Italian GP Preview – Mercedes “excited” to tackle “party mode” ban!

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Mercedes released the Italian Grand Prix preview featuring comments from team boss Toto Wolff. You can read Wolff’s comments below!

“Spa had not been our strongest track in recent years, so it felt very good to turn that around this year and leave Belgium with a 1-2,” said Wolff.

“A few weeks ago, I was trackside in Silverstone to watch our cars go through Maggotts and Becketts; last weekend in Spa, I was watching the onboard of it going through Malmedy and Pouhon. Seeing the W11 driven in anger, attacking the circuit with everything it’s got, is truly impressive and shows how colossal effort from everyone in Brackley and Brixworth has created a mighty machine.

“The second and third races of this triple-header take us to Italy, with stops in Monza and Mugello. The famous ‘Temple of Speed’ is a real low-drag, low-downforce circuit where straight-line speed is crucial for a good result. The race was often won from pole in the past, which makes qualifying particularly important in Italy.

“Both the power sensitivity and the importance of qualifying make Monza a perfect track to test the impact of a new Technical Directive which comes into effect at the Italian Grand Prix. TD/037-20 limits the usage of engine modes, requiring teams to run the same ICE mode in qualifying and the race. It will be intriguing to see how it affects the absolute and relative competitive order on Saturday and Sunday; we’re excited to take on the challenge and turn it to our advantage.”

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Fact File: Italian Grand Prix

  • Just over 77% of the lap time and 84% of the lap distance at Monza are taken at full throttle, the highest percentages of any F1 circuit – hence why Monza is nicknamed the ‘Temple of Speed’.
  • The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza features the second-fewest number of corners of any F1 track, with just 11 turns – four left-handers and seven right-handers. Only the Red Bull Ring in Austria has less corners.
  • The impact of the tow at Monza is significant, and this can often impact the strategies that teams use in Qualifying. In 2019, the difference between a lap with a tow and without a tow was around 0.7 seconds.
  • Because a large chunk of driving at Monza is spent in eighth gear, very few gear changes take place over the course of the lap compared to other tracks. In fact, just 36 gear changes are completed with each circulation of Monza, tied with Silverstone, Mexico City, Interlagos and Suzuka for the lowest.
  • The maximum speed cars will reach at Monza is around 336 km/h, the third highest in F1 – behind Paul Ricard (340 km/h) and Mexico City (350 km/h).
  • Monza is the second most power sensitive track of the 2020 calendar, along with Spa-Francorchamps. Power sensitivity means the amount of lap time improvement that can be achieved through an increase in power.
  • Locking a wheel at Monza is more common than at other circuits, as there is less downforce on the car and the long straights mean the tyres are cold for the big braking zones. Drivers can find a lot of time in these slow-speed chicanes and the run-off areas can be unforgiving due to gravel or large sausage kerbs. Therefore, a lock-up at Monza usually means the lap is ruined.
  • The tyres cooling on the straights and the low-downforce configuration also impact braking stability, as they make the car more nervous and unpredictable in the braking zones. This can also increase the likelihood of a lock-up.
  • Even though low downforce often features as a talking point every year at Monza, there happens to still be enough downforce on the car to drive it upside down – at least in theory.
  • Monza enjoys one of the highest average corner speed of any of this year’s tracks – with Curva Grande (Turn 3) and Parabolica (Turn 11) counterbalancing the slow chicanes.
  • Monza offers up the third-highest traction demand of the season, as a lot of the acceleration zones are coming out of low-speed corners. Therefore, mechanical grip is an important factor at Monza to power the cars down the long straights.
  • The Monza track features poor traction on the exit kerbs and because of the importance of traction out of the slow corners, the drivers will often avoid the exit kerbs altogether to get the best possible exit. The ride on some of the kerbs is particularly rough for the car, which is also another reason why drivers will avoid the exit kerbs.
  • The run from pole position to the first braking zone at Monza is one of the longest in F1, measuring 453 metres. Only Barcelona, Silverstone, Mexico City and Sochi have longer runs to the first braking zone.
  • 2020 marks the 71st running of the Italian Grand Prix, a race that has been part of every single season in Formula One’s history. It’s also the 70th Italian GP to take place at Monza, with the only other circuit to host the race being Imola in 1980.
  • The latest configuration of the Monza track debuted in 2000. Since then, 15 of the 20 races have been won from pole position.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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