LOOKING AHEAD TO ITALY
Our official race previews are your guide for every lap of every race in 2017.
Hear from the team, drivers and management as we prepare for round 13 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Follow McLaren TEAMStream for all the build-up to the Italian Grand Prix.
Race title Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken d’Italia 2017
Circuit name Autodromo Nazionale Monza
First race 1950
2016 Nico Rosberg, 53 laps, 1:17:28.089s
2015 Lewis Hamilton
2014 Lewis Hamilton
History lesson Built in 1922, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza epitomises the history and drama of the Formula 1 World Championship. Only once, in 1980, has the circuit not been included on the F1 calendar and the 5.793km/3.600-mile lap remains the fastest of them all, with an average speed approaching 259km/h/160mph. The old banking – last used in 1961 – is still clearly visible, as are many of the old grandstands. Aptly, the track is called ‘La Pista Magica’ by the fanatical Italian racing fans
Time zone BST+1 / CET
Population 1.6 million
How far? Monza is 601 miles (967km) from the McLaren Technology Centre
Getting there Being the final European race of the season, this is the last time in 2017 that the team will take its transporters and the Brand Centre to a grand prix. They will travel straight from Spa-Francorchamps, scene of last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. For people travelling from the UK, there are plenty of flight options into Milan Linate, Malpensa and Bergamo
Surprising fact Monza is twinned with another motorsporting Mecca, Indianapolis in the USA. It is also the home town of former F1 driver Vittorio Brambilla
Local speciality Cassoeula, a pork dish that’s been linked to the Lombardy region of Italy for centuries. Virtually every part of the pig is used in the dish – ribs, trotters, head and skin – and it’s cooked in a casserole and mixed with savoy cabbage. It’s a pleasure that furnishes the soul as well as the palate, according to a local writer
Weather The humidity of mid-summer has usually started to subside by September, leaving fresh and warm autumnal days. Recent temperatures have been higher than the seasonal average, with the weather forecast for the race weekend predicting temperatures in the high 20s
Track length 5.793km/3.600 miles (6th longest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)
2016 pole position Lewis Hamilton, 1m21.135s
2016 fastest lap Fernando Alonso, 1m25.340s (lap 51)
Lap record 1:21.046s (Rubens Barrichello, 2004)
Tyre choice Red Supersoft, yellow Soft and white Medium compounds – the sixth time this combination has been used in 2017
Distance to Turn One 380m/0.236 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454km)
Longest straight 1.12km/0.696 miles, on the approach to Turn One (longest of the season: Baku, 2.1km/1.305 miles)
Top speed 370km/h/224mph, on the approach to Turn One (fastest of season)
Full throttle 75 per cent (highest of the season)
Brakewear High. There are only six braking events around the lap, but all are from high speed and generate high brake temperatures
Fuel consumption 1.89kg per lap, which is average
ERS demands Medium. There are four long straights, along which the cars exceed 330km/h/205mph, and only a couple of heavy braking zones in which to harvest braking energy
Gear changes 46 per lap/2438 per race
Laps 53 laps
Start time 14:00hrs local / 13:00hrs BST
Grid advantage Monza is used for racing throughout the year, so the track is clean and there’s less of a grid advantage than at some tracks. But the racing line – and pole position – is on the outside of the track, so it’s likely to be slightly cleaner
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and Eight
Don’t put the kettle on…Mercedes were the only points-scoring team to complete last year’s race with one pitstop. Their drivers made their only visits to the pits at half distance. The stop-stop runners changed tyres, typically, on laps 16 and 33, but with this year’s harder tyre compounds, a one-stop strategy is expected to be within reach of most cars
Pitlane length/Pitstops 420m/0.261 miles (longest of the season: Silverstone, 457m/0.283 miles). A pitstop takes 21s, but the time loss to those on-track is the biggest of the season because they are travelling at 370km/h/205mph, while those in the pitlane are either limited to 80km/h/50mph or are stationary
Safety Car likelihood 45 per cent, which is low
Watch out for…Turn 11, the Parabolica. It’s a 180-degree right-hander that eases towards the exit and it’s crucial for the drivers to get back on the power early because the longest straight on the lap follows
“Like Spa, Monza is one of those legendary tracks where everybody loves watching cars going racing. With the new wider, faster cars this year, it will definitely be another circuit where we’ll see a new fastest lap and some incredibly high speeds on the straights.
“It’s the fastest circuit on the calendar in terms of outright speed, and for a driver it’s an incredible feeling racing down those iconic straights punctuated by the tight chicanes and big, fast corners that require a huge amount of commitment. We’ve always said this circuit wouldn’t suit our package, and we expect a tough challenge. Although it’s power-hungry like Spa, it’s also different in many ways. Spa is a long race; the Monza circuit is short and sharp and the race always feels like it’s over very quickly.
“The thing I love most about Monza is the fans. Even when you’re not dressed in tifosi red, the fans come out in force and they’re all super passionate about racing and motorsport. The Italian Grand Prix is a favourite for many people and it really deserves its legendary reputation as a magic circuit for race fans.”
“Monza is a really cool place. I’ve driven there in Formula Renault 3.5 and also in GP2, and I won there in both series, so I know the circuit well and have always really enjoyed racing there. The fans are great, they show a lot of passion, and you feel like you’re swept up by their enthusiasm the whole weekend.
“Spa was definitely a tough race for us, and we’ve always identified Belgium and Italy as two difficult weekends for us. It was hard to manage our pace with the rest of the pack on the straights, and we’re preparing ourselves for the same thing at Monza, but of course we’ll push hard every day throughout the weekend to try and give ourselves the best chance of a good result.
“As usual, the important thing is qualifying, but it’s in the race where we need to work on our pace and make sure we can maintain our position throughout Sunday afternoon. We worked really well as a team in Spa to try to we maximise our progression through qualifying and hopefully influence our prospects for the race, and I hope we’ll be able to do more of that this coming weekend.”
McLAREN-HONDA RACING DIRECTOR
“The Italian Grand Prix is always a ‘must-see’ for any racing fan, and Fernando, Stoffel and McLaren all have very happy memories of great victories there. There’s a huge amount of history at Monza and the venue holds an important place in the calendar: scene of legendary drivers, hugely passionate fans and incredible racing.
“This weekend will also be the last time we’ll see the McLaren Brand Centre this year, as we conclude the final race of the European season and head east to Asia. The double-header of Spa and Monza are an incredible combination, but one which we knew we would find challenging. Spa was undoubtedly exactly that for us, and although we are certainly managing our own expectations for Monza, we also go to Italy with our usual fighting spirit, and will work together as a team to get as much as we can from the weekend.
“It’s clear to see there’s still a lot of work to be done before we can feel confident on these kind of power-hungry circuits. However, but we look forward to hearing and witnessing the support from the passionate Italian fans, and as usual will give it our all, not only to get the best possible result, but also enjoy our final racing sojourn in Europe of 2017.”
HONDA R&D CO. LTD HEAD OF F1 PROJECT & EXECUTIVE CHIEF ENGINEER
“After a challenging weekend in Belgium, we’re now heading to Italy for our final race in Europe for this season.
“The layout is mostly long straights except for couple of chicanes and corners. It is a notoriously power-hungry circuit, with some of the highest average speeds on the calendar. With the nature of the track, we will doubtless face another tough weekend.
“Furthermore, this race will be the 50-year anniversary of Honda’s victory in the Italian Grand Prix in 1967. It was our second victory in F1, with the RA300 winning its debut race with John Surtees behind the wheel. We’re planning a demonstration run in Monza on Sunday before the race, and I hope everybody will enjoy the Formula 1 sound of old.”