Italian Grand Prix: PreviewSeptember 6, 2021
Uralkali Haas F1 Team is preparing for a third event in as many weeks and this time it’ll be fast and frenetic, with the high-speed Autodromo Nazionale Monza hosting Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix.
No circuit in the world has been graced by Formula 1 machinery more often than Monza, with the track absent only once – in 1980 – since the inception of the world championship in 1950. Set within the grounds of the leafy Parco di Monza, with the Alps visible on a clear day, the venue is renowned for its high-speed sections, while the decaying banked oval continues to act as a memorial to the circuit’s history. It will be Formula 1’s second visit to Italy this year, following on from April’s trip to Imola, which held the Emilia Romagna event.
Modern Monza has remained largely untouched since the turn of the millennium, with lengthy straights punctuated by heavy braking zones, chicanes and a handful of medium-speed corners. The low-downforce packages sported by Formula 1 teams means speeds approaching 370km/h can be achieved while last season Lewis Hamilton covered 5.793km in just 1:18.887s to set a new fastest average lap speed record of 264.363km/h during qualifying.
Following on from its debut at Silverstone the second trial of F1 Sprint, a duration of 18 laps, will take place at Monza.
Uralkali Haas F1 Team duo Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher have both shone at Monza in their careers. Mazepin secured a podium finish in the GP3 Series in 2018 and last season improved 14 positions on his grid spot in Formula 2 to surge into the points. Schumacher, meanwhile, was too good for the opposition as he scorched to a brilliant Formula 2 Feature Race victory to set up his charge to the title.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Uralkali Haas F1 Team
As an Italian, just how special an event is the Italian Grand Prix for you and when did you first attend a race at Monza? What were your first impressions?
“Monza for me is the closest race to my hometown, so being Italian, it is big emotion. Monza is a great race on the calendar – it’s very historic. My first race there was when we finished third on the podium with Eddie Irvine and Jaguar. I would like to go back to those good old days.”
Given the Italian DNA that runs through Uralkali Haas F1 Team – do you believe Italy’s motorsport expertise rivals the likes of the United Kingdom’s ‘Motorsport Valley’?
“Absolutely. The car industry in Italy is and has always been big. There is motor valley now in the region of Emilia Romagna – there is a lot of expertise there – there is a lot of expertise in Turin about cars and there are two Formula 1 teams in Italy. Actually, two and a half as Haas is also there. After the UK, Italy is the biggest presence in Formula 1. There is a big history in Italy about motorsport and in the end, Ferrari is from there.”
This weekend will be the second event to feature the all-new Sprint format. What did you make of the Sprint at Silverstone and how will the team prepare differently now having experience of how an altered race weekend unfolds?
“The sprint qualifying in Silverstone was successful. I think there are always things to learn and how to do things better but there was not one big mistake we made, so we just try to get the whole process smoother and better and try to get the best out of it.”