F1 2021
Round 14

#ItalianGP Race Setup

it Monza

For the third part of this European triple-header, Formula 1 returns to the iconic Monza.

#ItalianGP Race Setup

A normally special weekend as the home race of Scuderia AlphaTauri, in 2020 the Italian Grand Prix saw one of the sport's most memorable moments unfold, as Pierre Gasly took his maiden victory at the temple of speed. 

A team and fan favourite, the Italian Grand Prix is a pure battle of power, with the cars running their lowest downforce packages of the season. In 2021, we will be running the second instalment of the F1 Sprint format, with just one practice session for the team to get up to speed and Qualifying on the Friday evening. 

After a good result racing in Zandvoort with Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing last week, we hope to continue our form and push on for a strong weekend once again in Italy. As the past has shown here however, anything can happen at Monza! 

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
Last Sunday in Zandvoort we witnessed an unforgettable win for Max Verstappen in front of his home crowd and now we come to Monza, also famous for the enthusiasm of its fans, mostly wearing red in contrast to the orange at the Dutch Grand Prix. Last year in Italy, we secured another memorable victory when Pierre Gasly, who has been with Honda since 2018 secured his first ever Formula 1 win at Scuderia AlphaTauri’s home race. Monza is famous for its high speed nature, with four long straights that mean a high proportion of the lap is spent at full throttle, making it a demanding race for the PU. Those straight are linked by three chicanes so that finding the right balance between the high and low speed sections is important. For the second time, after the race at Silverstone, this event features the Sprint Qualifying format, that means on Friday we go straight from one free practice session into qualifying, with parc ferme conditions, so changes to our settings are not permitted. The key is therefore to be able to find the right settings for the PU and chassis in a very limited time frame. Drawing on our experience of this at the British GP, we will have various settings options ready and we look forward to having another competitive weekend.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
I couldn’t have asked for more in Zandvoort but now it’s all eyes on Monza. The Italian Grand Prix is only around the corner and it’s very tight in the championship so the celebrations can wait and some rest between the race weekends will be important. People always think there is more pressure for drivers at their home Grand Prix but for me it’s more enjoyable. You don’t sit in your car thinking you have to deliver because you have to deliver all the time in F1 anyway so it’s no different. From my side it doesn’t really change anything in terms of pressure if it’s your home race or not. Of course everyone does expect a lot from you at a home race so it’s nice to be able to deliver and especially to win in front of the Royal Family, but it was a brilliant performance from the whole Team. Strategically we were very sharp but I’m aware that not every weekend will be like Zandvoort so we have to keep working as a Team and keep pushing as there are still a lot of races to go. I expect Monza to suit Mercedes as it hasn’t been our best track for the last few years but this year we are more competitive so you never know. If we continue what we have been doing, working well together as a Team, and nail every little detail then we can be competitive but Mercedes might have a top speed advantage on us. The track looks easy on paper but it’s actually quite difficult to nail a lap there because with a low downforce set up and the long braking zone the car is moving around quite a lot. It’s a bumpy track with quite old tarmac and the fans there are really passionate about racing and Formula One. Naturally there is always a lot of Ferrari support there but the fans just love F1 and it’s great to see that energy with the Italians. I don’t think either us or Mercedes have a big advantage over the other. At Zandvoort you could see in qualifying and the race that both of our cars are super close and Lewis was applying pressure for the entire race which meant we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes on the track, in the pit lane or on the pit wall, and we didn’t. I think it’s the finer details where you can make a difference. When you enter a race weekend you have to work hard as a Team on the set-up and fine tuning the little details, that’s where the gains can be made.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
 I can’t wait to get out on track in Monza, because I feel the mojo is good within the team and the car seems to be working well at all kinds of track, in the wet or the dry. To have finished fifth, sixth and fourth in the last three races is proof of that. Zandvoort was an amazing weekend with everything going in the right direction from Friday onwards. I’ll admit on Sunday, I was hoping something might happen with the leading three and I might get to taste some of that podium champagne again, after my third place in Baku earlier in the season, but it didn’t happen.
After coming fourth on Sunday, expectations are high now for Monza. After the French Grand Prix this is very much a second home race for me now, because I live just 15 kilometres from the track. The weekend will be something new for me, returning to a race circuit where I was the last person to win the Grand Prix. I’m very keen to be there and there should be plenty of tifosi, unlike last year, which felt very strange as the fans are so much part of the Monza atmosphere – that and the high speeds. It will be something quite special, reminding me of some really unforgettable moments from last season. I hope we can get another great result again this time, but we have to consider that we will be tackling the Qualifying Sprint format for the second time. After Silverstone, we have a better idea of what to expect, but with the usual slipstreaming battle in Qualifying and the race, it will add another dimension.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It’s a shame we didn’t qualify better in Zandvoort because we definitely had the pace to be on the podium and score lots of points for the Team. The circuit was very enjoyable to drive though and I was having fun fighting back through the field, every overtake was on the limit! Now it’s time to look forward to Monza. Monza is a unique challenge with everyone fighting in qualifying to get close to each other for a tow. If you get it right it can make all the difference but it can also become a mess as we’ve seen in previous years so it’s important to get it right. With Mercedes' top speed I don't expect Monza to be our strongest track but hopefully we'll be in the fight. I’m hoping for a better and more straightforward weekend with the Sprint Race format. The last race we tried it was at Silverstone and I made a mistake which ruined our weekend. It didn’t go to plan so I am looking forward to starting a fresh and seeing how this one plays out.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It was a shame that we had to retire from the Dutch Grand Prix after unfortunately having my Qualifying spoilt by the red flags. But there were quite a few positive things to come from that weekend. I think I adopted the right attitude to learning the track, gradually building confidence and pushing harder and the pace from the car was definitely there. We got the most out of the package, so now I’m very excited to see how it works in Monza and hopefully have a trouble-free weekend ending with a good result.
After yesterday’s announcement I’ve been given an additional boost, I believe if I continue developing and learning in the way I have been doing in the last few races then I can start delivering results more consistently, particularly on tracks I know well. I’m now looking ahead to this weekend. This is an important home race for the team and the weekend will be made more complicated because it will be the second time that we try the Sprint Qualifying format. I remember watching last year’s F1 Qualifying with all the drivers backing up and trying to get a slipstream. So, I expect Qualifying to be tricky and I will pay a lot of attention to the best way to drive it.  I like this track, and did well in F2 Qualifying last year, although I had an engine issue in the Sprint Race. Before that, I won in Monza in F3. The track is great fun to drive, usually with a lot of overtaking in the junior categories. I’ve seen from social media that I get a lot of messages from Italian fans, so I hope it will be a really nice atmosphere driving here in front of a big crowd.

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