The Italian Grand Prix brings Formula One's European season to a conclusion this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Located just outside of Milan, Monza is the quickest track on the calendar with top speeds reaching up to 340kph along the straights of the 5.793 km circuit.
Six of the last ten races at Monza have been won from pole (so far in 2012, 7 of 12 races have been won from pole). The braking zone for turn one features a deceleration of 265 kph - from 340 kph to an apex speed of 75 kph. DRS overtakes outnumbered normal passes by 18 to 15 during last year's Italian Grand Prix.
Michael Schumacher: When I think of Monza, I immediately see everything through a red veil. It is the beating racing heart of Italy, everything there lives and breathes Ferrari, and I must inevitably think of the good times I spent there. What makes me particularly happy is that after all these years, the tifosi still welcome me so warmly, and I would like to thank them for that. Naturally, now I'm racing in Mercedes silver, I hope I can offer them a nice fight and be a worthy rival. They can be just as sure as our own fans that everybody in the team is looking to have a successful finale to the European season, and is therefore fully motivated to put on a good show in Monza.
Nico Rosberg: I'm looking forward to getting to Monza on Thursday and getting the weekend underway. After a difficult weekend in Spa, I believe that our car will be much better suited to the amazing and high-speed Monza track. We will also have a different package there for the long straights with the low downforce required. We are continuing to work hard on improving our car, and I'm quite positive about the news that I hear from the factory, although we know that it will be a tough job with all of the other teams developing quickly as well.
Ross Brawn: Monza is a very special race track, and certainly one of my favourite venues to visit on the calendar. The atmosphere created by the Italian fans is always fantastic and it's a great place to bring the European season to a conclusion. The circuit is a unique challenge with its high-speed straights and the requirement for a low-downforce package designed specifically for the weekend. We would like to finish the European season with a strong result and the team will be working hard to achieve that at the weekend.
Norbert Haug: Monza is a circuit that demands very diverse strengths from the technical package - high straightline speeds through low levels of drag and downforce, with the cars exceeding 300 kph on four separate occasions, and a good mechanical base for braking stability into the chicanes and corners, and good traction exiting them. Monza is also well known as an engine circuit thanks to its high-speed layout, with over 80 per cent of the lap distance spent at full throttle. The races in Belgium and Italy are separated by just a week. The circuit-specific modifications made for Monza are only run once a year and could possibly mean that the competitive order won't be quite the same as that we saw in Spa.