The European part of the season is about to draw to a close and what better venue to say farewell to the old continent than the Autodromo di Monza. Along with the British Grand Prix, the Italian event is the veteran on the Formula 1 calendar having run for an uninterrupted 61 years from 1950, with all bar the 1980 race, which was staged at Imola, having been held at Monza.
For Scuderia Toro Rosso it is of course our home race and most of the workforce from our Faenza factory will attend at some point over the weekend.
Monza is all about speed, with the 2003 Italian Grand Prix holding the record for the highest ever race average of 247.585 km/h, so the cars are transformed into something that looks like a beefed up Formula 3 car for one weekend only, running the smallest wings of the year. Engines are flat out for 75% of the lap, stability under braking is vital to deal with the “health and safety” chicanes and in qualifying drivers will be gripping the steering wheel extra hard as they crash over the kerbs to shave fractions off lap times.
Apart from the record for the fastest race, Monza also holds the record for the closest finish, dating back to 1971, when Peter Gethin took the win from Ronnie Peterson by just one hundredth of a second. Could we see something similar this year? Maybe, because this year’s technical gizmos – DRS and KERS – combined with the possibility of two drivers fighting with tyres in very different stages of degradation, should make for an incredibly close race. The long straights here have prompted the FIA to run two DRS zones this weekend and we could see a last lap game of cat and mouse if the cars are close enough, where it might actually be an advantage to be lying second going into the Parabolica for the last time to slip stream the car in front and slingshot across the finish line in the lead.
For Scuderia Toro Rosso, Monza still represents our finest moment, when Sebastian Vettel won the Italian Grand Prix for us in 2008. Repeating that this year might be tricky, but our performance two weeks ago in Spa was very encouraging up to the end of qualifying, before circumstances robbed both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi of the chance of capitalising on good grid positions. The team will be trying to build on that to give our staff in the grandstands something to cheer about this Sunday.
Source: Toro Rosso
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