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Monza grand prix 2009
The Italian grand prix held at Monza is one of the fastest circuits in the driving calendar, this is because of its long straights. However its also one of the hardest on the engines as well this is because of the sharp corners and the chicanes, which have been highbred this year to stop people running through them to gain time. Putting all this together I think we will be seeing a few retirements this year through engine failures through the race.
Because of the long straights it gives a fantastic opportunity to overtake in many places, by getting in the slip stream, out breaking into the chicanes and I think we should also see a lot of overtakes from the kers cars this weekend down the straights as the other cars will just be defenceless. This weekend we see not only the mclarens running their kers with the Ferraris but also Renault have gone for kers as well so it should be fun to see how that pans out.
Most the cars will run one stop here as the circuit is only 53 laps and only around the 1 minute 26-30 lap times. However the weather isn't always predictable here and if there is some rain then it should make a interesting race and probably benefit the two stoppers depending on when the rain hits.
Qualifying for the Italian grand prix was just as exciting as any other race this season however unlike many other qualifying sessions this year we failed to see a big name go out early on. The two toro rosso's start from the back, and the two Williams cars are only just in front of them, however they already knew they would be struggling for pace at this circuit.
Perhaps it was Timo Glock who was the main surprise in qualifying as he didn't make the first cut either and his team mate managed to bring the car home in 11 nearly making it through to the final shoot out session.
The second session saw the likes of Romain Grosjean go out in 12, his best qualifying yet, and also Fisichella in his new shiny Ferrari who just failed to really get used to the car I think and with crashing in practise the team only just managed to get the car back together in time so perhaps this altered some of the settings as well. So he will start in 14 however with the new boost his force India didn't have before im sure he'll manage to jump a few cars from the grid.
The final shoot out session then saw everyone going at it in usual F1 style, the red bulls again lack down force here and only managed 9th and 10th. The young Vettel once again out qualifying his team mate.
Fernando Alonso starts eight on the grid, just behind force indias new boy Vitantonio Liuzzi who used to race for them in 2006 I think it was. Coming into this grand prix I didn't really expect anything from his and I'm sure his team weren't expecting seventh on the grid either.
Jenson Button seems to have coped with the apparent nerves he's under this week and managed to get sixth, however he was still beaten by his team mate Barichello who starts fifth.
Heikki Koverlinen is the surprise one in fourth though, he has done incredibly well to stick his car up there and he is also the fuel adjusted pole sitter of the grand prix and ill come on top that a little later.
Kimi Rakionen seems like a man on a mission at the moment, winning the last race he looks hungry for more and starting third he has a good chance for a podium at least, especially if he can jump Sutil at the start with his magic kers button.
And that brings me to the second position, Adrian Sutil. Who would have believed that. Well actually he was looking fast in practise all week and as it was his former team mate Fisichella who was on pole last week this time it was his time to shine. Do you think Fisichella may just be regretting leaving Force Indian a little bit now?
And the polo sitter for the second time this year is Lewis Hamilton, he is also aiming for his second win this season and I'm sure if he can put in a good race he can get it. However to get him there mclaren have fuelled him light. Stopping at lap 16, one lap before Sutil he is the lightest man on the grid and that puts him fuel adjusted actually third after Barichello so the key here will be to get a good start and make a big gap in the first 16 laps to come out in a good position.
So that qualifying over with, and now I'm going to make my race predictions, ill make them and im not going to change them even if they are totally wrong but here goes any way.
1st- Lewis Hamliton. Yes, I may regret saying that as race wise he inst in the strongest position however he is a consistant driver and if he can deliver the lap times and pull away I think he will come away with the win here.
2nd- Heikki Kovelinen. A mclaren 1, 2. He is in the strongest position of everyone on the grid however he just usually fails to deliver, I cant see him winning the race but if he goes round well second should be a good result for him.
3rd- Kimi Rakionen. He should be able to boost Sutil off the start and stay with Hamilton and perhaps even go for an overtake there, if he can do that then forget third he may even have the whole race.
4th- Rubens Barichello. I think he might just miss a podium here or perhaps even mange third.
5th-Adrian Sutil. Starting second but really surrounded by stronger cars fuel wise. However he has a great performing car at this track and if he delivers lap times a fifth position should be fairly easy and I hope he will better this and I would love to see him get a podium but realistically I don't think he will manage it.
6th- Jenson Button. I think he will score a few points here but not really manage to get up there. I'm expecting a bad start yet again but he'll pull back a bit and manage a few points but nothing incredible.
7th- Sebastian Vettel. don't think the red bulls are capable of doing better than this on this track at least so I'm sure he'll manage a point or two but nothing more.
8th- Fernando Alonso. This one was between Webber and Alonso really. Luizzi I don't think will manage a points finish as its his first race and I expect a spin or something somewhere. I think Alonso will just manage to get the edge and get in the points though, but he cant really be racing for more than that this race.
Well, quite a fascinating race again, and my predictions were totally wrong however I think I did get a couple of places right.
The start was pretty good for the likes of Raikenen, he could have even taken Hamilton off the start if he didn't have to run off onto the grass a little.
Sutil had a pretty good start, it was inevitable in a way he would loose position to the Ferrari with the kers behind him but at least he didn't get taken by the kers powered koverlinen either.
Koverlinen had a terrible start, starting 4th on the grid and in the strongest position to win fuel adjusted you would expect him to keep his position, instead he got taken by Barichelo and Jenson on the first lap and ended up in 9th position by lap three, he just never had any pace up till the end, but by that time it was too late to score any decent points for him self or the team, and I;m sure Mclaren will be having a closer look at his performance now.
Hamilton didn't have a great start off the line, like at Belgium he didn't get off well but somewhat managed to block Raikkonen a bit and stop him getting through, in fact it was Sutil who nearly took Hamilton off the start before he had time to press his magical Kers button.
Hamilton began to shine after his start and just pulled away, he opened up a gap of more than 16 seconds on the one stoppers before he came into pit earlier than expected and had quite a bit of time of raikkonen as well who was his closest one stop rival.
He came out of the pit in a good position, however it was apparent from then on that with the tyre change, and him needing to stop again he wasn't really going to be able to do enough to beat the two brawns who were only doing one stops. It seems that the one stop was the best method then.
Mark Webber also had a disastrous start to the grand prix, he had a bit of a collision with bmw's Kubica in the first lap and this led to an early retirement, Kubica also retired some time after this presumably to save engine as he was already lapped by everyone and still had to pit.
Vitantonio Liuzzi was doing really well in his first race back in formula one. He had a really good start and had even managed to overtake the kers car of Koverlinen who was on a similar fuel load. However his weekend was ended on lap 22 when his gear box, or clutch just gave in and he was forced to pull up, that was sad to see as he had been going strong all weekend and he looked sure for a couple of points before that happened, but I'm sure he'll be back next race and be up there again.
Apart form the opening laps then, there weren't too much overtaking going on, Barichello looked sure for the win from the moment Hamilton was struggling to get away after his first pit stop. Button couldn't really catch him and after Barichello had a faster pit stop and put even more of a gap on his team mate the win was almost a certainty.
The second place finish wasn't as certain for Jenson Button though, Hamilton was just behind him and closing in more and more every lap however in the end it just wasn't possible for him. Hamilton had set his fastest sector on the last lap when he looked ot just push the car too hard and dropped it coming out of a corner, it spun and it forced him to retire and end in 12 and out of the points. Had he have just gone round the track, he would have finished in 3rd however I guess its commendable that he was pushing till the end, and as he isn't fighting for the championship he may as well as pushed as hard as he could.
Raikonen gave another good solid performance to end up in third place, however that was mainly due to Hamiltons crash but it's a podium none the less.
However I think the star this weekend for me was Adrian Sutil, he has always been the quicker of the two force India drivers I feel and although out shined by Fisichella last grand prix he performed well this time round. Fourth place for him was certainly well deserved and he was really on the pace all weekend and I cant wait to see him come back at the next four races and I hope he cant get a podium or even the teams first F1 victory.
Fernando Alonso did another consistent job again, finishing in 5th place, three places up than I had predicted, however he is a class driver and very rarely make mistakes on the track.
So, Rubens now lowers the gap to Jenson by another two points, shame it wasn't more really and this race has also effectively ended the hope of the two red bulls of championship victory as well, it is still do-able, but extremely unlikely. However there's now just 14 points between the two brawns and it finally hotting up into a f1 championship for the first time in quite a few races I feel, and I now cant wait to see Barichello put the pressure on Button a little and see how the last four races go.
Sebastian Vettel, the likeable young German sensation at just 21-years of age, became the youngest ever grand prix winner as he stormed home in the wet at Monza, beating Fernando Alonzo's landmark from three years ago. This was great stuff, the kid jumping the pack near the end by getting on to intermediates at exactly the right time, the Schumacher instinct, his pit lane gamble delivering the race to the boyish German. It wasn't only that call that gave him his first GP win but his positioning on the track in the Torro Rosso, a car with Manardi DNA and a hybrid Ferrari engine. The crowd was well used to cheering young Germans with prancing horsepower under the bonnet here and so sucked the kid over the line with absolute admiration once the Ferraris couldn't catch him. The Grand Prix season was sensational last year and if they keep finding new faces like this on ITV then the BBC coverage will be fun too, something we haven't been able to say during the Ferrari years.
During the last race at Belgium our Lewis was stitched up, which ever way you look at, getting a bum deal at Spa Francenhmap, and strangely low down the grid here in Monza, pulled in during timed practice to have his car weighed, just as the rain came down and the tire window closed, resulting in a race day 15th start. You have to have exactly the right treds on at exactly the right time for the conditions in GP or you're in big trouble and with these conspiracy theories washing around the pit lane that these penalties are pro Ferrari and anti McLaren, the Italian GP would be the place where the stewards will get you for the most for minor infringement to drag you down the grid to eat exhaust fumes all race.
Starting 15th on the grid in the rain wasn't as bad as it sounds for Lewis as the best drivers are always sensational in the spray (apart from that whooz Alan Prost) as Hamilton and his best mate Vettel dominated the race with brilliant drives until McLaren again cocked up their pit stop and misjudged the whether.
I have looked at Lewis controversial overtake at Spa and can't see why the stewards demoted him to third. Second possibly, but not third. It was a slippery track and the move Lewis took on was brave and any breaking from Rikkonen, the Ferrari just ahead of him, would have resulted in Lewis swallowing his exhaust pipe. The Ferraris clearly haven't liked the wet in 2008 and are not set up for it, Massas drunken ice skater performance at Silverstone an example of. The fact Rikkonen put it in the wall three corners after Lewis had taken the place at the Bus Stop corner suggested he wasn't dealing with the rain. Lewis had to try and take the Ferrari with three laps to go could only run off the track there to save his front wing and his place. He knows he has to concede that place so why try and get an advantage? Yes he kept the slip-stream as he rightfully gave back the place so he could quickly retain it (the new rule now two corners before you retake) but he would have got Rikkonen anyway in these conditions, something the stewards originally took into account by telling McLaren in the last three laps that the concession was fine and they will be ok. That did not prove to be the case later in the steward's room as Lewis lost two places. Racism has been mentioned, the scenes at the Spanish Grand Prix an example of, but pro Ferrari is the problem if you ask little on me.
The Italian Grand Prix
When five out of the first twelve Formula One races are rain affected then you know global warming isn't happening. Unless its 40 degrees, everyone is cute and smoke Gitannes cigarettes, and of course in the latest sunglasses then Bernie doesn't generally put a race in that country.
If England is the home of the nuts and bolts of F1 then Italy is the home of the glamour. Part of that history and kudos of the old Monza concrete bowl is the old banked curves, steeping the track in race history of yesteryear, the old track now hidden behind weeds and twisty pathways through the nostalgic and silent woods. This is where the ghosts of the 50s and 60s who died gruesomely on the track break bread over the days of manual gear-shifts and open cockpit, sipping good wine and memories every time the GP comes to town.
On the track and Vettel grabbed pole in a rain affected session, his big mate Lewis Hamilton marooned in 15th after a tyre mistake. The Torro Rosso of Vettel started well, but soon surrounded by blood red Ferraris, before Lewis cut through the field on wets to get as high as second. But he misjudged the tire call again and stayed out on wets for too long, Vettel ahead of the game and on intermediate rubber as the sun began to hurry the clouds over the Med, his eyes wide open with concentration. But Lewis was too late to stop the young upstart after his final pit, settling for 7th behind all his big rivals. Vettel was too far in front and has gone down in history as that youngest ever winner of an F1 race, recalling memories of young Schumacher at Jordan and Senna at Toleman. But we have seen lots of young drivers receive this hyper-bowl of late and maybe we need to accept the cars are too easy to drive with all the modern bits n bobs in the cockpit. These kids are riding fireworks and there are plenty more out there not afforded an F1 drive that would probably do as good if not better.
It's a clockwise circuit, the cars blasting down the main straight to hit 300 kph before slamming on the brakes to almost nothing to nip around the 'Retiffilio Tribune' chicane, the unique 'kink' that's a real blue smoke job on the first lap. Then it's back up the gears to 'Curva Grande', the g-force throwing the cars out right out on the edge of the grass on the long banana corner, the pedal close to the metal for the bravest as the drivers who stay on the revs as they set up another 'kink' chicane at the 'Variante Della Roggia' in sixth gear, but only down to 120kph and third gear this time in the slowest part of the corner. Then its back on the gas for a quick burst, before dropping back down the box to take the 45 degree first 'Lesmos' curve - the second Lesmos is somewhat less severe and angular, before crunching through the gears as you race towards the gentle wobble called 'Serragillio', staying on the peddle for this quick cattle-grid shake, and then racing down to another annoying brake dust chicane, a pair of curves called 'Curva Del Vialone' and 'Varinate Ascari', before the cars accelerate to try to hit 200kph and the famous croquet loop corner of 'Curva Parabolica', so to slingshot their way out of the curve and back into the start/finish straight to do it all again another 52 times...
The reason I love this place to ear that description is because I have been around the track on a corporate day with a beautiful dusky Italian girl called Mia : - ) Yes she was driving.
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Result and points scorers after the 53-lap race:
1 S Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso-Ferrari
2 H Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes
3 R Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber
4 F Alonso (Spa) Renault
5 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber
6 F Massa (Bra) Ferrari
7 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes
8 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
With four races to go there are still six guys in it, although Heidfeld and Kovalainen will need to win most of them to stay in it. Its now between Lewis and Massa and the Ferrari has the power edge in the next two races. This is definitely going to come down to Brazil in October and first corner drama is on the cards again.
Drivers' world championship 2008
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (GB) 78
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari (Brz) 77
3 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber (Pol) 64
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari (Fin) 57
5 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber (Ger) 53
6 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren (Fin) 51
7 Fernando Alonso Renault (Spa) 28
8 Jarno Trulli Toyota (ITA) 26
9 Sebastian Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Ger) 23
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault (Aus) 20
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Constructors' world championship 2008
1 Ferrari 131
2 McLaren-Mercedes 119
2 BMW Sauber 107
4 Toyota 41
5 Renault 36
6 Red Bull-Renault 25
7 Williams-Toyota 17
8 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17
9 Honda 14
10 Force India 0
= = = = = = = = = =
28 September Singapore (1300 BST start)
12 October Japan, Fuji (0530 BST start)
19 October China, Shanghai (0800 BST start)
2 November Brazil, Interlagos (start time TBC)
A slight break in form for this F1 review, as rather than sitting at my computer with a glass of something citrus based, I find myself munching on Presunto Ruffles (Agora Onda Maiores!) and sipping Casal Mendes on a balcony, somewhere near the most south westerly corner of the Iberian peninsular. This is of course means I couldn’t watchthe race on my beloved ITV, more on that later though. * The Track * Very similar in style to Hockenheim, Monza’s nature is very much stop. Go. Stop. Go. Twisty bit. The tracks chicanes can often cause chaos and I’m sure I don’t have to remind everyone what happened last year. If you’re taking your home made Formula One car to Monza it’s probably a good idea to just take the rear wing off to reduce drag as much as possible for the long straights. It wouldn’t hurt to paint your car red and pretend you’re Italian. Less chance of being pelted with missiles from the grandstands that way. * The Results – About time * 1st – Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) - Qualified 1st 2nd – Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) – Qualified 6th 3rd – Ralf Schumacher (Williams) – Qualified 4th 4th – Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) – Qualified 3rd 5th – Pedro De La Rosa (Jaguar) - Qualified 10th 6th – Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) – Qualified 15th Seven none point scoring finishes * The Race – Im Monza mit Nikki Lauda * Despite the blight of launch control, there was actually some action at the start. Montoya and Barrichello did little but threaten to cause action. The brace of Schumachers behind however did have a bit of a tussle that finally finished in the order it started with the elder, more annoying brother in the lead. All eyes though were on the charging Benetton of Mr Button. Jenson must have been very busy patting himself on the back after his exc
ellent start because he failed to notice the oncoming braking point and promptly took himself and the hapless Jarno Trulli out of the race. In the ensuing chaos and general corner blockage that followed, poor Mika Hakkinen found himself stuck in the escape road, loosing places hand over £50,000 steering wheel. Further compounding McLarens mysery, a few laps into the race David Coulthard blew up. Well, obviously David himself didn’t blow up, but his Mercedes engine did. McLarens misery was later completed when Mika to retired from mechanical gremlins. This left a battle at the front between Montoya, Barrichello and Snr. Schumacher in that order. Barrichello seemed the class of the trio as both Schumacher and Montoya seemed a bit scrappy, putting wheels on the grass and wobbling around. It was during one of these wobbles that Rubens finally passed Montoya. This seemed to wake Juan a touch and his blocking of Schumacher seemed a touch more effective, although Montoya’s (lack of) performance was a bit of a surpise – surely he had to be on a one stop strategy, with the Ferrari’s stopping twice? Indeed, both the red cars pitted, leaving Montoya lapping in the lead. However it seemed to me, that when Montoya stopped it was neither one or two stop time and he also didn’t stop for what seemed like long enough to go to the end of the race. I was at a loss without hey-guys-honey-monster-allan to work it out with his ‘maths’. Certainly Ralfs stop was more in keeping with a one stop. * Heroes * Juan Pablo Montoya – About damn time I feel. BMW – Hey guys, both your engines made the distance! ITV F1 ‘CREW’ – Missed you guys… Group hug! (Including Beverly Turner :P) Rubens Barrichello – A solid drive that only failed to create tears (A win) because BMW finally did their job. * Villains * Alex Young
8211; A touch harsh perhaps, but in light of some of the impressive debuts we’ve seen in F1 that was a bit amaturish. * Rubens Barrichello Award for Dumbest Moment of the Race * And the award goes to… Jenson Button. Eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Jarno Trulli would be partnering Jenson Button at Benetton. After all, Jenson has had a bit of a habit of pushing Jarno off the road. No doubt the aforementioned eyebrows crawled off their respective faces when they saw him doing it again. * Random Mixed Feelings Award * RTL. Thanks for showing the race in this here foreign nation but… The commentators spoke proper German, not pigeon German so I failed to follow it and even found that hard. Huge and I mean H U G E commercial breaks. I’d flick over to another channel called RTP1 (Or 1RTP – I never did figure that out) who always went to adverts 30secs after RTL and came back about two minutes before RTL. Although RTL did show the F1 ‘invision’ during ads they didn’t do it all the time. The Comentators. OK, I wasn’t expecting a German version of Murky Talker and friends (Indeed, a German Murray would have given me a headache) but these guys were so laid back! There were periods where nothing was said for several minutes! They also don’t have a studio, just a guy-on-tarmac talking to people. Sort of like an hour long grid walk. Speaking of grid walks, I could have sworn I saw Martin Brundle try and walk through guy-on-tarmac during his grid walk. Or was that just me pinning for ITV… More in two weeks, on ITV!
The Monza circuit is the home of the Italian Grand Prix and is a mecca for the fanatical Ferrari fans. The circuit was opened in 1922 and has been the home of the Italian Grand Prix since 1950. This very fast circuit is one of the quickest of the year with cars reaching speeds of 220 mph. The long straights and sweeping corners mean that most of the cars are set up with low wing levels, but this provides problems when going into the slow corners where a terrific load is put onto the brakes. It only takes a small misjudgement by a driver for him to overshoot a corner. The circuit tends to favour the high powered cars, although the stresses on the cars make reliability a major factor. The chicane at the first corner has often been the scene of an incident at the start of a race and before the 2001 Grand Prix the drivers were discussing their tactics for the start of the race whilst on the grid, just a few minutes before the race was due to start. The Ferrari fans produce a wonderful atmosphere during the whole weekend and during the race the sea of red comes alive whenever a Ferrari car is doing well. The 53 lap race always seems to pass very quickly and conventionally is a one-stop race. However, sometimes some of the teams will make it a two-stop race in order to lower the fuel levels and reduce the loads on the cars, therefore preserving the car’s brakes. The circuit produces some great races, which are made even more spectacular when the crowd go wild if a Ferrari wins. A good race to watch.
Monza is a great track, steeped in tradition and nostalgia, but after the massive accident this year which resulting in the death of a marshal some people feel that perhaps its just not suited for the modern day world of F1. The problems are caused by Monzas chicanes, and this isnt helped by the fact that Monza consists of long straights broken up by chicanes, removing them is not an option at Monza , they are Monza! The problem is caused by the fast speeds the cars reach on the straights, 200mph+, and then them having to break in to a tight chicane at maybe 60mph. During the race this provides good overtaking opportunities, making a change from the sometimes processional races. The problem comes from the start, 22 cars steaming down to a tight chicane at 200mph, and at Monza the first two corners are chicane so there is double the potential for carnage. The first corner is a hot spot at any course, but here it is even more dangerous, highlighted at this years race. No easy solution is possible, but I feel that while the drivers are paid to take chances, the marshals are not, so if a safe solution for marshals can be found then I see no reason why the race cant continue.
Bernie Ecclestone has been quoted as saying that he would like to remove all chicanes from grand prix circuits following the tragic death of a race Marshall at the Monza race. Is this the answer I ask? Well to be blunt no it isn’t and this is why. Grand Prix need to have variety, having all tracks similar (i.e. long straights and shallow turns) will make the sport dull and they will lose attraction to the fans. Also it wasn’t the chicane that killed the Marshall, but a flying wheel. After a similar accident last year at an indycar race, where several spectators were killed after a tyre flew into the crowd, shouldn’t the issue of spectator safety be addressed? Failing that shouldn’t the bindings of tyres onto the cars be more secure. I know the car it designed to break up on impact to dissipate the energy held in the car to maximise driver safety, but I do not see how the tyres coming away easily aids the drivers safety. After all it could just as easily have been a rogue tyre hitting a driver. Summing up, I think that tracks such as Monza should remain, and that more money should be invested in car and spectator safety.
Monza, Why on earth do race tracks have sharp bends or chicanes right near the start. Surely this is a reicpe for disaster. All the drivers were complaining before the race but nothing was changed. And the result- a big pile up and the death of a marshall. Lets hope the officials make some changes before next season, or ban Monza from the Grand Prix circuit. Maybe the marshalls should wear helmets as flying debris is quite common.
Hakkinen gets a flyer and is wheel to wheel with Michael, who just manages to defend the corner and leads. Barrichello bogs down, & Villeneuve flys past him, David loses out round the second part of the bend to Barrichello and stays in fifth. Hakkinen harries Michael for 10 laps before his tyres go off. Michael slips away and Hakkinen runs a lonely 2nd place 20 seconds down. Villeneuve goes well, runs on his own in third. We never see him on telly, until his gearbox blows with 15 laps to go. Barrichello holds up David, Ralf Schumacher, Button & Trulli, David can't get past until he goes in for a early pit stop which doesn't pay of. Ralf gets past Barrichello at the pit stops. Late on Barrichello has a brake problem and David eventually gets past. Button has suspension failure at 2/3 distance from going over too many kerbs, and so Trulli takes the final points. 1 Michael Schumacher 2 Mika Hakkinen @ 20s 3 Ralf Schumacher @35s 4 David Coulthard @42s 5 Rubens Barrichello @56s 6 Jarno Trulli @1min A fairly boring race! Lets see if F1 is predictable!
With the Italian Grand Prix weekend now underway, following today's practice sessions, I would like to make some predictions for the race. Judging by their standards today in practice, Ferrari look very possible (and likely) to dominate this weekend. Today they were a full half a second quicker than Mika Hakkinen in the first McLaren, who was followed by his team-mate David Coulthard who experienced a spin in the second session. Also this race opens up some interesting problems for Ferrari. Firstly, do they issue team orders to Rubens Barrichello who was quicker today than team-mate Michael Schumacher - ordering Barrichello to back off slightly throughout the weekend to give Schuey the edge on him. But isn't this breaking his contract? And if they do issue team orders, will the situation lead to confusion as in Austria this year, when Ferrari's tactics of making Rubens let Michael through on the first corner inadvertably led to Schumacher being smashed out the race by Zonta? Surely they must, with their priority to let Michael win with Barrichello second to ensure the best possible results. They cannot afford to loose points this weekend - they simply must win in one form or another. What about McLaren? Surely they have an ace to play as the weekend progresses? We've seen before that Ferrari tend to have the upper hand in the opening sessions of the weekend, with McLaren picking up their pace to be phenomenly quick by race day. My predictions for the race? A Ferrari 1-2, with Schumacher first and Barrichello second, followed by the two McLarens, Hakkinen and Coulthard respectively. As for the rest of the points positions? Well they're anyone's guess. How about Irvine picking up some points for Jaguar in sixth place, possibly behind Trulli or Frenzten in one of the Jordans? A wild card, perhaps, but maybe Jenson Button will be up there again, but the best anyone can hope for I think is fifth or sixt
h, to be the 'best of the rest'. Watch out for a few racing incidents too, with the changed chicane prooving a problem for some drivers. Fisichella had a huge testing smash here last week which completly destroyed his Benetton, and many drivers are predicting huge incidents on the opening lap - nothing too serious, lets hope. And with Schumacher asking drivers to be careful through the chicanes - we're in for another truly exciting race! Great! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk - check back for regular updates from me. Remember to rate this article!
Monza is one of the oldest F1 tracks and the atmosphere the place exudes is tremendous. It is located near to Ferrari's home but this isn't enough for the Tifosi to feel confident in their teams chances this year. Before I have my say on this years impending race, I will describe the circuit in some more detail. It is one of the few circuits not to have been changed from the original layout. There have been some fairly minor changes to slow the cars down since the FIA became concerened about safety. These are the obligotary chicanes namely the Rettifilo at the end of the start finish straight, the Curva della Roggia and the Variante Ascari. However there are still some great corners, namely the Lesmos and the Parabollica which require great skill to get around. The area is heavily forested which can lead to problems in the wet as the trees prevent the sun clearing the track. This could well mean the pace car being employed this year although rain is quite rare at this race. THe circuit has some fast sections, two long straights and this means it is possible to overtake, but as usual it isn't easy! This years race will be a fight between McLaren and Ferrari, although the track will suit the McLarens more. Expect Hakkinen to be quick here, and he will be doing his best to avoid a repetition of last year when he spun of at the Rettifilo when leading comfortably. Schumacher will be trying his best too, as he needs to beat Mika to stay in contention for the title. I expect Arrows to do well here as they have been in testing. Overall let's hope for a good race, the track can certainly provied what is needed for some exciting stuff!
The site has three tracks the 5.793 km Grand Prix track, the 2.405 km Junior track and a decaying 4.25 km high speed track with steep bankings. Major features of the main track include the Curva di Lesmo, the Curva Parabolica, and the Variante Ascari. The first large corner, Curva Grande, is located behind a chicane and not significant anymore. In the safety conscious years following the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994 (albeit at a different track), the three main long curves were squeezed in order to install larger gravel traps, shortening the lap 5.77 km. In 1997 the stands were reworked to expand capacity to 51,000. In 2000 the chicane on the main straight was altered, changing from a double left-right chicane to a single right-left chicane, in an attempt to reduce the frequent accidents at the starts due to the conformation of the braking area. The second chicane was also reprofiled. In the Formula 1 Grand Prix of the same year, the first to use this new chicanes, a marshal was killed by flying debris after a big pileup in the second chicane. The length of the track in its current configuration is 5.793 km.