Italian GP: Sauber preview
2 September, 2011
Sep.2 (Sauber) Endless straights, high speeds, flat wings and an impressive history alongside a lot of passion – that is what Monza is famous for. The Italian Grand Prix, to be held on September 9th to 11th in the Royal Park of Monza near Milan, marks the end of the European season. The Sauber F1 Team wants to continue its positive trend with regard to qualifying performance and both drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez, are desperate to score points in the race after having been left empty handed at the recent Grand Prix in Belgium.
Kamui Kobayashi (car number 16):
“Monza will be challenging, we have to find the best possible set-up for the car and see how fast we can go on the long straights. Last year we qualified 12th, which wasn’t too bad, because we expected difficulties there. Hopefully the race this year can be better. Last year I didn’t manage to do the race because I had a technical problem, and I retired on my first lap after starting from the pit lane. But this year I am quite confident of doing a good race. I like Monza. I have driven quite a lot there because I did Formula Renault Italia. I have also done GP2, but that wasn’t nice as I remember there was a lot of rain then. Anyway, I like the track and the town, as there are a couple of nice restaurants, it is quite close to Milan and it is always nice to go there as well.”
Sergio Pérez (car number 17):
“I’m very much looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix. The track in Monza is one of my favourites. There I did what I regard as my best race weekend so far. It was in Formula 3 when I qualified 14th and won both races. In 2007 and 2008 I raced there in F3 and then also in GP2. The very long straights in Monza could be tough for us. I want to maintain a good rhythm with positive performances in qualifying and for the start. Then, of course, I want to finish the race and score points for the team. It is my aim to finish the European season on a high. The race weekend there always has a very special atmosphere, and I can’t wait to take part for the first time in the Formula One Grand Prix. I like the people in Italy a lot and, of course, I’m a fan of Italian food.”
James Key, Technical Director:
“The Italian Grand Prix in Monza is a unique event for many reasons. First of all it’s a very old and famous circuit with a great deal of motor racing history behind it, and is a place where teams have been going for many years. It also has one of the greatest atmospheres of the year, with huge support from all the fans. Technically it’s by far the lowest drag level circuit of the season. To get the drag down to levels which are optimum you have to reduce downforce, which is why we call it a low downforce track, although fundamentally it’s a low drag track. It’s a mix of long straights with two chicanes. Certainly the first one provides an overtaking opportunity, followed by a whole range of low to high speed corners in sector two – with the Lesmo corners and the Ascari – and then a very tricky corner, the Parabolica at the end of the lap, which is quite critical for carrying as much speed as possible down the pit straight.
“Although the lap is quite simple, it’s quite technical particularly with the downforce level you are running. You need a well balanced car through these corners. It’s also critical for braking, because the top speeds are by far the highest of the year, and you’re braking down to a very low speed for the two chicanes. In addition, the kerbs play their role in these chicanes, although in recent years the amount of kerbs you can use has been limited a bit. So it has a lot of different aspects to it. Overtaking can be expected in two places, although we don’t know yet how effective the DRS will be in such a low downforce setting. The tyres will be the soft and medium compound, as in Spa-Francorchamps. For the car we will have a modified front wing for low downforce settings and a rear wing specific to Monza.”