Round eight of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship takes us to Italy's 'Temple of Speed' and the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. It is a race like no other, being held at a circuit steeped in history, with the remnants of the old high-speed banking providing an incredible backdrop to the modern track which blasts through the parkland trees. Monza regularly sees some of the highest speeds of the season with drivers on full throttle for most of the lap due to its long straights and fast corners such as Ascari and Parabolica. In comparison to the extreme elevation changes of Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, Monza is generally flat with a gradual gradient from the second Lesmo to Ascari.
Following Roy's successful debut FP1 outing in Barcelona, he will once again take part in the first practice session this weekend. To coincide with this, the FW43 will also carry the Israel Start-Up Nation logo for the duration of the Italian Grand Prix on the front wing end plate.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The recent confirmation of the final races of the 2020 season and the reassurance of a traditional Spa Monza back-to-back validates what a remarkable job Formula One have done to create an exciting and fascinating season in such difficult times. Whilst we are seriously looking forward to returning to Istanbul Park and taking on the challenge of the Outer circuit in Bahrain, our immediate focus is on Monza.
We had a difficult race in Spa and felt unable to demonstrate our true race pace on Sunday. Fortunately, a lot of what we learnt in Spa carries forward to Monza. There will be a strong emphasis on reducing drag and maximising end-of-straight speed, but at the same time, the signature corners in Monza cannot be treated lightly and require good levels of downforce and balance.
We welcome back Roy Nissany, who will drive George's car during FP1 this weekend. Roy did an excellent job in Barcelona and again he will play a vital role in our Friday engineering plan, before George takes over in FP2. We will be concentrating on rear wing performance as well as looking at some development items.
A recent clarification to the F1 regulations means that engine modes will be a little different this weekend, with engine power having to remain consistent throughout qualifying and the race. Whilst this may have an impact on our relative pace in qualifying and the race, we expect the effect to be small and we are totally confident that our partners at Mercedes will continue to maximise the potential of their exceptional power unit.
George Russell: It is always good fun racing at Monza. It is an historic circuit, very fast, high speed with minimum downforce. I think performance wise it will be a very similar weekend as we just had in Spa as the circuit characteristics are very similar. We will have the same objectives and goals to last weekend, trying to fight the Alfas and the Haas'.
Nicholas Latifi: Monza is always a track that brings great racing, so I am really excited to get going once again. On paper, the circuit may not suit our car but at the same time coming off the back of Spa where we were expecting something similar, we did perform better than expected. That bodes well heading into Monza and gives us all a sense of optimism in what the team has been doing and the direction that we have been going in to bring performance. I can't wait to hit the track and get going into another race.
Roy Nissany: After the great session in Barcelona I am really looking forward to driving at Monza. This legendary track is one of my favourites, as it is where I had my first single seater win. I'm sure it will be emotional, but as always, I will switch on my robot mode to ensure I will be fully focused on completing my job for the team. This FP1 session, I will have more experience, greater confidence and I feel even better than before, ahead of jumping in the car. Of course, we will do more preparations in the simulator at the factory this week following Spa. I am keen to get in the car and release that clutch lever.