Federico Gastaldi DEPUTY TEAM PRINCIPAL
Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi looks ahead to the Italian Grand Prix
Spa was obviously disappointing. Were there any silver-linings amid the clouds at Spa?
We always try to find some! But yes there genuinely were some positives from a tough weekend. It is in the DNA of Enstone that even in the hard times we fight for and then maximise what we have at our disposal. Despite the initial disappointment of not getting a result we remain super motivated. We knew it would be hard at these power tracks like Spa and Monza. However, Romain did a solid job to get in to Q2 and then after he got a new nose in the race after he was hit by Bianchi at La Source, his pace was good. The new parts on the car showed some encouraging signs and if we get better luck and have clean races then we can progress a lot more up the field.
Pastor again had some tough luck in the Spa race?
Yes, sadly. It was an exhaust issue. It was a big shame because he was pumped up to come back from the tough start he had to the weekend after the Free Practice incident. I know that when the conditions allow he will put himself in a good position to make the most of the E22 and fight for points. I am confident of this, and the team believe he can continue to fight for some good results before the end of the season. Monza is a cauldron of racing passion and history.
How do you see it as an event?
Like Spa it is part of F1’s identity. It is another name that goes hand in hand with racing the world over. If you went anywhere in the world I am sure you would get an instant association of the words Monza and F1. They are linked, I hope, forever. It is a race that along with Monaco, Silverstone and Spa should be the first to pencil in to the calendar. The race itself is important but there is also a lot on the commercial side that takes place at Monza for the following season.
What makes Monza so unique for the engineers and drivers?
Monza is a real test for the engineers and drivers because it is the ultimate compromise in speed and aero balance for the car. That is unique in F1 these days. It will be interesting to see how they rise to the challenge. We go there in a difficult position as we are not the fastest in a straight line. But we will push to the maximum, matching the passion and spirit we see off the track from the fans, with our usual determination on it. We have to dig in and make sure we are in the best position possible for when our luck changes.
Monza is the end of the European leg of the season. Will the flyaways suit the E22 more?
Singapore should be better for us as the power disadvantage will not be so pronounced. Sochi will be a big unknown for everybody and Suzuka, although having some long straights, also rewards a good set-up and good aero.
After Spa, have the aims and objectives changed at all for the second half of the season?
No. We stated that for the second half we will strive to make the most of the E22 and to add to the points tally right up until Abu Dhabi in November. The team is fully focused on ensuring that we get some reward from 2014 which has been challenging for many reasons. Naturally in F1 you are always thinking ahead and we have already started on the 2015 project but we have the resources to do both concurrently. There is plenty to look forward to for the short and long term at Enstone.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN RACE DRIVER #8
Straight to the point
Romain Grosjean looks forward to the 2014 Italian Grand Prix
How do you like Monza, the Theatre of Speed?
I like Monza a lot because it is so distinctive. Monza is a great track that has a lot of great racing history. This makes it nice for us to compete at a place where all our heroes raced too. There is a lot of atmosphere around the track and to race in the setting of the royal park makes for a really special ambience. Of course the Ferrari fans are a big part of it and it is really nice competing at such a legendary venue.
Any special memories from Monza?
One of my first ever races in cars was at Monza back in 2003 when I was driving in a category called Formula Lista where I won and then went on to win every race of my rookie season in that formula. I have had some other big results at Monza too throughout my career, so it holds lots of good memories.
What aspirations do you have for Monza this weekend?
I think that it will be tough for us. On paper it is not one of the races that we should do that well at. But as always we will be fighting hard and trying to get the maximum from the weekend, so that it gives us good momentum for the Singapore weekend later in September when we should be stronger and the track should suit the E22 a little better. We will have a one-off rear wing for Monza and the key will be to make the car as quick as possible from an aero point of view, so that we can get back some of the performance from our straight-line speed disadvantage. Then we have to manage the tyre degradation. Also for us it will be tricky in the big corners like the Lesmos and the Ascari chicane because the less downforce you have then the more difficult it is to get good grip in the turns. It is a tough compromise but one I am sure that the team will get the best solution possible.
Do you think that the ’14 spec cars with reduced downforce will be tough to drive at Monza?
Yes but this is the same for everyone. Especially without the blown diffuser it will be more challenging than last year for sure. But this is F1 and you have to meet the challenge which we will do. The reality is that we will probably have to run less all-round downforce to make up for the time we lose on the straight, but we will just have to stay positive and extract the most from the package we have in Italy.
What do you make of the revisions to the run-off at Parabolica?
Parabolica is a very challenging and quick corner so from a safety point of view it is a good thing to have some more margin for the drivers. I remember sometimes in the past coming in to the corner and knowing that to brake even a little bit too late then you could be straight in the gravel and then straight to the wall at high speed. I think that now what you will see is the drivers finding the limits sooner, because we know there will not be the big gravel and crash penalty like previously.
Pizza or Pasta?
I know a great Pizzeria close to the track, so it is pizza all the way for me. But I am always careful because it can catch up very easily on the weight side of things! Italy is a magic place and the cultural aspects are a big part of that. Like a lot of drivers I did a lot of racing there, even since karting days so I feel like I know the country very well. I don’t know anyone who does not enjoy being in Italy.
Pastor Maldonado RACE DRIVER #13
Pastor Maldonado looks forward to the 2014 Italian Grand Prix
What are your opinions of racing in the Parco di Monza?
I like Monza and I love Italy. I actually used to live very close to the circuit when I was starting my career here in Europe. I have won races here so it holds some good memories and special feelings for sure. I have a lot of friends here and a lot of supporters who come and see me at the track, so it is very nice to catch up with them all. The track is totally unique and of course it is great to be racing where all the old heroes did too. Monza has changed only very slightly over the years and it still has the character of the old banking and the parkland trees as you drive through it and of course the fans create a great atmosphere which is a great soundtrack to the Grand Prix.
Any particular expectations for the Monza weekend?
For sure it is going to be a tough weekend again for us at Lotus F1 Team. Monza is all about power combined with a low downforce set-up so it is a big challenge. I think it will be interesting to see the new 2014-spec cars here because the track is so unique and there is a very particular way to get the best out of the cars. They will be difficult to drive I think for everyone but we will be doing our best to put the Spa weekend behind us and to get more positive energy going before we head off on the long haul races.
Tell us one word that comes to mind when you hear the word Monza?
Speed. It has to be speed because the track is all about how fast you can go on the start/finish straight and then also on the back straight too. We are reaching the highest speeds of the season on these stretches. One of the critical points is the Parabolica corner. You have to get this right at the end of your lap to ensure a good time, and if you get it wrong it also compromises you for the next lap. It’s difficult to do this as the car is set-up for low downforce on the straights, so it’s more difficult to drive on the corners – especially a long corner like Parabolica, which is tough and fast, the most crucial at Monza.
This year you have tarmac not gravel on the outside of Parabolica. Will this change the approach to the corner?
I don’t think it will make too much difference really. The approach will be the same which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off. I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside.
A dry, warm Grand Prix would be nice again?
Yes. Spa was very tough with the conditions and also Hungary too. Monza is usually warm and dry which seems to suit the E22 more than the wet. We just need to have a trouble free weekend where we can further explore the low downforce bodywork, especially the front wing package that was introduced at Spa. The big challenge though will be the power issue. It is difficult to overcome any disadvantage on this front but everyone will be working to get as much speed as we possibly can.
Pizza or Pasta?
Both. Definitely both. But not at the same time of course!
NICK CHESTER TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
Technical Director Nick Chester outlines that there’s plenty still to come from the team’s E22.
How much of a challenge is Monza for the engineers?
It is quite challenging because it is such a low downforce circuit. It is difficult to get grip in the car and for the drivers to feel comfortable – so working on the car set-up is key. We will also focus on the braking so Romain and Pastor can make gains on the entries to the chicanes and generally feel more comfortable in feeling where the limits are. We have more aero parts to take to Italy which we will try on the Friday free practice sessions. We will have a low-drag rear wing for Monza that is circuit-specific and as a result the skinniest we will run all season. It is all about meeting the low downforce challenge.
What would a current generation car be like if used on the old Monza banking?
In actual fact, it would probably be very dull because of the amount of downforce these days which would mean the car would be like on rails, glued to the track with no sliding at all. The old Monza banking is really bumpy – and I believe that it was bumpy even back in the days it was used. Cars used to break springs regularly and so a modern car just wouldn’t survive on it from a vehicle dynamic perspective.
How fast could the latest generation F1 cars be on the Monza straight?
It will depend on the downforce and drag levels that the teams will run but I expect it will be higher than last year. It might be possible to achieve 360kph on the straight, depending if the car is getting a tow with DRS.
Neither car made it to the end of the race in Belgium – is there any further insight into what went wrong?
As we suspected, it was an exhaust failure for Pastor and we have identified the area of the exhaust that broke so that has been updated for Monza. For Romain, the aero imbalance he experienced was due to an issue with the rear wing mounting mid-race. He did have a few excursions off circuit so we had loadings that you would not normally see which we think contributed to this. Are there any specific mechanical ways in clawing back any power disadvantage at a track like Monza? Not really. If you are trying to improve straight line speed then reduced downforce and drag is the only way, however this means a downforce deficit to the other cars so you would get penalised on the corners, especially the Lesmos and Parabolica.
Do you expect the cars to be more of a handful to drive with the relative lack of downforce in the 2014 spec?
They will be a little bit trickier than last year’s car being a bit lighter in downforce and with more torque in the turbo engines so I think the exit of the chicanes can be quite tricky. We have seen in all the cars this year how the cars move under acceleration out of a corner and at Monza which is the circuit where we run the cars in their most slippery configuration, we will see some acrobatics from the drivers as they manage the cars on power at mid-corner and also on the exits.
E22 SET UP
As per the all-round aero package the watch word at Monza is low-downforce, with emphasis on a slippery package to ensure maximum speed on the long straights.
Monza is all about minimising drag to ensure optimum top end speed on the long start and back straights. Speeds can reach in excess of 350kph and low downforce specs will reach their minimal limit here. Overtaking opportunities are relatively simple at Monza particularly in to the Rettifilio (T1) and the second chicane. SUSPENSION
Vehicle dynamics are ultra-important at Monza where the car needs to ride the wedge-kerbs at the chicanes efficiently. The suspension set-up is usually on the soft side but this has to be tempered in set-up by the final high-speed Ascari chicane where a nimble change of direction is needed through this challenging left/right/left complex.
Monza is demanding on the brakes with some of the biggest ‘stops’ of the season in to the Rettifilio and the Roggia chicanes. The cars need to scrub off approximately 265kph for turn in to the former. Late summer temperatures are sometimes quite high at Monza which can add for need for preserve the brakes toward the end of the race. TYRES
For Monza the medium (white) and hard (orange) tyres are provided by Pirelli. This is the same combination as used in 2013 and reflects the need to cater for the high-energy loads that the rubber goes through due to the high braking demands and the significant level of traction need to exit the three chicanes.
Monza will see speeds peaking at over 350kph, the fastest speed of the year so far and at least 10kph more than 2013. With four long periods of wide open throttle, the ICE will come under huge pressure here. The turbo, however, will have an easier time since it will not turn at such high speeds down the straights. With just a couple of corners the MGU-K will not have much opportunity to recover energy – each braking event is a touch over a second.
Welcome to Monza!
Lotus F1 Team heats up the Monza circuit with shots of burn!
Everything is set and ready for the Monza GP on the 6th and 7th of September. burn, the official sponsor of Lotus F1 Team, will welcome thousands of fans that have flocked to watch the race, prepared for anything! The main entrance to the Monza circuit will be transformed into an energy-fledged area: 35,000 cans of burn energy drink will be distributed to the visitors coming from all over Italy, for a break of pure energy and vitality. As for entertainment in the burn area, visitors will find the famous umbrella girls and a “Face in a hole” where everyone can experience the thrill of being an F1 driver or a Umbrella girl for a day. But that’s not all; burn wants to see the Lotus F1 Team drivers completely emerged into the Italian culture! How? By making them create one of the most typical Italian dishes around: the pizza. In the afternoon of Saturday, September 6, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will go head to head in a pizza making challenge, all in front of their fans. Creativity, skill, a handful of mozzarella cheese and a spoonful of tomato, will decide who will win the title of best pizza chef! But if the heat from the pizza ovens doesn’t warm their spirits enough, the exclusive party on Sunday night will definitely do the trick! The GR1D club at Just Cavalli, the most glamorous club in Milan will include VIPs, celebrities and drivers! With a jump to the dance floor and a sip of burn, we salute yet another year in the Bella Italia!