2010 Italian Grand Prix Preview

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Round 14 - Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Summary
As tradition demands, mid-September means a trip to the spiritual home of the tifosi in the park Villa Reale to the north of Monza in Lombardy.

With road-racing banned in Britain, necessity dictated the construction of Brooklands as a permanent racing circuit in 1907. On the continent, where road racing faced little restriction and long-distance, temporary Grand Prix circuits evolved out of city-to-city races, the need for a permanent venue was less pressing, and consequently it was 1922 before the construction of Monza as the first permanent circuit in Italy was funded by the Automobile Club of Milan.

In comparison to the previous high-speed bowls of Milwaukee, Brooklands and Indianapolis, Monza's layout more closely resembled an open road course, with a mixture of left and right-hand curves combined with the long straights that remain characteristic of the circuit. From the earliest days Monza was sadly noted for a series of fatal accidents, culminating in the 1928 Italian Grand Prix tragedy, where Emilio Materassi's Talbot swerved off the main straight, vaulted a ditch and fence and claimed the lives of 22 spectators. This accident, the worst in terms of lives lost in Italian motorsport history, resulted in the first alterations to the circuit and the cancellation of the Grand Prix for 1929 and 1930. In 1933 more sadness afflicted the venue when three of Europe's finest drivers, Campari, Borzachhini and Czaykowski, were all lost in two separate accidents.

Having fallen into disrepair during the Second World War, Monza was swiftly refurbished and resumed its position as the Italian Grand Prix venue for the beginning of the Formula One World Championship. With its position in the calendar firmly fixed at the end of the European season, Monza has seen more championship battles, and more world champions crowned, than any other circuit. In 1954, the high speed, steeply-banked oval circuit - Pista di Alta Velocità - was added to replace the previous low-banked loop, and played host to the invitational "Race of Two Worlds" in 1957 and '58, where the cream of American USAC racers would take on the best Europe could offer. In practice the interest from European manufacturers was less than expected, and in any case those who did attend were thoroughly outclassed, Jimmy Bryan and Jim Rathmann in their front-engined Indy roadsters claiming the spoils. The Italian Grand Prix was held on a combined 10km road/oval course in 1955-56 and 1960-61 but following Wolfgang von Trips' fatal accident at the Parabolica in the 1961 event, in which 14 spectators also perished, the race never returned to the banking.

Technological progress ensured ever-increasing speeds through the 1960s and these races featured the legendary Monza "slipstreamers", where packs of cars could travel in convoy down the straights, constantly passing and repassing around the lap. The final slipstreamer race in 1971 is noted for the closest finish in Grand Prix history, with the first five cars across the line abreast separated by only six tenths of a second. This race also held the record for the highest average speed (150.754mph) for 32 years.

For 1972 speeds were contained with the construction of two chicanes - the Rettifilio on the main straight and Ascari. These chicanes were progressively altered over subsequent years and a third, the Della Roggia before Lesmo, was added in 1976. Despite the loss of the slipstreaming spectacle, races at Monza continued to be by turns dramatic and tragic, with Ronnie Peterson's death in a start accident in 1978 followed by Jody Scheckter sealing the title for Ferrari amid the emotional scenes of the passionate tifosi a year later. Although further adjustments were made for safety reasons in 1994 and the first chicane was realigned in 2000, fundamentally the character of the track remains unchanged since '76 and - excluding the chicanes - is little altered from the 88-year-old original.

With the cars running on full throttle for over 80% of the lap and average lap speeds in excess of 150mph, Monza places unique demands on the cars' setup. Very low wing angles feature prominently to minimise drag and increase terminal speeds down the straights, while making the cars a handful in Monza's long fast Lesmo, Ascari and Parabolica curves. Steep kerbs at the chicanes mean a reasonably compliant mechanical setup is ideal for road holding and traction, but the necessary increase in ride height further reduces the downforce available from the underbody devices. Monza remains the ultimate reliability challenge for engine builders, while the brakes are also severely tested - although unlike at e.g. Montreal, there is usually time for the discs to cool somewhat between the biggest stops.

The overall finishing rate at Monza is well above the average for this year's circuits.
The likelihood of a driver-related retirement is low.
Mechanical failures in Italy are also considerably below the average at other current tracks.
Finally, the circuit ranks as below average for first-lap retirements in the past five years.

The Last Five Years
200520200009 - Antonio Pizzonia (Williams)
200622175009 - Mark Webber (Williams)
200722201103 - Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) & Ralf Schumacher (Toyota)
200820190108 - Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) & Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) & Kazuki Nakajima (Williams)
200920163218 - Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)
Overall10492941
[td]Year[/td][td]Starters[/td][td]Finishers[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Lap 1 retirements[/td][td]Most places gained[/td]

Circuit Ranking (of all 18 circuits)
Finishing Rate

1st Yas Marina 90%
2nd Monza 88%
3rd Valencia 88%
...

Mechanical Failures
...
14th Istanbul 10%
15th Monza 9%
16th Suzuka 8%
...

Driver-related Retirements
...
15th Valencia 5%
16th Monza 4%
17th Sakhir 4%
...

First lap Retirements
...
13th Hockenheim 1.6%
14th Monza 1.0%
15th= Monte Carlo, Shanghai, Singapore, Yas Marina 0.0%
...

Sebastian Vettel returns to the scene of his first victory at the wheel of a Toro Rosso in 2008. Twelve months ago it was crowd favourite Rubens Barrichello celebrating a well-executed victory against the KERS-equipped cars of McLaren and Ferrari. Perhaps this may be a weekend to look at another unexpected winner - only twice in the past nineteen seasons has the winner at Monza gone on to lift the world championship crown. Adrian Sutil qualified second and finished fourth last year, while Heikki Kovalainen has scored points on all three visits to date. Mark Webber's best finish is seventh.

Ferrari naturally hold the upper hand on results at Monza having won half the races there in the past decade. Williams won with BMW power in 2001, while McLaren can count two wins for departed drivers Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005 and Fernando Alonso in 2007 despite a poor finishing record. Red Bull's dire record leaves them below their junior team in the recent standings, while Force India will need to hope that their current drivers are less accident-prone than their predecessors when hoping for a big result.

Current Drivers' Records at Monza
Michael Schumacher14121st (5)74113.38
Rubens Barrichello17141st (3)53128.35
Fernando Alonso861st (1)28119.25
Jenson Button1072nd (1)22219.6
Robert Kubica433rd (2)16109
Heikki Kovalainen332nd (1)13004.33
Sebastian Vettel331st (1)11008.67
Lewis Hamilton332nd (1)10016
Jarno Trulli1394th (1)9229.08
Adrian Sutil334th (1)50014.33
Felipe Massa646th (1)3119.67
Nico Rosberg436th (1)31010.75
Mark Webber867th (1)31112.38
Pedro de la Rosa515th (1)21311.2
Timo Glock2211th (2)00012.5
Sebastien Buemi1113th (1)00019
Vitantonio Liuzzi3214th (1)01014.33
Sakon Yamamoto2120th (1)01022
Jaime Alguersuari10Ret01020
Lucas di Grassi0------
Nico Hulkenberg0------
Kamui Kobayashi0------
Vitaly Petrov0------
Bruno Senna0------
[td]Driver[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]

Chassis Records at Monza (since 2000)
Ferrari20181st (5)94114.3
McLaren20131st (2)76625.4
Mercedes GP20181st (1)44209.7
Williams20161st (1)41319.25
Renault20162nd (1)383110.5
BMW Sauber20183rd (2)292111.65
Toro Rosso20151st (1)104117.35
Red Bull20133rd (1)102511.95
Force India20134th (1)52514.55
Hispania0------
Lotus0------
Virgin0------
[td]Chassis[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Mercedes GP include BAR, Honda and Brawn
Results for Renault include Benetton
Results for BMW Sauber include Sauber
Results for Toro Rosso include Minardi
Results for Red Bull include Jaguar
Results for Force India include Jordan, Midland and Spyker


Engine Records at Monza (since 2000)
Ferrari46401st (6)1054310.15
Mercedes-Benz24161st (3)100725.33
Renault24182nd (1)383310.58
Cosworth26173rd (1)85414.81
[td]Engine[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Ferrari include Petronas and Acer
Results for Cosworth include Ford


All ranking figures are expressed as a % of total starts.
"Retirements-Acc" are retirements where the reason has been listed as Collision, Accident or Spun Off.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Btw, the winners over the last 10 years are:

Schumacher, Montoya, Barrichello, Schumacher, Barrichello, Montoya, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Barrichello.

So being agressive or emotional seems not to be a problem at Monza!
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
All things point to a McLaren 1-2 at Monza with the straights and chicanes and they will need a 1-2 with the 'Red Bull circuits' coming up, unless we see if McLaren have perfected the EBD and the tests have comprimised the Red Bull front wings flexibility to the point they dont have a massive advantage over the rest. Should be an exciting grand prix.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
More than that I think Sup.

The McLaren's could really do with a strong performance from the Ferrari's, Renault's and Force India's as well. How about McLaren, McLaren, Ferrari, Ferrari, Renault, Force India?

Now that would be a result :D
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
Lets hope so TBY :)

Without RBR scoring any points, Hamilton should get the title, even with the faster RBR tracks to come, baring silly mistakes and DNFs of course :D
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
MajorDanby said:
Lets hope so TBY :)

Without RBR scoring any points, Hamilton should get the title, even with the faster RBR tracks to come, baring silly mistakes and DNFs of course :D

Well, if Lewis wins at Monza without Webber scoring, then Lewis will have a 28 point lead to defend with 5 remaining races.

That is an average of 5.6 points he would need to lose to Webber at every race onwards.

Theoretically if Webber finishes 1st and Lewis 2nd in each race, then Webber will win the title.

However, it is likely that Webber won't win all 5. Throw in maybe a wet race somewhere down the line and perhaps a Ferrari win or two and then it is quite reasonable Lewis will win the title even without a strong McLaren performance.

If Lewis wins at Monza and Webber is 2nd, then Lewis will have a 10 point lead - which may even be killed by the end of Singapore.

This race is as crucial for Button and Vettel. If they fail to score with a strong performance from their #2 drivers* then they could soon find themselves in the Massa zone. I think Button is out of it, myself, I can't see how he'll bridge 35 points to Lewis in the same car, but I think Vettel is in grave danger of hearing the words "Mark. Is. Faster. Than. You." coming soon to a headpiece near him.

*Not bad for #2s, eh?
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Cracking article as ever G :thumbsup:

@ TbY are you assuming that Lewis comes 2nd in the remaining races?

I totally agree that Monza could be the tipping point for the title race to essentially become a 2 horse race although I'm not sure who the 2nd horse is yet. I'd like to see Mark have a decent run but ultimately lose out to The StevenageGenevage Flyer
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Speshal said:
Cracking article as ever G

@ TbY are you assuming that Lewis comes 2nd in the remaining races?

I totally agree that Monza could be the tipping point for the title race to essentially become a 2 horse race although I'm not sure who the 2nd horse is yet. I'd like to see Mark have a decent run but ultimately lose out to The StevenageGenevage Flyer

Not necessarily... lets make a scenario!

Say Lewis wins Monza and Mark scores no points:

We have:

Lewis 207 Mark 179

So, Singapore - say RBR 1-2 [Web/Vet] Lewis 3rd: that leaves Lewis 222 Mark 204
Suzuka - Say Ferrari 1-2, Seb 3rd, Mark 4th, Lewis 5th: Lewis 232 Mark 216
South Korea wet - McLaren 1-2 [Ham/But] Mark 3rd: Lewis 257 Mark 231
Interlagos - Mark 1 Seb 2 Fernando 3 Lewis 4: Lewis 269 Mark 256
Abu Dhabi - Mark 1 Seb 2 Lewis 3: Lewis 284 Mark 281

In this scenario, McLaren never come to terms with RBR in aero, Lewis doesn't beat Mark in the dry, Mark wins 3 more races (all with Seb 2nd) and Lewis still wins the WDC if he wins and Mark doesn't score at Monza, for example.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
tooncheesef1 said:
We all know to be wary of the forecast, but heavy rain on the weekend of the grand prix...

Very wary. A fact I am immensely glad of. McLaren need a dry and boring weekend :D.

Have to have a look again when the 5 day forecast is out.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
There has been press reports that Mclaren won't run their "F" Duct at Monza, can anyone explain why? My understanding of what the F Duct does is to allow higher wing angles which means more grip in corners when the wing is not stalled and negates the effect of the wing on the straights. Surely somewhere like Monza, where low wing angles are used, is the ideal situation for a device of this kind to be used compared to somewhere like Monaco where there isn't a straight to speak of?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
That was announced before the Belgian GP.

My guess is as Monza is full throttle for over 70% of the lap then the optimum set up is very low wing and therefore the f-duct will be ineffective.

The alternative would be a higher wing with the f-duct but I suspect simulations have shown over the whole lap, the lower wing is the best compromise.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Ah so - apparently Renault are still undecided on whether to use their wing stalling device.

Apropos nothing at all, for all those old geezers on here (like me and Brogan :snigger: ) here's a memory from Monza 1981 - John Watson breaking his car in half after getting too far over one of the kerbs. The only time I've can recall seeing the entire rear end disassemble itself from the front of the car.

 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
FB said:
There has been press reports that Mclaren won't run their "F" Duct at Monza, can anyone explain why? My understanding of what the F Duct does is to allow higher wing angles which means more grip in corners when the wing is not stalled and negates the effect of the wing on the straights. Surely somewhere like Monza, where low wing angles are used, is the ideal situation for a device of this kind to be used compared to somewhere like Monaco where there isn't a straight to speak of?


The general idea for not running the f-duct at Monza is due to aerodynamic efficiency. As Monza requires the use of a unique rear wing with very little downforce, the teams are unsure as to whether the gains bough by the f-duct in stalling the wing, will offset the decreased aerodynamic efficiency that is the Achilles heel of the f-duct.

Normally the gains in stalling the wing greatly offset the small reduction in efficiency in running the system, but it may be a different case at Monza.

Saying this, Williams are convinced there will be an advantage, and are pretty sure the majority of teams will run it.
 
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