lewis with front-running machinery this weekend. Obviously, Lewiss victory at Spa was perfectly timed, and has substantially motivated the entire workforce ahead of these closing races. After Jensons unfortunate failure to finish in Belgium, we are determined to reignite his championship push next weekend to get him back into the hunt for the drivers title. Its no secret that theres a tremendous amount of fight in this team - and Im proud of every single persons efforts to provide us with a winning edge. We know how to win races and world championships, and, clearly, we will once again be pushing for victory this weekend.
Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
The last time I raced in Monza was in 2006. This track is a classic, it has a lot of personality and is different to any other we race on. This is what I like a lot about Monza, because with all the modern circuits nowadays it is exceptional to find one that is unique. You also have to drive it differently to any other race track. Obviously the speeds are very high, you run low downforce, have very hard braking and need to cut the chicanes. This all together makes it very demanding, especially for the engines, brakes and suspension. It is definitely not going to be an easy weekend for us, as it is not somewhere that should suit our car too well. But we have proven, for example in Budapest, that we can also do well at places which theoretically should be difficult for us. I always like going to Italy and Im looking forward to the race.
Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
I have very good memories of Monza because it was there where I won the championship in the Formula Renault Eurocup back in 2005, and I also raced there in GP2. It is a very high-speed circuit with a lot of hard braking. I quite like it, although I think it will be difficult for our car. We will have to find the best solutions and make sure we get everything right over the weekend, make no mistakes and so optimise our chances. Without doubt my goal is to score some more points before we go to Asia.
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
Monza is one of the special tracks of the year with a wonderful atmosphere and all the support from the tifosi the teams receive there. It is unique, as its the only very high-speed circuit of the season. All the teams run the minimum drag levels, because the very long straights and few corners make it beneficial to run far less drag. We will run an aero package on our car which is designed specifically for there. It consists of different rear wing options, as well as front wing versions to match them. The important part of the set-up of the car will be to tune the downforce levels correctly to find a good compromise for some of the more tricky areas like the Lesmo corners, the Ascari chicane and the Parabolica, but at the same time also giving high braking stability, which has significant influence on the lap time. Also important is the performance over the kerbs, particularly in the first two chicanes with probably the biggest kerbs of the year. You can find a good lap time there if the car is working well. For us its difficult to pin expectations because its such a unique event. Its possibly not a circuit best suited to our car, so we will work hard to make sure we can do the best possible job.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
2009 Qualifying - 18th, 2009 Race - 16th
"Monza is absolutely one of the top race tracks in the world. Not only for the speed and the challenge but also for the passion and enthusiasm of the Italian fans who really love their racing. There is always a special feeling about the Monza weekend and I love racing there. We made a good recovery from a difficult start to the weekend in Spa and it was nice to come away with some points. Monza is a completely different type of track but we will hope for an equally good weekend there."
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2009 Qualifying - n/a, 2009 Race - n/a
"Spa was quite an entertaining race weekend which I like to look back on as we achieved a reasonable result considering the circumstances. The next race in Monza might well be entertaining in a very different way as I expect it to be a real challenge for our team. We have seen already several times this year that circuits with characteristics like those of Monza do not really play in our hands. Of course, we will go there prepared to try hard to achieve the maximum we can from our package and we will see to what extent we can achieve that and fight our way through. On a personal level, I am very much looking forward to returning to Monza where I have been supported so warmly over so many years."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"The double points finish in Spa was a boost for the team and it would be rewarding to repeat the achievement at the final European race of the season in Monza next weekend. Monza is simply a fantastic racing venue and one of the highlights of the calendar. The grandstands are always packed and the fans create a wonderful atmosphere over the weekend. From an engineering perspective, aerodynamic efficiency with a low downforce package is fundamental to minimise drag, along with good brakes and traction plus a powerful engine to achieve the necessary high top speeds on the long straights. We are all looking forward to the weekend."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Monza is definitely a 'one of a kind' circuit on the calendar. The unique high-speed nature of this classic track differentiates Monza from any other circuit and of course it is very special as the home race for our highly valued competitors Ferrari who have competed in the world championship for longer than any other team. As always, we will run with a special aerodynamic configuration in Monza to suit the requirements of this high-speed circuit and hope to achieve a respectable result next weekend in Italy."
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2009 Qualifying - 4th, 2009 Race - 6th
After Spa Im feeling really good physically and mentally. Before we got to Belgium, I had a proper rest for a week, and then got back into training for the second couple of weeks of the summer break to prepare myself for the end of the season. It paid off because I felt great all weekend in Spa and now Im looking forward to Monza and then the remaining races. Monza is one of the real highlights of the year and itll be good to be back in Italy. Its a very different type of circuit and it has a great atmosphere. Obviously Ferrari have huge support out in the stands, but so do the other teams as the fans just love F1. I think itll be a pretty cool weekend - for us drivers its a high speed track and with the low downforce configuration it makes it very interesting to race there. For the fans its cool as well as the cars are pushed to the limit, and they look and sound pretty awesome on track.
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2009 Qualifying - 11th, 2009 Race - 14th
Monza is a very special Grand Prix. We Italian drivers have fantastic support out there, and the fans are really fired up for the race. Its such a warm atmosphere, you cant help but enjoy it. The track is challenging, but its not as technical as some of them. You obviously need good top speed, low downforce, good traction good braking stability. Everyone talks about the low downforce, but the brakes play a really crucial role. You need to have the confidence to brake as late as possible and as hard as possible at the chicanes, and then you need to have really good traction to get yourself out of them as quickly as possible. I think we saw in Spa that our car is pretty good at the quicker tracks, so I think well be able to repeat our performance in Belgium - as long as we come out ahead of our nearest rivals well be happy, and then well be back in the air for the remaining races of 2010.
Tony Fernandes, Lotus team principal
Ive had to watch the last few races on TV as other commitments have kept me away from the races, so itll be good to be back on track in Italy. The last couple of weeks have been very exciting for the whole team - weve seen Nabil Jeffri, a Malaysian superstar in the making, become the youngest ever driver to test an F1 car at the aero test we ran on Wednesday, and it was a very proud moment for me to see him put in a great days work for us in what must have been a pretty stressful environment for such a young guy. He proves what Ive always believed - work hard to achieve your dreams and they will come true. Thats the same for everyone in Lotus Racing - exactly one year ago on September 12th our Formula One dream came true, and now well be competing at one of the worlds great race tracks, bringing the green and yellow cars back to where they belong, and I cant wait to see the reaction of the crowds when we take to the track. Mike has already said what it means to him to see our cars racing hard just 12 months since we started work on this amazing team, and I echo his thoughts entirely. It has been an amazing journey already, but after Monza well be heading back to Asia, and its going to keep getting more exciting with every step we take.
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
Looking back to last weekend, Spa was in many ways one of our best performance of the year so far. We have had better positions at the end of a number of races, but in terms of reliability, Spa was our strongest performance to date. Now we go to Monza and thats always a special place to race - the Tifosi create an incredible atmosphere, and while its obviously focused on Ferrari, I think seeing Jarno and Heikki in our green and yellow cars will be pretty special for some of the most passionate motorsport fans in the world.
Monza will also be very special for me, Tony, Din, Nasa, Riad and the whole team on a personal level. Race day is the 12th September, which is exactly one year to the day since we heard that our entry into the 2010 Formula One World Championship had been accepted. Its hard to put into words just what that means to all of us, but its already been an incredible 365 days, and we have many more exciting times to come. Ive been asked a number of times if I really thought wed be able to do what looked to many like an impossible task - creating a team from literally just words on a piece of paper to now sitting 10th in the championship, best of the new teams and with a very bright future ahead of us.
Onto the track itself: Monza is unique as its now the lowest downforce circuit on the modern Formula One calendar. For the race weekend, well have a revised low downforce package with new front and rear wings, plus a few other smaller modifications to the cars.