Italy 2019 - GP preview - Renault F1
Nico Hülkenberg drove with determination in Spa for his eighth-place finish. The German heads to Italy with motivation to do even better at the Temple of Speed.
How special is the Italian Grand Prix?
Monza carries a lot of history and it’s amongst the most special Grands Prix on the Formula 1 calendar. The fans create this wild atmosphere there and it’s really cool to experience. I do enjoy racing at circuits with a lot of history and prestige. You get a great feeling at these places. I do enjoy food, and Italy is good for that. I’ll be sure to eat a pizza at some point over the weekend!
What are the main considerations for a lap?
The track is high-speed with a lot of demand on the engine, high-speed and the need for maintaining momentum around the lap. We have a low downforce setting on the car, the lowest of the season, to allow the top straight-line speed. The car will feel light at the first, especially in FP1, and it takes a little bit of getting used to. Monza has hard braking zones, Turn 1 is a standout, and you need to be quite brave there. The Lesmos, the run through Ascari and of course, the Parabolica are all a lot of fun to drive when you get them right.
How do you reflect on Spa?
Spa was a difficult weekend for a number of reasons, but to take home some points in eighth was pleasing in the end. We demonstrated our capabilities both in qualifying and race and we’ll be aiming for even better in Monza. All our focus is on having a strong weekend to end the European part of the season with some solid points.
Daniel Ricciardo has his mind on the Italian Grand Prix, a race which is closer to home for the Australian who has Italian roots.
How much does the Italian Grand Prix mean to you?
I have Italian heritage with some cousins and relatives living in Italy. It’s not immediate family, but they still come out and support. The fans are always special in Monza and the passion there is amazing. There’s lots of red flares and chaos everywhere, but it’s quite cool to see everyone going wild. I always look forward to the drivers’ parade in Monza because it’s electric and gets you pumped to go racing. On a food note, the best pizza in the world is in Monza. I think I had seven pizzas in four days last year!
How enjoyable is a lap of Monza?
Monza is a really nice circuit. It’s high-speed, awesome to drive and one of the highlights of the year. If you’re clever on the brakes, you can pull off some good overtakes. I’ve made a few good ones there in the past! If we can repeat our qualifying form, hopefully we can be in a position to fight for double figure points.
What’s there to say about last weekend’s race?
I was glad to move on from Belgium. Our race was pretty much over from the turn one incident as it was difficult to recover with the damage we sustained. We showed strong pace in qualifying and should have scored some important points. Just to race on Sunday was challenging, but I’m glad we did. Monza means we have an immediate opportunity to bounce back and hopefully score well.
Mia Sharizman, Renault Sport Academy Director
“It was the hardest weekend for the Academy and for me personally. Everyone in the Academy looked up to Anthoine as being the benchmark for how to conduct themselves on and off track. He was humble and yet fast, he was caring and yet focused on being the best. He would help the younger drivers in the Academy and still complete his own training programme with absolute maximum effort.
“Anthoine spent the last week of his life with the Academy boys at the training camp in the Pyrenees. It was he who convinced me that it will be good for everyone and he wanted to achieve this along with his fellow drivers as it was ‘a once in a lifetime achievement for all’. That is Anthoine – always thinking about others.
“Anthoine was moving up nicely in the Academy where we already identified his F2 programme for 2020. He will be a great lost for us as he was also crucial in the development of the F1 team too.
“It’s going to be difficult to move on but Anthoine would want each and everyone in the Academy to reach their goals and be the best they can be. There are races and championships to be won. The rest of the boys will focus on this, as they know that is what Anthoine would have wanted them to do. He has made everyone in the Academy a better person. That is how we will remember him.”