Italy 2020 - GP preview - Haas F1

Team quotes

Search

By Olivier Ferret

1 September 2020 - 10:36
Italy 2020 - GP preview - Haas (...)

Formula One has been fast-moving in recent months and fittingly the eighth event in just a 10-week spell will take place at the cathedral of speed itself: the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, long-time host of the Italian Grand Prix.

Monza, located a short hop north of fashionista focal point Milan, is one of the oldest purpose-built circuits in the world, having opened its doors in 1922. Its celebrated banking is now a monument to a bygone era but history lurks at every step in the parkland setting as the class of 2020 prepares to add another chapter to the venue’s legacy.

The circuit is the fastest on Formula One’s calendar and is famed for the high-speed sections that are punctuated by a smattering of chicanes and quick corners. These turns, and the heavy braking zones, are made more challenging by the low-downforce packages that Formula One teams run, facilitating speeds in excess of 350km/h being reached on the run to the Rettifilo Chicane. The fastest 10 laps in Formula One history have all come at Monza across the past two seasons as drivers flexed their muscles in ferociously fast cars at this throttle-happy track. Kimi Raikkonen’s 2018 pole lap was achieved at an average speed of 263.588km/h, as he completed the 11 turns and 5.793km in just 1:19.119s.

Monza has historically not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Haas F1 Team and the circuit layout is unlikely to suit the characteristics of the VF-20. But as ever Haas F1 Team and experienced drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will keep pushing in order to grab any opportunity that may arise.

The action will commence with two practice sessions on Friday, prior to final practice and qualifying on Saturday, with Sunday’s 53-lap race set for 15:10 local time (09:10 EST/14:10 BST).

Günther Steiner

There was some adversity faced in last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix – notably a frustrating Friday with technical issues limiting the team’s track time. As team principal, what’s your chief role in those situations? For example, is it to lead the investigation into what went wrong and why, or is it more to keep the team working forward and motivated despite the issues being faced?

“The first thing is to keep the team motivated – thank God they’re all still motivated to keep on going. I really admire that from the guys. With regards to the investigation, we cannot do that ourselves, that’s to do with the power unit and we have no insight into it. I need to push our power unit supplier to give us solutions. Losing running time on a Friday, that doesn’t help anybody.”

Looking ahead, the Italian Grand Prix marks a home race for yourself. When was your first visit to Autodromo Nazionale Monza and what are your favorite Italian Grand Prix moments?

“I have a lot of home grands prix; people love to remind me how many I have. I’m a little bit of a global citizen, so I would say the Italian Grand Prix is one of my home races. But it is actually the closest one to my hometown, that much is correct. My first visit to Monza was not with Formula One, it was I think in rallying, probably Rally Monza or something like that. It was a long time ago; I’m getting so old now I can’t really remember the first time there – if a tree’s in front of it it’s difficult to remember the rally. One of my best moments there would be my first podium in Formula One with Eddie (Irvine) and Jaguar. It was my first podium and my last in Formula One up until now. I hope to get there again soon as it was a great moment. I don’t think it will happen this year.”

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is renowned for being a temple of speed. Given power-heavy circuits haven’t been favorable to the VF-20 this season, what’s the realistic expectation of performance heading into the race weekend?

“Realistically we’ll be fighting to get out of Q1. That is the real expectation but that’s what we’ll be working towards – making it out of Q1. You need to have a target, but it needs to be realistic. There’s no point dreaming about getting into Q3. If we can get out of Q1, especially on high speed tracks like Spa and Monza, that’s good. We’ll fight hard but we know we’ve got one arm tied behind our back.”

Following on in terms of power circuits, what do you make of the track layout for the Sakhir Grand Prix in December and do you applaud Formula One’s bold decision to make use of an alternative track layout given the back-to-back races at Bahrain International Circuit?

“I fully support the change of track layout, it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s a cool thing as well, we need to be creative and put on a good show for the fans. I don’t know exactly how the track layout will suit us, I haven’t seen any simulations from the guys, it only just came out. It obviously looks like it’s a very short lap, but who cares – if it’s different it will at least create some excitement because it’s new, but also, it’ll hopefully create some excitement with the racing. It’s a simplistic layout for Formula One but sometimes simple things work as well.”

Romain Grosjean

Describe what’s required from your set-up to be competitive at Autodromo Nazionale Monza and how do you evolve that set-up from Friday’s practice session through to preparing for Sunday’s race?

“Monza is a very atypical circuit. There’s a lot of straight lines, so obviously top speed and drag is key on the set-up. But also because of those high speeds, there’s big breaking and you use the kerbs a lot. The set-up is really about putting confidence into the car. From Friday to Sunday, normally what you do is keep removing downforce from the car, you keep pushing the limit of it.”

The Italian Grand Prix is renowned for the passion of its fans with the famed ‘Tifosi’ adding to the atmosphere over the weekend – something that will unfortunately be missing on this visit. Where does the atmosphere of a race weekend hit you the most – is it on arrival each day, in and around the paddock, or on the grid before the race – and will Monza in particular feel even stranger without fans on-site?

“Monza will definitely feel strange without the fans, especially when you get to the paddock. Usually all the fans are waiting by the car park and it’s almost difficult to walk to the paddock – but it’s mega to be a part of it. For me this season, it’s usually Sunday on the grid where you miss the fans the most. At Monza we’ll definitely feel it every day.”

What are your own memorable Monza moments from your career to-date?

“I had my first ever Formula Renault 2.0 race at Monza in the Eurocup back in 2004. It was also the first race for my team (SG Formula), it was brand new team. I qualified second from something like 45 cars on the grid. I surprised everyone, including myself, it was mega.”

The additional races now confirmed for the end of the season include the return of the Turkish Grand Prix. It’s not a track you’ve personally raced at in Formula One, but do you have any experience there in the junior categories? If not, what do you know about the circuit and its challenges?

“The Istanbul Park is a mega circuit. With the new Formula One car it’s going to be absolutely amazing. I raced there a few times in the GP2 Series. I won the last time I was there in 2011. It’s a great circuit for racing and action. Turn eight, which everybody talks about, it’s really going to be a moment in these modern Formula One cars. It’ll probably be flat out, there’ll be so much g-force going on. It’s a tricky track. There’s a good variety of corners – mostly flowing in sectors one and two, then going into the last few corners it’s much lower speed, so it’s quite a challenge in terms of set-up. I think it’s just going to be great to be there.”

Kevin Manussen

Describe what’s required from your set-up to be competitive at Autodromo Nazionale Monza and how do you evolve that set-up from Friday’s practice session through to preparing for Sunday’s race?

“Monza is a track with very long straights, so you need a car with great straight-line performance. At the same time, you have some big breaking zones which then requires a car with stability on the breaks. You need to try and survive in the high-speed corners with the low-downforce and a well-balanced car. You try and get away with as little downforce as you can to go fast on the straights, that’s the tricky bit.”

The Italian Grand Prix is renowned for the passion of its fans with the famed ‘Tifosi’ adding to the atmosphere over the weekend – something that will unfortunately be missing on this visit. Where does the atmosphere of a race weekend hit you the most – is it on arrival each day, in and around the paddock, or on the grid before the race – and will Monza in particular feel even stranger without fans on-site?

“Monza will feel very different, there’s always a great atmosphere there. You would get very close to the fans entering the track and driving through the park from the hotel every morning. Of course, the atmosphere on Sunday, both before and after the race, we’ll all miss that this year. I always think that on a race weekend, the atmosphere is extra special just before the race itself. That’s usually when most of the spectators are in their seats, the grandstands are completely full. Usually during practice and so on they might be wandering around the circuit a bit more, but for the bit just before the race when everyone’s seated, you really feel that energy.”

What are your own memorable Monza moments from your career to-date?

“My first Italian Grand Prix there in Formula One back in 2014 was obviously very special. It’s such a great atmosphere, it really sets it aside from some other races – it’s special for any driver to experience.”

The additional races now confirmed for the end of the season include the return of the Turkish Grand Prix. It’s not a track you’ve personally raced at in Formula One, but do you have any experience there in the junior categories? If not, what do you know about the circuit and its challenges?

“I’ve never been to Turkey before. There are quite a few circuits this year that I’ll be driving for the first time – Mugello, Imola and Turkey, they’ll all be new to me. There’ll be a lot of learning done this year, which is something I’m looking forward to, it’s always a great challenge. I’ve obviously watched Formula One for years, so I’ve seen the races at Istanbul Park. I’m familiar with the layout of the circuit. It’s the rhythm of the track, you only get that when you drive it for yourself. The first time out it’s a steep learning curve but you get to a good level pretty quickly. That said, you never stop learning about a track, you’re always fine-tuning things.”

Haas F1

Formula 1 news

Pics

Videos

expand_less