The 2009 Italian Grand Prix Preview
Monza race track. Known for its long straights and challenging corners. The lap starts out with a long drive across the start finish straight with speeds reaching way past 330 kilometers an hour before braking hard for the Retifilio, a first gear, 70 kilometer an hour corner.
You are still losing speed as you turn right and start to accelerate half way through the left turn. This was a very very quick double left right chicane before the year 2000 but has since been reprofiled to its current slow right left configuration.
As you accelerate away, you are to take the next corner, curva grande absolutely flat out, a right hander at 300 kilometers an hour right hander with Roggia coming up.
Variante della Roggia, the scene of the 2000 pile up that sadly took the life of a track marshall.
It is a slow left right chicane, and like Retifilio, you are still losing speed as you turn left and start accelerating as you turn right as the exit is less tight than Retifilio. You head down a short straight as you head into the famous double right at Lesmo.
The first is a 180 kilometer an hour right hander while the second one is a 150 kilometer right hander. The second of the Lesmos is actually slower, albeit it may look to be less tight than the first one. The reason for this is that the braking zone for the first Lesmo is actually a curve and not a straight unlike the second one.
Also, you have to shave off alot more speed for the first Lesmo, about 100 kph from 280-300 kph to 180 as in comparison to the second one, only about 70, from 220-240 to about 150 kilometers an hour. Nevertheless, two very very quick corners.
Heading up towards another long straight before braking for Ascari, a left-right-left S bend. The first left taken at about 160 kilometers an hour and the speed climbs as you turn right and exit the final left at around 180 kilometers an hour down the back straight. Engine absolutely bouncing on the rev limiter before standing on the brakes 100 meters from the awesome parabolica corner.
Turn in and feather the throttle as you feel the inertia pulling you to the left. Miss the grass and the gravel trap on the left side before accelerating towards the start finish line being on 7th gear as you cross the start finish line.
Monza, Lombardy, Italy. The Mecca for all of the Tifosi. It hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix in 1922 and since then, only 4 Italian Grand Prix have not been at Monza. In recent years, the Italian teams have dominated in Monza, with seven of the last ten races in Monza! But can this form continue? And will we see the first Italian Race Driver to win the Italian Grand Prix since Ludovico Scarfiotti in 1966?
To many Formula One rookies, Monza will look like a simple circuit with it’s long straights and high speed corners. Oh but how wrong they would be!
As you’ve already read in our flying lap, Monza is one of the quickest tracks in Formula One. All of the teams will have a one of aerodynamic package, just for Monza. The package, is known as an ‘Ultra Low Down force’ package which will generate approximately, 10-15 per cent less down force than the package used in Spa, all in an effort to reach top speeds in excess of 330 Km/h.
All cars at Monza will also use brand new engines. The strain on a Monza engine is the largest on the calendar, with long straights on full throttle and long braking zones, the engine and brakes will have to be on top form in Monza.
One thing that will give a large advantage in Italy, is KERS. The lengthy Monza straights are the perfect place to hit the little button with the power! Renault have already confirmed they will be re-using KERS for the Italian Race.
Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will both be a threat at this weekends Grand Prix. The McLaren car will be suited to Monza with its low down force specifications. The little button on the steering wheel of the McLaren will surely help down the main straight, being able to use it doubled on the home straight.
Giancarlo Fisichella will make his Ferrari debut at Monza and will be hoping to become the first Italian to win the race in 43 years. A repeat performance from Spa Francorchamps will bring the local fans to, well madness! The Ferrari car will also suit Monza with it’s Low down force set-up, as well the special button on the wheel!
Sebastian Vettel won in style on a wet and miserable day in Italy, and he will be hoping to repeat the fantastic display of skill last year. Mark Webber will also be wanting to continue his form of recent races by closing in on the Brawn’s lead! Red Bull have, so far, always been able to get a good set-up at most tracks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were right up at the top this weekend!
In recent races and weeks, Brawn have been dropping off the pace due to the fast development rates of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. Rubens Barrichello, did how ever show that Brawn are still capable of winning races with a great win in Valencia.
But Jenson Button’s Championship lead has been slowly cut race from race since the Turkish Grand Prix from 26 points to only 16 now. Brawn and Button will need a very good performance here this weekend to still show, that they are the top bosses this year. Brawn are more than capable of a performance like this, as we have seen over the course of the season.
Although Renault are by far not the quickest car on the grid and with all the allegations surrounding the team about possible race fixing, surely they can’t be focusing 100 percent on the race?! But enough about that, I could write a whole article on that! But with Renault re-introducing KERS, could be a threat once again?
After a phenomenal result in Spa last time out, Force India will be looking to attack the top of the pile again. Although they are without their podium sitter Fisichella, the team will still be looking to challenge for points. Adrian Sutil will be looking to finally score his first points for the ‘Force’ and new drive Vitantonio Liuzzi will be hoping to impress on home soil.
The Italian Grand will be broadcast live all over the world, this Sunday. I hope you enjoy the race, as I’m sure you will!
I would like to thank a friend of mine for making the track guide!
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