Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations: After the challenges of Spa we go to Monza, another big 'power track'. We go there in a more optimistic and confident frame of mind after taking the win in Belgium - a track where we were expected to be on the back foot. We recognize that it took a cocktail of circumstances to come through, but that should not take anything away from the fact we showed good pace and were there to take advantage of the situation.
We have a similar mindset for Monza. It's undoubtedly the fastest track of the year, with four long periods of wide open throttle and over three quarters of the lap taken flat out. There are three periods where the Power Units will be at full throttle for roughly 13 secs each, plus the main straight where it is flat out for 17secs, longer than a drag strip. This year speeds will be even higher and we expect to see them peaking at over 350kph, the highest speed of the year so far and at least 10kph more than 2013. For these reasons, the ICE will come under huge pressure here and it's likely we'll use fresh parts where we can, both for performance and reliability.
The other components of the PUs will be less solicited. The turbo, for instance, will have an easier time since it will not turn at such high speeds down the straights. With just a couple of corners the MGU-K will likewise be a touch underused: each braking event is just over two seconds so there's not enough time or energy dispersed to totally recharge the battery. Equally the drivers run the kerbs as much as possible to straight line them, so further losing potential energy harvesting opportunities. To compensate, the MGU-K will be recovering energy at partial throttle through overloading the ICE. The MGU-H will also feed the MGU-K down the straights.
All in all, we know it's a tough prospect and we do go there as underdogs, but as Montreal and Spa both showed we can run with the baton when it's passed to us. It's just what we need to do in Monza as well - concentrate on the job in hand and be ready if or when something happens, starting from the green light.
Monza in numbers - 1 being the easiest, 5 being the most severe
Internal combustion Engine: 5
Fuel Consumption: 3
Energy Recovery: 3
Despite the ICE being flat out for over three quarters of the lap, fuel consumption per kilometre is relatively low compared to slower tracks. This is due to the maintenance of a constant speed versus acceleration and deceleration, which works the internals extremely hard. It may be possible to run the race with less than the 100kg permitted limit, but teams will gauge this during the free practice sessions on Friday.
It's possible that teams may use their one-a-year gear ratio change joker at Monza to get a longer top gear and therefore higher top speed. This change must however be done with a view that once taken, the ratios stay the same for the rest of the year. While a longer top gear may be beneficial at other high speed tracks such as Suzuka, it may not be ideal for Singapore, therefore teams must weigh up the pros and cons.
The Parabolica and Lesmos are the only real corners on the circuit. The Parabolica is a radial turn taken in fourth gear at a constant 180kph, requiring the PU to deliver a stable level of torque throughout.
The chicanes will see the cars brake from well over 300kph to 80kph but accelerate back up to 300kph in less than eight seconds. This creates a braking event of around one to two seconds, or quicker than a blink of an eye. It's important for the car to be stable under braking and acceleration so engineers will pay particular attention to the engine maps and how they interact with the low downforce aero configuration.
The Renault RE30 became the first turbocharged car to win the Italian Grand Prix when Alain Prost raced to victory in 1981. Starting from third on the grid, Prost moved into an early lead and extended his advantage to finish 22secs ahead of the two Williams, driven by Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann. The following year Rene Arnoux repeated the victory for Renault. Six Renault-powered wins followed in the normally-aspirated era; one for Mansell in 1991, two for Hill in 1993 and 1994 and one for Herbert in 1995. Sebastian Vettel raced to the win in 2011 and 2013 for Red Bull.