Italian Grand Prix Preview – Mercedes GP Petronas
The final European race of the 2011 season, Round 13, the Italian Grand Prix, takes place on Sunday 11 September at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, just outside of Milan. One of the most atmospheric circuits on the calendar, the 5.793 km circuit in the royal park at the heart of Monza features four long straights where top speeds can reach 340 kph.
• Monza is the fastest circuit of the year with an average lap speed of 255 kph; the season average is 211 kph.
• The Formula One Italian GP has been won from pole 18 times in 61 races, including seven times in the past ten years.
• DRS can be used for 74% of the lap (or 4.29 km) in practice and qualifying – the highest percentage of the season.
“The final European race takes place at Monza, a truly historic Formula One circuit, and one where I have always been so warmly welcomed and supported over the years. We achieved a good team result in Spa last weekend, and I especially enjoyed the overtaking battles and the challenge of making up so many places during the race. This gives us a boost going into the final part of the season, and we will continue pushing hard to get the best possible results.”
“I’m really looking forward to the weekend in Monza. We learned at the last race in Spa that our car can be competitive at high-speed tracks, and we definitely took a step forward there. I am confident that we can do that again in Italy next weekend. I visited the factory this week and I’m quite happy with how things are working out there. I’ll be arriving in Italy on Wednesday and attending the FOTA Fans Forum at Pirelli’s headquarters in Milan. It should be a really interesting event and I’m looking forward to the chance to speak with some of our fans there.”
Ross Brawn, Team Principal
“Monza is always a fitting venue for the final European race, and spending a race weekend there is a special experience. The unique high-speed circuit is a classic racing venue, and one of the best places to watch Formula One cars at their very top speeds. Coming off the back of our best result of the season in Spa, we are looking forward to the weekend and to finishing the European season on a high. With the emphasis jointly on engine power and aerodynamic efficiency, we have the benefit of our Mercedes-Benz engine and, as always for Monza, we will run a special low-downforce aerodynamic package to minimise drag on the long straights.”
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport “Monza features the highest straightline speeds of the year at around 350 kph, the highest average lap speed and, at 83%, the highest percentage of the lap spent at full throttle – not for nothing is it known as a ‘temple of speed’. The engine and KERS system will play an important role at this circuit, but it is equally important to develop an effective low-drag aerodynamic package and to make sure the car feels stable on the brakes. Michael and Nico both enjoyed strong, trouble-free races in Spa to score a solid result for the team with fifth and sixth places. We will be hoping for more of the same in Monza. Saturday 10 September will also mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Wolfgang von Trips in tragic circumstances in the 1961 race. Von Trips was well-placed to become the first German Formula One World Champion with Ferrari, and also drove sports cars for Mercedes-Benz in the early years of his career.”