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Italy preview quotes - Caterham, Marussia, Williams & more 04 Sep 2014

Tifosi watch the podium ceremony.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 8 September 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 23 August 2014 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 22 August 2014 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 23 August 2014 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus E22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Austrian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spielberg, Austria, Saturday, 21 June 2014 Federico Gastaldi (ARG) Lotus F1 Team Deputy Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 25 July 2014 Nick Chester (GBR) Lotus Technical Director.
Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 28 February 2014 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 23 August 2014 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 22 August 2014 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 21 August 2014 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India, signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 21 August 2014 Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India Formula One Team Owner and Gerard Lopez (FRA) Genii Capital / Lotus Team Principal on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 11 May 2014 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 18 July 2014 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 22 August 2014 Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 23 August 2014 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Sauber Test and Reserve Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 4 July 2014 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 24 August 2014 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Race Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 24 August 2014 Toto Wolff (AUT) Mercedes AMG F1 Director of Motorsport, right, celebrates with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, 20 July 2014 Paddy Lowe (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Executive Director (Technical).
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 7 June 2014 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One Testing, Day Three, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 1 March 2014 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren.
Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 20 February 2014 Eric Boullier (FRA) McLaren Racing Director.
Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 20 February 2014 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Day One, Tuesday, 28 January 2014 Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Day Three, Thursday, 30 January 2014 Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 27 March 2014 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 27 March 2014 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 22 August 2014 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice, Hungaroring, Hungary. Friday, 25 July 2014 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 18 July 2014 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Hungaroring, Hungary. Thursday, 24 July 2014 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Saturday, 23 August 2014 Nurburg (GER) 11-13 JULY 2014 - World Series by Renault at the Nurburgring. Race2: Roberto Merhi #22 Zeta Corse. Podium.

Two weeks on from a thrilling race at Spa-Francorchamps, the Formula One paddock moves on to historic Monza where the cars are expected to reach the highest speeds seen all year. Those involved in the Formula 1 Gran Premio d'Italia 2014 discuss their prospects…

Lotus
Romain Grosjean
2013 Qualifying - 13th, 2013 Race - 8th

“I like Monza a lot because it is so distinctive. Monza is a great track that has a lot of great racing history. This makes it nice for us to compete at a place where all our heroes raced too. There is a lot of atmosphere around the track and to race in the setting of the royal park makes for a really special ambience. Of course the Ferrari fans are a big part of it and it is really nice competing at such a legendary venue.

“One of my first ever races in cars was at Monza back in 2003 when I was driving in a category called Formula Lista where I won and then went on to win every race of my rookie season in that formula. I have had some other big results at Monza too throughout my career, so it holds lots of good memories.

“What are my aspirations for Monza? I think that it will be tough for us. On paper it is not one of the races that we should do that well at. But as always we will be fighting hard and trying to get the maximum from the weekend, so that it gives us good momentum for the Singapore weekend later in September when we should be stronger and the track should suit the E22 a little better. We will have a one-off rear wing for Monza and the key will be to make the car as quick as possible from an aero point of view, so that we can get back some of the performance from our straight-line speed disadvantage. Then we have to manage the tyre degradation.

"Also for us it will be tricky in the big corners like the Lesmos and the Ascari chicane because the less downforce you have then the more difficult it is to get good grip in the turns. It is a tough compromise but one I am sure that the team will get the best solution possible.”

Pastor Maldonado
2013 Qualifying - 15th, 2013 Race - 14th

“I like Monza and I love Italy. I actually used to live very close to the circuit when I was starting my career here in Europe. I have won races here so it holds some good memories and special feelings for sure. I have a lot of friends here and a lot of supporters who come and see me at the track, so it is very nice to catch up with them all. The track is totally unique and of course it is great to be racing where all the old heroes did too. Monza has changed only very slightly over the years and it still has the character of the old banking and the parkland trees as you drive through it and of course the fans create a great atmosphere which is a great soundtrack to the Grand Prix.

“The track is all about how fast you can go on the start/finish straight and then also on the back straight too. We are reaching the highest speeds of the season on these stretches. One of the critical points is the Parabolica corner. You have to get this right at the end of your lap to ensure a good time, and if you get it wrong it also compromises you for the next lap. It’s difficult to do this as the car is set-up for low downforce on the straights, so it’s more difficult to drive on the corners - especially a long corner like Parabolica, which is tough and fast, the most crucial at Monza.

“For sure it is going to be a tough weekend again for us at Lotus F1 Team. Monza is all about power combined with a low downforce set-up so it is a big challenge. I think it will be interesting to see the new 2014-spec cars here because the track is so unique and there is a very particular way to get the best out of the cars. They will be difficult to drive I think for everyone but we will be doing our best to put the Spa weekend behind us and to get more positive energy going before we head off on the long haul races.”

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal
“Monza is a real test for the engineers and drivers because it is the ultimate compromise in speed and aero balance for the car. That is unique in F1 these days. It will be interesting to see how they rise to the challenge. We go there in a difficult position as we are not the fastest in a straight line. But we will push to the maximum, matching the passion and spirit we see off the track from the fans, with our usual determination on it. We have to dig in and make sure we are in the best position possible for when our luck changes.”

Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
“Monza is quite challenging because it is such a low downforce circuit. It is difficult to get grip in the car and for the drivers to feel comfortable - so working on the car set-up is key. We will also focus on the braking so Romain and Pastor can make gains on the entries to the chicanes and generally feel more comfortable in feeling where the limits are. We have more aero parts to take to Italy which we will try on the Friday free practice sessions. We will have a low-drag rear wing for Monza that is circuit-specific and as a result the skinniest we will run all season. It is all about meeting the low downforce challenge.”

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel
2013 Qualifying - 1st, 2013 Race - 1st

“Italy offers a lot: good food, nice places and I think this is the reason you will find a lot of Germans on the beaches there for their holidays! I spent a lot of time when I was young karting in Italy so I got to know a few places like Lake Garda, Napoli in Northern Italy, and Parma, which has a great karting circuit. The level of karting is quite high in Italy because there are a lot of manufacturers there. I have some friends in Italy from the karting days and also Toro Rosso so it is nice to go back there. For me one of the best places is obviously Monza for the race circuit, which is one of the fastest tracks we go to. The 5.793 km long track has brutal deceleration points, is especially tough on the brakes and the tyres are also heavily loaded, especially in the fast corners such as the Curva Grande and Parabolica. It is extremely difficult in Monza to get a perfect lap because it is almost impossible to hit every curve and every chicane in the way you want.”

Daniel Ricciardo
2013 Qualifying - 7th, 2013 Race - 10th

“The biggest challenges at Monza nowadays are the braking zones. The first chicane is the ultimate example: you’re coming down to that first chicane at the highest speed an F1 car will reach all year and you’re braking into one of the tightest corners you’ll take all year. Added to that you’re doing this with the least amount of downforce you’ll have all year – which means the car tends to slide around quite a bit as well as taking longer to stop. You can’t afford to lock a brake but equally you can’t lose time by being too eager on the pedal. It demands that you are really focused all of the time. I’m not really that keen on super-long straights; I find them a little dull compared to hammering through a series of demanding corners but Monza is the exception to that. There’s something about flashing through those trees in front of that massive crowd that definitely gets the pulse all the way up! Also the crowd in Monza is wild. Obviously it’s full-on Ferrari but in the past they’ve always been very generous to me. I’d love to get the opportunity to stand on that brilliant podium and find out!”

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg
2013 Qualifying - 3rd, 2013 Race - 5th

"It's a fantastic weekend and I really enjoy everything about the event: the town, the people and the track. The atmosphere is just brilliant with the energy of the fans and the history of the place. It's also a fun track to drive. It looks simple, but hooking up a quick lap is still a challenge and it's easy to make mistakes. I expect us to be quite competitive there - it should be better for us than Spa. It's all about power and top speed and we know the engine will be strong. We also have a new low downforce rear wing that we will use for Monza only. Braking from top speed for the chicanes with a skinny rear wing is always tricky."

Sergio Perez
2013 Qualifying - 8th, 2013 Race - 12th

"[Monza] is another favourite of mine. I think everybody enjoys going there because it's such a beautiful location. I raced there a few times before Formula One and always had good results. I was on the podium two years ago [finishing second] – it was one of my best races in Formula One and a very special memory. I think it's going to be a good track for us. It's important to qualify in the top ten to have a chance of scoring good points. It's difficult to overtake at Monza and if you are out of position it's hard to recover."

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
"It was promising to return after the summer break with some points, although fewer than we would have probably deserved based on our pace. Both Checo and Nico showed a lot of fighting spirit to make up several positions from their grid slots and we were able to get five points as a reward. We could have possibly been a few more places ahead had we not started so far back. We're now sixth in the standings and coming away from Spa we are only two points away from fifth place with all to play for in the coming races. The Italian Grand Prix is always a great event and this circuit is legendary. It is also one that should suit our car, with long straights and an emphasis on power. Both Checo and Nico have had good results here in the past and will hopefully do the same this year."

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"Racing at home is always a source of immense pleasure and pride for us, particularly because many of our employees who don't normally travel to races get to see our tyres in action for the only time all season. Our home race also happens to be one of the most demanding races of the year for the tyres, due to the rapid layout of the circuit: the reason why Monza is known as 'the temple of speed'. The faster a circuit is, generally the more stressful it is for the tyres because of the heat build-up that all these forces entail. The cars run a very low downforce set-up for Monza to maximise their top speed on the straights. This has a distinct effect on the tyres, as less downforce means that the cars tend to slide more and run a greater risk of wheels locking up in the braking areas, which are a key element of Monza. These lock-ups can lead to flat spots, although the design of our tyre structure and compounds this year means that flat spots are a much less common occurrence than they used to be."

Sauber
Esteban Gutierrez
2013 Qualifying - 17th, 2013 Race - 13th

"I am looking forward to going to Monza. Due to the track layout, we need a high top speed in order to be fast on the straights. Monza's characteristics are different in comparison to the other circuits on the calendar. On one side, there are long straights, but on the other there are also two very slow chicanes on which we will use the kerbs. Therefore, the mechanical set-up of the car is crucial. From an aerodynamic point of view, it is important to have low drag, and, as a result, the downforce is much reduced. Ascari and Parabolica are my favourite corners on the track. In Monza it is not only the circuit that is special, but also the event itself. I am always excited to go there."

Adrian Sutil
2013 Qualifying - 14th, 2013 Race - 16th

"The race weekend in Monza is always a very special event due to the popularity of Formula 1 and the tifosi. It is surely one of my favourite Grands Prix, as the Italians are great fans, and they generate a nice atmosphere around the track. The circuit is the fastest on the calendar, and I am curious about the top speed on the straights with the new engines. The car needs to be stable under braking, as in the first chicane we reduce our speed from approximately 340 kph to about 60 kph, and on top of that we hit the kerbs. On the long straights a high top speed is important, which can be achieved by a very low downforce. As Pirelli has chosen the medium and hard compounds, it could be a challenge for us to bring the tyres up to temperature. After the German Grand Prix, the race weekend in Monza is another home race for the team, as the track is not far away from the Swiss border. I am looking forward to racing there, the Italian Grand Prix has a remarkable history."

Giedo van der Garde, test and reserve driver
"It is great to be back again in the cockpit on Friday morning. Particularly in Monza, there is always a special atmosphere, and the Italian people are really passionate about motorsport. I like this high speed track, and with the new engines and the special aero package we will be very quick on the straights. It is important to have a high straight-line speed, and to be fast through the chicanes. We need to find a compromise with the downforce level resulting in a high straight-line speed, but also finding the right set-up for a stable car. During the first free practice session we will test different configurations in order to find the best possible package. My favourite corner is Ascari, which is very technical and for me a perfect combination. I believe the spectators will see a lot of oversteering cars there. The track has quite high kerbs, while when you brake hard the rear is moving and the car is sliding around. It is good fun, and I look forward to driving there."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
"Racing at Monza is special. The engineering challenges posed by such a circuit are standalone. On the long straights the car hits speeds that aren't reached anywhere else. Even if the number of corners per lap is low, every range of cornering speed is covered. Strong braking is fundamental, as well as traction out of the chicanes and stability over the bumps and kerbs. The car's set up is heavily biased towards speed, and the drivers need to somehow reset their references to the minimal level of downforce carried. As for the tyre allocation, Pirelli have opted for the hard and the medium compounds, which is an very conservative choice. One step softer sounded more sensible for such a circuit, and we suspect that a number of teams will struggle to get the primes into their temperature working window."

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton
2013 Qualifying - 12th, 2013 Race - 9th

"The Italian Grand Prix is always a special one for me in terms of the memories I have there - going right back to my early career. The karting championships used to race in Italy quite often and it's also where I met Nico - so that's where our rivalry really began. Monza is such a historic circuit and to win there is a really special feeling. I had that experience in 2012 and I'd love to do it again in 2014. Last season we really struggled at this race - but we have a fantastic car this year and I'm confident we can make up for it this time around. One thing I always love about racing at Monza is the fans. They're just so passionate about motorsport and the buzz around the place is unbelievable - particularly on the podium. Hopefully we can reward them with some exciting racing. My aim for the weekend, of course, is to claw back the gap in the drivers' championship. It's as big as it's been all season so I've got a lot of work ahead of me - but anything can happen in this sport. I won't give up until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi and there's still plenty of points to be won before then, so it's far from over yet."

Nico Rosberg
2013 Qualifying - 6th, 2013 Race - 6th

"Monza is a circuit I really enjoy going to. Firstly, the history of the place is fantastic and then there's the fans - the Tifosi - who make an incredible atmosphere. I've not had much luck at this race in the past - 2011 in particular where I didn't even make it past the first corner! But this year things are different. We have a great car and with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit behind us I feel confident we can get a really great result. It's still all to play for in the Championship and with the double points race in Abu Dhabi anything can still happen. I'm focused on taking the maximum points possible in the remaining seven races and I know the team is too - starting with a top result this weekend."

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"After a tough weekend in Belgium, our attention is now fully focused on the next race at Monza. We have a quick car but we have not delivered our full potential in recent races and that must be our target this weekend. It's no less than the people at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart deserve, with everyone working flat out to ensure we finish the job this season. Of course, Spa was a reminder to us as a team that our competition are never far away and we must continue to tackle every weekend as if it could be the defining moment of our season. Monza is a fantastic venue - a legendary circuit with incredible fans and a truly great standing in motorsport history. When the Silver Arrows first took on the Italian Grand Prix back in the 1950s it could not have been a better story, with victories in both races. We approach this weekend with a repeat of that achievement firmly in our sights."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
"Despite the end result, it was encouraging to see the potential of our car in Belgium - both in wet and dry conditions as we saw during qualifying and the race respectively. Spa, of course, brings with it quite unique aerodynamic requirements - also a factor at Monza, which sees the lowest drag configuration of the year. We therefore approach this weekend very much in the hope of showing similar pace to that seen in Spa. Demands on the cars at Monza are numerous and significant - with long straights, tight chicanes and high kerbs making it particularly tough on engines, brakes and suspension. The drivers spend a large portion of the lap at full throttle and temperatures can often be relatively high, so there is plenty to manage in terms of both endurance and setup to maximise performance. It's a fantastic location for a Grand Prix. Weaving through parkland and with many elements of the original layout - including the spectacular high banking - still present as a reminder of the heritage and standing this place holds within world motorsport. The fans too are second to none in terms of their passion and enthusiasm - and that's what makes Formula One such a great sport. The combination of each of these aspects makes it all the more special and satisfying to win at Monza. It's a venue that has produced mixed results for both of our drivers in the past, with last year's race proving to be a tough test for the team as a whole. We fully intend to rectify that this time around."

McLaren
Jenson Button
2013 Qualifying - 9th, 2013 Race - 7th

“I think every racing driver looks forward to Monza. It’s one of the greatest circuits in the world, with a unique layout and an atmosphere and vibe that make it probably the most special place we visit each year. I’ll never grow tired of going there.

“Driving out of the pits at Monza is always cool. You’ve been so used to the higher downforce levels that we run at most other circuits, that it just feels crazy when the speeds keeps rising and rising - it never seems to end. And, with ERS and DRS, I think we could have a very special Monza race.

“It’s such a fast circuit that it really requires a different driving approach to any other circuit on the calendar. You’re running such low levels of downforce that braking and accelerating are made much trickier - under heavy braking, the car is constantly trying to break away from you; equally, when you’re trying to get the throttle down, the car is unsettled, so the rear is squirming around. It’s a unique challenge.”

Kevin Magnussen
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a

“I last raced at Monza in the World Series by Renault 3.5 back in April last year. I was runner-up in both events, and took a pole too. I’m looking forward to getting back there: it’s such a great racetrack, and it’s a Grand Prix I’ve watched since I was very young - it’s a place where I’ve always wanted to race a Formula One car.

“With this year’s hybrid cars, I think Monza will be spectacular, too. We’re expecting to see top-speeds in the region of about 345km/h (214mph) - and that’s without a tow - which ought to be the fastest speeds we’ll have seen so far this season. That will be great for the fans.

“I think we showed at Spa-Francorchamps that our low-downforce package has kept us in the mix, and I’d like to come away from the Italian weekend with some good points for the team. I certainly think we’re making progress, and it would be good to pull it all together over the course of a single weekend.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
“Any weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is a special one, and the Italian Grand Prix is always a unique, flat-out and exciting event.

“Arriving in Italy at the end of the European summer always feels like a turning-point in the season - it’s the race at which we tend to start look towards the end of the year, and contemplate how the season will run out over the last remaining fly-aways. The last third of the season is always an incredibly tough challenge for the race team, both mentally and physically, so it’s important that we maintain our focus.

“Our aim for the remainder of the season is both to consolidate our position in the constructors’ championship by bringing both cars home in the points at each and every race, and also to continue to push hard to improve and refine the MP4-29. There will be no easing off on the gas in terms of development, as everything we learn this year will roll into next year’s technical package.

“I feel that the spirit within the team is strong: we’re continuing to push forwards, and I’m optimistic that we’ll see an improvement to our fortunes before the end of the year.”

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne
2013 Qualifying - 10th, 2013 Race - DNF

“It’s the home race for us at Toro Rosso and I’m really looking forward to the weekend, because it’s always great to perform in front of the Tifosi, who really make this Grand Prix special. I think it might be a difficult race for us, as it is very much a power track where you need to be flying down the straights, which is maybe not our biggest strength this year. We will still be doing our best to have a good home race. I love the atmosphere here and I have good memories of when I won here in the World Series. Last year’s race was quite unfortunate for me, but I hope we can have a strong race this time.”

Daniil Kvyat
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a

“I really like Monza and it’s been an important circuit for me, as I have taken some major wins and podium finishes there. Last year was particularly good, when I won Race 1 in the GP3 category and then came second in Race 2 in which they reverse the grid order for the front runners. It’s a very challenging track, especially for the rookie drivers, as it is a very high speed and demanding circuit. I have always enjoyed driving it in the junior formulas and I hope it will still be the case in the Formula One car this year. I have spent a lot of my life in Italy, so it’s going to be cool to be in a familiar atmosphere. Of course, it’s also Toro Rosso’s home race, which will make what is always a highlight of the Formula One calendar even more special.”

Williams
Felipe Massa
2013 Qualifying - 4th, 2013 Race - 4th

“Monza is a place I enjoy. I love the people and the fans and I hope now despite the fact that I have moved teams that they still support and cheer for me. Monza is a special circuit as it’s so quick, but the corners are quite slow. Aerodynamics are vital at a track like this and that could benefit us over the weekend. I hope to be competitive here as I think the Italian fans would like to see us do well.”

Valtteri Bottas
2013 Qualifying - 18th, 2013 Race - 15th

“Monza could be a great track for our car and I know we will be busy with our partners, many of whom are coming to Italy. The track is really good fun to drive and it is important to have good straight-line speeds as it has some very quick straights. We have a track specific aero package that we will take, combine that with the strong power-unit and we could have a very competitive weekend.”

Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
“The track should suit our car as it requires a very low-downforce package. We expect all the teams to adapt their cars for the nature of the circuit and have specialised Monza aerodynamics. We have worked a lot on the long straights and high drag sensitivity, and so are confident that the aero package will be effective. The track offers a good mix of low- and medium-speed corners. At this time of year we can expect high temperatures which can cause issues with tyre temperatures on the long straights. Monza is one of the last of the old circuits, in a great setting with some of the most passionate fans in the world.”

Marussia
Jules Bianchi
2013 Qualifying - 21st, 2013 Race - 19th

"Every driver has a few favourite Grand Prix venues, but I consider myself very fortunate to have effectively four home races on the calendar this season - Monaco, Silverstone, Monza and Sochi. I am very proud to be a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and I know how special this race is for Scuderia Ferrari. To be able to race in front of the Tifosi is a very exciting and intensely emotional experience and it is nice to know that not just me, but the whole Marussia F1 Team, can feel part of that this weekend in Monza, as the fans will want everything Ferrari to be successful. The last race in Spa did not go well for me and it was especially disappointing after a qualifying performance I felt very pleased with. I hope to combine a good qualifying with a good race this time and reward the passion of the Italian fans."

Max Chilton
2013 Qualifying - 22nd, 2013 Race - 20th

"The Italian Grand Prix is a significant race for the whole Team as not only is this the final European round of the season, but also the home race of our powertrain partners, Scuderia Ferrari. I love Monza; it's impossible not to get caught up in the magic of such a historic racing venue and I always take a trip out to the old banking when I race here. I had a good race in Spa, which enabled the Team to achieve at least part of its objectives for the weekend. For the remaining Grands Prix we need to keep fighting for good qualifying and race results, to ensure we maintain our current grasp on 9th place in the Constructors' Championship. I'm looking forward to the whole Monza experience and, hopefully, a nice reward for the support I'm sure we will receive from the Tifosi."

John Booth, Marussia team principal
"It is always very exciting to return to Monza, but this year the event has a greater significance in that it is the home race of our powertrain partner, Scuderia Ferrari. In the past we have only imagined how it must feel for Ferrari to race in front of the Tifosi, so it is encouraging to know that, this time around, many of the ‘sea of red' will also be rooting for Marussia. It will be a special weekend for us, even before we take into account achieving our on-track objectives. The races are coming thick and fast now in this second half of the season and it is vital that we maintain our current focus and ensure we maximise every round. Last time out in Spa, Max enjoyed a strong race, whereas a fantastic qualifying effort by Jules went unrewarded on race day, after he was struck from behind on the opening lap and then a gearbox problem forced him to retire. This weekend, we're hoping for better fortunes for the Team, to add even greater momentum to our own 9th place Championship challenge and to contribute to a successful event all round for the Scuderia on home turf."

Caterham
Kamui Kobayashi
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a

"I am working for Caterham F1 Team and I always respect team decisions. Now I am back in the car and looking forward to going racing again! We have worked hard as a team and added performance to the car as well as bringing new updates since I last drove in Hungary before the summer break, so I'm looking forward to feeling the updates on track here in Monza. I always enjoy the Italian GP, not only because of its high-speed nature; I also like the Italian fans, they are always very enthusiastic and a very big part of the Italian GP weekend. They create a very special atmosphere."

Marcus Ericsson
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a

"I always enjoy racing at such a legendary circuit as Monza, where I scored one of my 13 GP2 podium finishes, but to do it for the first time driving a Formula One car is going to be even more special. I can't wait to get out on track: the long straights and fast corners mean that we are on full-throttle for most of the lap; it's a fantastic high-speed layout – in fact it's the circuit with the highest top speed of the season, so maximum power and minimal drag will be key.

"After a solid race in Belgium, we need to build on the progress we made with the car and continue to work in this direction. We aim to fight against our nearest rivals and it will surely be another close battle I am ready for."

Roberto Merhi
"I am delighted to be taking part in my first ever Formula One Free Practice session and I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this opportunity – it's something I've wanted for a very long time! I've been working very closely with the team during the last few weeks and I feel ready for this opportunity; Friday is going to be a very special day for me and one I will never forget. Monza is also one of my favourite tracks – I ended up on the podium there earlier this year during my first race of the season in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, so it's a circuit that will bring back very good memories. What a year it's been so far: last Christmas I didn't really know if I was going to carry on racing and now I'm about to drive a Formula One car! I'm definitely going to make the most out of this weekend in Italy."

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