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Formula One - Italian GP Preview

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 09:30

Lotus F1 Team advances to the Italian Grand Prix on the back of a difficult weekend in Spa, with performance short of lofty expectations heading into the race, and a race ban given to Romain Grosjean. This masked a storming drive by Kimi Räikkönen to his sixth podium finish of the year in Spa Francorchamps, despite a car not handling to his liking. Kimi arrives in Monza back in fourth in the drivers’ standings.

As third driver, Jérôme D’Ambrosio has been attending all Grands Prix this season in case his services behind the wheel were required. Now they are, he’s as focused as ever.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Räikkönen

"Monza is so unique compared with the more modern circuits as the layout means the car needs to be setup differently. To go fast at Monza you need a good aerodynamic car that is stable over the kerbs with 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 won’t know exactly how good until we get out on track. Monza is the place where we go really, really fast. It’s great to go there with everything working well in the car and seeing how quickly you can go. Last time I raced in Monza I was a Ferrari driver. I have always enjoyed the atmosphere at Monza but it was very special as a Ferrari driver. I hope they will still like to see me racing there even if I could be in front of a Ferrari. I am really looking forward to see all the fans and I think it will be a pretty special feeling if I’m on the podium as a Lotus driver too."

Jerome DAmbrosio

Jérôme D'Ambrosio

"I understand the circumstances in which the drive has come about, but for me it’s a great opportunity and great challenge. I first want to thank the team for having faith in me and allowing me to step in the car for this race at Monza. I will do everything I can to do the best possible job. I’ve worked hard outside the car this year and tried to prepare as best I can just in case something like this happened. I will be focussed 100% to make full use of free practice because that could be the key for me this weekend. I had my last podium in GP2 there, so I have good memories of Monza."

Eric Boullier

"We know that we don’t have the quickest car, but probably the most consistent one. We’ve clinched nine podiums already. Kimi is 33 points away from the current leader and we know that the season is still wide open. With eight races to go, we’ll keep pushing as long as we have a chance. Kimi has been under that kind of situation before and we all know he can do the job if we give him the right car. The pressure is on us.

Jérôme should have normally done a few FP1s for us this season. However, considering our level of performance since Melbourne, and with the rate of our technical development, it made more sense to keep our race drivers in the cars during the whole race weekends. I can’t say that I’m happy about the penalty handed to Romain, but Jérôme deserves this opportunity. That’s his big chance to impress."

Monza in Numbers

Monza, F1, Italian GP, Track, Circuit, Map

3.1: Highest g-force experienced for 4 seconds at T11
10: % of the lap spent braking
40: Number of gear changes per lap 
65: Total straight per lap (%)
70: Lowest apex speed (kmh) 
74: % of lap on full throttle 
300: Highest apex speed (kmh) at T3
320: Top speed (kmh)
800: Distance in metres from start line to first corner 
1200: Longest full throttle burst (metres) on the start/finish straight


Rear Wing

With the long straights forming a significant aspect of the Monza circuit layout - speeds of around 330km/h being attained during the course of a lap - minimising drag is an important consideration. For this reason, a Monza-only low drag and low downforce rear wing is produced.  As the rear wing creates less drag that normal, the difference between DRS on and DRS off is less than at other circuits.


After Montreal, this is one of the heaviest circuits of the year for braking demands, with braking from the fastest part of the track (c 340km/h) to the slowest (c 75km/h) taking place for the turn 
1-2 chicane.  Recent brake material developments mean that temperatures and wear have become less of a consideration than previously.


There are two low-speed chicanes (turns 1-2 and 4-5) where the kerbs are used heavily, so a softer suspension setup with longer travel is preferable for these.  However, there is also the higher speed, 3rd-4th gear Ascari chicane (turns 8-9-10) where a stiffer setup with sharper change of direction is preferable due to its higher speed and lack of kerb usage.


Due to the higher speeds seen at Monza there may be some specific limitations on inflation pressures and camber settings.  This is not uncommon for Monza and is just another factor in 
making this circuit such a unique challenge.

Front Wing

Just as for the rear wing, a bespoke low drag and low downforce front wing is produced for Monza. This really is the home of speed!


Monza is very much a power circuit, with its long straights meaning that a significant portion of the lap is spent at full throttle.  It’s not just all out power that’s required however, with power delivery exiting the corners on to the straights also important.