Following quickly on the heels of the Dutch Grand Prix, the team makes the journey south to Milan and the famed Autodromo di Nazionale Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. Known as the ‘Temple of Speed’ due to its long straights that produce some of the fastest racing on the calendar, punctuated by numerous chicanes and sweeping turns, the 5.793km layout blasts its way through a stunning parkland setting on the outskirts of one of Europe’s fashion capitals.
Having been missing from the 2020 running of the event, the incredibly passionate local fans known as the Tifosi will return to the grandstands this weekend and are sure to create an electric atmosphere. One of only two Grands Prix that have run continuously each season since the introduction of the World Championship in 1950, the Italian Grand Prix remains one of the most iconic races of the entire year and will undoubtedly provide another superb spectacle in 2021.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a fantastic venue to end this triple-header run of races. The high-speed nature of the circuit usually produces a tense qualifying session and an exciting race. Although the format of the event this year is a little different – this is the second Sprint Qualifying event of the season – there is no reason to think that this won’t be another very entertaining weekend.
The long straights inevitably dominate the car setup, but the corners, kerbs and change of direction through the Ascari complex can’t be ignored. Balancing all these requirements in a single free practice session before the cars are placed in Parc Ferme will be an interesting challenge for all the teams. Additionally, like Silverstone, the qualifying session takes place in the early evening, which will change the tyre behaviour and require a slightly different approach.
This weekend we have the middle of the Pirelli compound range, with each driver getting two sets of the Prime, four sets of the Option tyre and six sets of the Qualifying compound. One of the key decisions facing the teams will be which compound to use for the Sprint Qualifying session, and which to save for the all-important Grand Prix on Sunday.
We have enjoyed this European triple-header, achieved some success in Spa and got a lot out of the FW43B at the new circuit in Zandvoort. Following the news this week that George will be joining the Mercedes team for the 2022 season, we are now looking forward to finishing his time with us strongly, beginning this weekend in Monza.
George Russell: I’m very excited for Monza. There’s always lots of challenges running the minimum downforce, which is the lowest of the season. It’s the Sprint Qualifying event which will make things a little trickier given we’ve only done one of those previously and will only have a single practice session to get the car set up. Nevertheless, Monza is a great track to race at, so I’m pleased that we’ll get two opportunities to do that with Sprint Qualifying and the race.
Nicholas Latifi: Monza will be the last round of the triple header, which has been a very busy period for the team. The track itself is one of the most historic on the calendar, and he low downforce and drag create a very unique feeling in the car which makes for great for racing. I think we’ve made quite a lot of improvements to the car since we were there last year, so hopefully we can have a strong weekend. It’ll also be the second time that we try the new Sprint Qualifying format, so that will be interesting.