Button and Barrichello talk Monza

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The emphasis at Monza is on engine power and aerodynamic efficiency. As a result, the team will run a special low downforce aero package, which produces 30 percent less grip than the high downforce generated at the slowest circuits on the calendar.

From a set-up point of view, the most demanding aspects of the lap are slowing the cars from high speed and getting the power down at the exit of the corners. The introduction of the standard Electronic Control Unit this year has had a big impact in both areas of performance, so a good car balance is vital in low downforce trim in order to be quick. The cars also run higher ride heights at Monza to allow the drivers to use the kerbs at all three chicanes.

There are two key corners on the lap: Lesmo 2 and Parabolica. Both are followed by long straights and the drivers need to get the power down before the apex of each turn to ensure a clean exit.

“I always look forward to racing at Monza, and the Italian fans are really passionate about motor racing,” says Jenson Button

“Monza is very different from most of the circuits that we race on during the year. It’s quick and you have to run such low downforce to get the straightline speed that is needed to take advantage of the straights. Ascari is probably my favourite part of the track and you can have a lot of fun through there. Parabolica is also good, particularly in qualifying when you’re trying to get the most out of the car and brake as late as possible whilst you are turning it. If you brake a little late, you’re off into the gravel and probably the wall. But if you get it right and have a good qualifying lap, then it’s an amazing buzz because you know that you’ve worked so hard for it. The first corner is always interesting with 20 cars slowing from 290kph (180mph) to 80kph (50mph) and fighting for position on a slippery circuit with cold tyres!”

“Monza is a very special racetrack and it has always been a real honour to race there and an even better feeling to win the Italian Grand Prix,” adds Rubens Barrichello. “The track holds some of my favourite racing memories from my victories in 2002 and 2004. As the quickest circuit on the calendar with long straights, engine power is very important to maximise your straightline speed, and the car will be set up with the lowest drag and downforce levels possible. However you really need to have good stability under braking to able to ride the Monza kerbs effectively without having too much understeer. Good traction is important for exiting the Rettifilo and Roggia chicanes and you can overtake at both of these turns. It’s more difficult to slipstream on the straights these days as it is so difficult to follow another car without losing out from the buffeting.”