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Italian GP: Preview - McLaren


Fernando Alonso: "As we saw in Azerbaijan, the developments that have been made to these turbo cars mean they're now incredibly fast, and we're going to see some serious speeds along the straights at Monza. This is always such a quick race - it's over in a flash - and while it's not always the most enjoyable to race with such low grip, the feeling of speed is phenomenal.

"Obviously, I have plenty of happy memories of racing in Italy, and I've been fortunate enough to have been the subject of both the Tifosi's approval - and also their disapproval! But they are some of the greatest fans in the world, and their passion is what makes coming to Monza each year such a legendary experience. In many ways, Monza traditionally brings the curtain down on one part of the season, and the beginning of another - so it's always an exciting place."

Jenson Button: "I love the notion of coming to a racetrack that's distinctly different from the others. We saw that in Spa last weekend - it's no secret that, along with places like Monaco, Singapore and Suzuka, it's also one of the circuits that the fans most love - and Monza is no exception. People often think that Monza is all about the straights, with tight, small corners - but that's not really true: corners like the Lesmos, the Ascari chicane and Parabolica are big, fast corners that require precision and commitment. It's a great track.

"What is there left to say about Monza? It's a unique, incredible racetrack - I love that its history surrounds the place - you just can't ignore it. I also love that unique blend of Italian passion - and chaos - that engulfs the weekend. It also signals the end of the European season - which seems to have disappeared in a flash - so it's a time of year when you really start to narrow your focus before the final fly-aways."

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "As double-header races go, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Autodromo Nazionale di Monza are a pretty epic combination. Both are dauntingly fast, achingly beautiful motor racing arenas, where the sport's giants have triumphed, and where some of the greatest stories in Formula 1 have been forged.

"After Spa, we head to Monza with the knowledge and understanding that it won't play to the full strengths of our latest package, but keen to further demonstrate the progress we've recently been making. Monza is likely to be another tough test, but we're confident of the momentum we've gathered, and it'll be interesting to see where we stand at a venue that favours out-and-out power above anything else.

"Still, there's a determination and vigour within all at McLaren-Honda to see out the European season competitively, and to continue fighting as we head into the end-of-year flyways."

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: "Monza is a high-speed, power-hungry, classic and legendary track with the longest full throttle percentage per lap on the 2016 calendar. The long straights and the nature of the turns will undoubtedly give us a difficult time over the race weekend, but we cannot deny the strong pull Monza has for everyone in F1, including Honda. The fans are incredibly passionate about the sport, and the atmosphere is nothing short of electric come race day. It's always a special feeling to be part of the pinnacle of racing in Italy.

"The team did a great job pulling our strengths together last weekend despite Spa being a challenging track, and with the reliability issues we faced. The team was tested many times, but owing to their hard work and perseverance, we had a decent weekend.

"We will continue to target finishing in the points in the race, however tough it may be this weekend. We're still investigating the problem with Fernando's power units, but we'll learn from our experiences and hopefully have another good weekend in Monza."

Autodromo Nazionale di Monza

First race: 1950

Circuit length: 5.793km/3.600 miles (sixth longest of the season)

Distance to Turn One: 380m/0.236 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)

Longest straight: 1.120km/0.696 miles, on the approach to Turn One

Top speed: 370km/h/230mph, on the approach to Turn One (the fastest of the season)

Pitlane length: 420m/0.261 miles, estimated time loss 24s (longest of season: Silverstone, 489m/0.304 miles)

Full throttle: 75 per cent (the highest of the season)

DRS zones: Two, on the approaches to Turns One and Eight

Key corner: Turn 11, Parabolica, a 180-degree right-hander to end the lap. The cars approach the corner at 330km/h (206mph), slow to 1180km/h before clipping an early apex and getting on the power as quickly as possible because the longest straight on the lap follows

Fastest corner: 295km/h (183mph), Turn Three

Slowest corner: 80km/h (50mph), Turn One

Major changes for 2016: None, except for a few changes to the kerbs

Fuel consumption: 1.89 per lap, which is average

ERS demands: Medium. There are four straights along which the cars exceed 320km/h (199mph), but only a few slow corners at which to harvest energy under braking

Brake wear: High. There are only six braking events around the lap, but all are from high speed

Gear changes: 46 per lap/2,438 per race

Monza has staged more world championship grands prix than any other circuit. It was built in 1922 by the Milan branch of the Italian Automobile Club and only once, in 1980, has the track not been on the F1 calendar. It's located inside the walls of a royal park and it remains the fastest circuit on the calendar.

What makes it unique: The long straights. The cars exceed 320km/h (199mph) on four occasions around the lap, resulting in the highest average speed of the season - 255km/h (158mph).

Grip levels: Low. Straight-line speed is vital at Monza, so the cars run in their lowest downforce configuration of the season. As a result, they produce less aerodynamic grip and become more of a handful to drive, especially under braking.

Run-off: Average. Until the death of Wolfgang von Trips in 1961, Monza was a flat-out oval. In an effort to slow the cars, the layout was changed to a road course in '62, and 10 years after that, the first chicane was added to slow the cars further. The most recent change in the name of safety was the addition of asphalt run-off at the exit of Parabolica in 2015.

Watch out for: Turn Seven, the second Lesmo. This is a deceptively fast right-hander (280km/h/174mph) and it's vital to maintain a good exit speed because it's followed by the second longest straight on the lap, along which the second DRS zone is located.

Safety Car likelihood: Low. There is only a 43 per cent chance of a Safety Car

When to press record: The start. The track is very wide along the start-finish straight, which gives the cars plenty of room for manoeuvre on the long run to Turn One. The cars are travelling at close to 300km/h (186mph) by the braking point, which usually results in some excitement as they slow for the slowest corner on the track.

Don't put the kettle on: Between laps 20 and 30. Every car in the top 10 made only one pitstop last year, stopping at around half-distance. Drivers try to do as few stops as possible at Monza because pitstops are very expensive; the pitlane is long and the cars are limited to 80km/h (50mph), while rivals pass on-track at 370km/h (230mph)

Weather conditions: Race forecast 24 degrees

Tyre choices: Supersoft/Soft/Medium, the same combination that was used at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.


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1. Posted by NS Biker, 31/08/2016 18:00

"Never realized just how fast Monza really is ....
"slow to 1180km/h before clipping an early apex".

Maybe a little less if it rains.

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