Italy preview quotes - Red Bull, Lotus, Sauber & more 30 Aug 2013
Round 12 of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the paddock journey to one of the most historic circuits on the calendar - the high-speed heaven that is Monza. Those involved in the Formula 1 Gran Premio d'Italia 2013 discuss their prospects for the coming weekend
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 6th, 2012 Race - 22nd
Monza is the fastest circuit of the year. The track itself is in principle only made up of straights and chicanes. Because of this we reach the fastest top speed of the year at Monza, getting up to 330 km/h. The acceleration through the Parabolica is a balancing act - if you make the smallest error then you will slide straight into the gravel before you know it.
This track brings back great memories for me, mainly from my first win there in 2008 with Toro Rosso. I cant describe the feeling of standing on the top of the podium for the first time, and Monza was one of the best places to experience it because of the thousands of passionate fans that stand beneath, it gives you goose bumps.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 11th, 2012 Race - 20th
I like Monza a lot because its very Formula One in terms of its history and its atmosphere. All of the greats have raced there and I have an affinity with Italians from my Minardi days. The track is one of a kind, its an incredibly fast circuit with high top speeds, so theres a lot of heavy braking. Monza has never been that kind to me; Ive had a few retirements and have never finished on the podium, so I want to get a good result there this year!
The Tifosi really make the atmosphere of the weekend, they go ballistic and theyre very passionate about a certain red team. They will climb anything to get a good view: they sit in trees, on billboards and after the second Lesmo they sit on the old banking with their feet hanging over the barrier. Overall, Monza is one of the races that I recommend people go to.
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 8th, 2012 Race - 5th
Its true that I have never won in Italy. For one reason or another things just havent worked out for me, but it doesnt mean I cant drive the track. Just because I have not won at a circuit in the past it doesnt mean that I wont win or get a good result there in the future. It is true that I have previously had some very competitive weekends there - once or twice I have been close to the win - but something has always gone wrong. Hopefully we will have a real chance to fight for that victory this time.
Monzas a historical place with a unique design where we achieve very high speeds. Its a real challenge for everyone to be running so fast and a really good feeling in the car. Its the home of the Tifosi and there will be a lot of Finnish fans there too. The atmosphere is just out of reach for every other Grand Prix. Its great to go there with everything working well in your car and see how quickly you can go. Its the place where we go really, really fast.
Monza always gives a great challenge. Its so different compared with the more modern circuits as the layout means the car needs to be set up differently. To go fast at Monza you need a car that is good aerodynamically, stable over the kerbs, and has a strong engine as we are using full throttle for most of the lap. I think we should be pretty good in those areas, but we wont know exactly how good until we get out on track.
Its a unique circuit with the high speeds achieved there and everyone will be running the lowest level of downforce we see all year. Low downforce has not always been the best for our car, but the factory has been working hard to get more speed and stability for us with some changes to the car. Lets wait and see how the car goes on Friday morning and then well have a better idea of what can be achieved.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
Its a race I wasnt allowed to contest last season and as a racing driver all you want to do is race, so I cant wait to take to the track for the first time in practice on Friday morning. Its a very historic venue; a beautiful circuit in a fantastic location and racing there is always great. Its a special feeling when you are blasting through the park along the Monza straights, and there are so many really enthusiastic fans there. I have to admit, though, its not only the racing Im looking forward to as Italian cuisine is superb. Ill be visiting a couple of restaurants during my stay
For the designers, you need to have a car thats very slippery through the air. Then for the engineers, you have to make the correct decision on gearing to make the most of the slippery car and engine power along the straights. For the driver in the car, there are a couple of heavy braking areas where you are slowing from the highest speeds of the year, so you have to be careful to get your braking right otherwise you can overshoot the corner. You see that quite a few times over the weekend.
It can be quite hot there sometimes and it can be hard on the tyres. Considering that this is where we seem to have an advantage with our car, lets hope for both! You use the kerbs quite a bit, which looks good on the slow motion cameras but you certainly know about it in the car! Basically, its a pretty great track.
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
Monzas a very different circuit from Spa and we have an equally different aerodynamic package for the car. The weather is usually better in Italy than we saw in Belgium this year so that could help us. We certainly expect better performance and results than we saw last time out.
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
Theres certainly nothing (about Monza) which jumps up and causes us any great concerns. You need an aerodynamically efficient car - which we have - and a powerful engine which Renault supplies us with. You also need a car that has good change of direction for the interruptions to the straights. Some of the challenges of Monza have diminished over time; an example being the kerbs which are not as aggressive as they once were. You still need to have the suspension sufficiently compliant to enable kerb usage, but its not as much of a consideration as before. (A longer chassis) is certainly something we have looked at with the lessons learnt this season and we could see a longer wheelbase configuration make an appearance in Monza.
Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2012 Qualifying -24th, 2012 Race - 21st
Monza is a track with a lot of history and the only true high-speed circuit of the season. I still remember sealing my GP2 title there in 2009. After the race on Sunday morning I was the champion. Monza requires a low-downforce configuration, which can make the car quite tricky to drive when braking from 340 km/h down to speeds of about 60 km/h in the chicanes. Its a very nice race with a good atmosphere in the Parco di Monza where a lot of passionate Italian fans cheer on the Scuderia Ferrari. I enjoy driving there, as its a simple layout but its not as easy as it looks. There are some technical bits and chicanes and you really have to master the kerbs.
Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
Monza is a great track, and very different to Spa. Its important to consider that. Coming from a track like Spa, we need to adapt to Monza in terms of driving style, strategy and set-up. It will be a crucial weekend, because stability in slow corners is important and, unfortunately, this is where weve been struggling. We have to focus on that and try to improve. My favourite part of the track is the Variante Ascari, a left-right-left combination. Its very quick, you have to get the right line, react quickly to the kerbs and the bumps, and its fun. Our pace is good, but now we need to complement that with the right decisions. I have great memories of Monza, as I won the Formula BMW and GP3 titles there. I remember very well my pole position lap there in GP3, this point made the difference and I went on to win the championship, so it was very special.
Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
Monza is a unique challenge for the drivers and engineers as the circuit efficiency requires our lowest drag configuration of the season. The track is well known for its long straights. The majority of the grip-limited time comes from medium-speed cornering and two lower-speed chicanes. The track is pretty bumpy in some areas and you need to be able to use the kerbs, so the ride quality is also an important factor. The track tends to favour strategies with less stops because of the low fuel effect and the time you lose in the pit lane. We have some further developments to be tested. Again, Pirelli has selected the medium and hard tyre compounds. Coming from Spa we are confident we can fight for points in this final European race.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 2nd, 2012 Race - DNF
Ive always loved Monza. I really enjoy circuits that have a bit of history to them, and Monza has that in abundance - its one of the greatest tracks on the calendar. The place is unique: ever since we lost the old Hockenheim, this has been the only place on the calendar where you run a really super-low downforce configuration. And you can feel it - the car accelerates up to speed incredibly quickly, feels skittish and loose when youre running flat-out, and can be tricky and unpredictable under braking. But thats what makes the place a special kind of challenge, and I really enjoy that. When you have the car hooked up beneath you, you get into a special kind of rhythm around Monza: youre going so fast that the whole lap just flows together. Theres nowhere quite like it. So its really appropriate that McLaren will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the paddock over the Monza weekend. Both names are synonymous with motorsport history - you couldnt imagine Formula One without them - so Ill be hoping for a strong result to show the strength and depth that we have as a team.
Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 13th, 2012 Race - 2nd
Monza is probably the most beautiful circuit in Formula One - its just so historic; from the moment you arrive, you can feel its just different from any other place we visit. In fact, I had one of my best races in Formula One at Monza last year - everything came right on Sunday afternoon, I looked after the tyres beautifully and overtook Fernando Alonso on my way to finishing second, which equals my best-ever result in the sport. That was a fantastic day.
After the disappointment of Spa, where we had the pace to score points, Im keen to get another shot. As in Hungary and Belgium, we dont expect to have a car thatll be capable of fighting right at the front, but I hope well be scrapping for points positions. Thats always fun, because then its really down to the team and the driver to maximise every opportunity on the day. When youre racing hard like that, a good lap in quali or a clever strategy in the race can make all the difference to your result - and that's great to experience. So, as always, Ill be looking to push on every lap.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
This years Italian Grand Prix will be a very special weekend for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, as itll be the race where we celebrate our 50th anniversary - a landmark for any sporting organisation, let alone a Grand Prix team. Since the formation of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd in September 1963, and our Formula One debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, no F1 team has won more races (182) than McLaren - an incredible record.
Its appropriate that well be marking the passage of time at a circuit that is both venerable and yet eternally evergreen: in terms of history, nothing really comes close to Monza in terms of capturing the spirits past of motor racing. Yet, its also the fastest racetrack in Formula One, a temple to raw speed, and a circuit that will always deserve its place on the calendar. Its richly evocative, and a place that I love. We have some special events and surprises planned to mark our anniversary, but itll be Monza itself that will make the weekend unique.
Charles Pic, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - 21st, 2012 Race - 16th
Monzas a great place to race F1 cars. Its so quick, the atmosphere is amazing (even though its almost only Ferrari supporters out there!) and its a track that has a lot of history, some of which you can see in the old banking on the way out of the track to remind you what it used to be like. Its our last race in Europe this year and it would be good to finish the European season on a positive. Wed put in strong performances in the three practice sessions in Spa but we were unlucky, both with the call to the weighbridge in Q1 and the oil leak in the race so Monza gives us a chance to move straight on and put that bad luck behind us.
Im in the simulator at Leafield before we arrive in Monza, so well have a chance to try a few setup options before we get to the track. Well be running the low-downforce package for this race and the main focus will be on finding a setup that gives us maximum straight-line speed and a car that we can really attack the kerbs with. Thats important for lap time, particularly in T3 and T7, as you need to be able to minimise the time in the corners by pushing the car over the kerbs, so having the right mechanical setup is crucial. Well also be working a lot on braking stability - brake wear and cooling are both pretty manageable at Monza, but its important to have a car thats behaving consistently in the braking zones as thats where you can make up, and lose, time.
Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a
Our last European race of the season is Monza, another classic Grand Prix venue and a track where Ive won in both Formula Renault 3.5 and in GP2. After the last couple of races Ill go to Monza feeling positive about the next race and the rest of the season. The whole team had a lot of praise for what we did in Spa, particularly taking advantage of the conditions on Saturday, and its good to see people understanding that what were doing now is exactly what we said we would do this year - learn, improve and deliver the results we want. Fourteenth in Hungary and both qualifying and the race in Spa show how the package is coming on and its a good feeling for me and the whole team.
Moving on to Monza - its a track that could suit us in the fight with our nearest competitors. Its often hot and its the quickest track of the year, one where we run very low-downforce settings and that should suit our car. Last year the team was pretty competitive and well aim to make sure we are again. If its not hot and we have anything like the conditions we did in Spa then weve shown we can take advantage of unpredictable weather, and even though another P3 in Q1 might be unlikely, we still know we can be bold and aggressive when theres a chance to surprise a few people. Maybe our next chance will be Monza - if not Im sure there will be other races this year when we can show what we can do.
More to follow.
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