Monza post race: Williams

Felipe Massa claimed his second podium of the season in front of a cheering Italian crowd in Monza. Valtteri Bottas finished in fourth, pushing his teammate hard in the final laps. After good starts for both cars they ran third and fourth until Rosberg’s quicker pitstop allowed him to jump ahead of both cars after the one and only round of stops. Both drivers capitalised on Rosberg stopping on track in the late stages of the race to claim a valuable 27 points for the team.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was a good race for the team. The mandate from the start of the weekend was that we had to have a clean weekend. If there were 15 points on the table, we had to come away with 15 points. The great news is that we’ve taken 27 points and a podium. We’ve moved away from the people behind us in fourth by a good amount, which was the absolute priority. We’ve kept pace with Ferrari, so in championship terms it’s been a good weekend for us. We came out of what was not a particularly good race in Belgium, from both a performance and operational point of view, and we’ve reacted really well. The team were absolutely spot on all weekend which is a great show of the strength and depth we have at Williams now.”

Felipe Massa: “It’s really emotional to have been on the podium. It was a difficult but fantastic race. I didn’t have the best start but I was still able to pass cars so it was good enough. I worked hard to open the gap to Valtteri, but when I pitted early it gave him the advantage on tyres at the end of the race. It was hard to keep him behind as he really wanted it, but I just about managed it. I am delighted for myself and the team, we got a lot of valuable points. It’s special to be up on the podium at Monza again, and I really thank the team for their effort today.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a good result for the team today, good points which is important. My pit stop lost me too much time which was crucial for the second part of the race. I managed to get extremely close in the end but it was too late. As I saved my tyres and brakes I was able to attack in the final laps but we had system issues on the last lap, so we need to investigate what happened because I also lost an opportunity there. It’s a shame for me that I couldn’t be on the podium but it’s still good points for us.”

Monza preview: Williams

Monza is home to some of the most passionate fans in Formula One. The Italian Grand Prix was first held during the inaugural Formula One season in 1950 and has been on the calendar ever since. Four times during a single lap the Williams FW37 will exceed 195mph due to the circuit’s layout. Monza’s history surrounds the circuit with corner names linking back to past greats and the original banking from the 1950s is ever-present. Monza hosts the last visit to Europe for the Formula One fraternity before it heads to sunnier climes. The Italian Grand Prix has had six Williams victors, with Felipe Massa securing an emotional podium in 2014 in front of the tifosi.

Rob Smedley:
“Monza is a specialist circuit and, like the rest of the teams, we will be taking a dedicated aero package. It’s a great circuit and a challenge for both engineers and drivers to get right. There are some very high speed straights with big braking zones with some fast and medium speed corners too. Ascari is a real challenge and Parabolica needs a good front end which fortunately the FW37 has. It’s a test for the drivers as they will have the lowest drag set-up of the year which takes time to get used to during the first Friday session. Last year we were on the podium so we look to replicate that performance and carry on outscoring our closest competitors. Italy is fantastic and the fans give the team a great reception, despite being a completely British team and of course the tifosi are some of the most passionate fans in sport.”

Felipe Massa:
“Monza is one of the best circuits to drive – the layout is quick with some very fast corners. The local area is fantastic with good weather, great food and fans who are very passionate about Formula One. There is a lot of history at the track and as a team we have had some good results there, including our podium last year. Standing on the Monza podium is very special and I’m lucky enough to have a lot of supporters in Italy. Our car should be suited well to the characteristics of the circuit but we will have to work hard to make sure that we leave Italy with a good result.”

Valtteri Bottas:
“I always look forward to racing in Monza. It’s an old school track with a lot of history and is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar which gives you a real buzz when driving. It requires a low downforce set-up from the car which should be good for us. The passionate fans also make the weekend a special one. We are aiming for a strong weekend here. We have learnt from our mistakes and will bounce back even stronger!”

Monza preview: Sahara Force India

Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, looks forward to the final European race of the 2015 season.

“The high-speed challenge of historic Monza is always one of the highlights of the year. It’s the final race of the European season and it’s important that we score strongly to regain the initiative in our fight for fifth place in the standings.

“The last race in Belgium showed that the updates we’ve brought to the VJM08 are working as intended. We’ve taken some big steps forward over the last couple of months and with more developments in the pipeline I think we can keep up this momentum.

“Of course, the result in Spa was bittersweet as we could only compete with one car, but we’ve shown that the VJM08 is capable of qualifying and racing well inside the top ten. At the same time, Spa reminded us that we cannot take our progress for granted and we must continue to work hard to remain at the front of the midfield battle.

“Monza is a track where we expect to be competitive. We go there aiming to get both our cars in Q3 on Saturday and in the points on Sunday – that must be our target for all the races to come.”

 

Sergio Perez looks to the Italian Grand Prix with optimism, following his best result of the season in Spa.

“The race in Belgium was good fun: it’s always nice to battle at the front and, even though we didn’t manage to get onto the podium, it was good to come away with our best result of the season so far. Our performance is improving and we are taking the opportunities when they arise. We have seen that we can now fight with nearly everyone and it’s important we keep aiming for the podium.

“Monza is a place with lots of memories for me. I had one of my best races in Formula One there in 2012, finishing second after a clever race managing tyres. The circuit is probably one of the most beautiful in the calendar: there’s history wherever you look and you can feel it’s a unique place from the very moment you arrive at the track. The Italian fans are amazing – they remind me of Mexicans, in a way, and it’s a good warm-up ahead of the race in Mexico City!

“Monza is a true power track and so we go there confident of being competitive. It’s never easy to overtake and the strategy options are quite limited, and so getting the job done in qualifying is especially important. In the race it’s a case of being flat out all the way and being accurate with your braking points.

“My feeling with the updated car is very good now. Spa was the most comfortable I’ve been this season and it showed in the results. We need to go to Monza and deliver a similar performance.”

 

Nico Hülkenberg aims to bounce back from a disappointing weekend in Belgium as he returns to Monza.

“When you have a frustrating weekend like the one in Spa, the best cure is to get back behind the wheel and go racing again. I know we could have been very competitive in Belgium without the technical issues on race day and we missed an opportunity to score good points.

“Monza is special. It’s a high-speed track that pushes the car to the limit: it may look easy but the margin for error when braking for the chicanes is very small and you end up paying heavily for every mistake. It’s a fun and challenging circuit to drive and the atmosphere makes it even better. The fans are very passionate and knowledgeable: the town lives for the race and you have a feeling that you’re in one of the temples of Formula One.

“The layout of the track should allow us to be competitive and it’s an opportunity for us to score important points. I had a very exciting race there in 2013 and I wouldn’t mind a repeat performance. We have seen what the VJM08 is capable of in the last few events and I think we will have the chance to compete in the top ten.”

Monza preview: Lotus

Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi looks ahead to the Italian Grand Prix.

Pastor suffered a retirement in Spa, what is the team doing to make sure this doesn’t happen at the next race?

“First the team will prepare the cars as usual for the weekend sessions and hopefully, with a clear weekend, we can hope for a good performance by both drivers.”

Where do you feel the team is at currently?

“We are facing challenges but we are a united team. We have shown many times that we are fighters and that we punch above our weight. We are now fifth in the Constructor’s Championship and that makes me proud of everyone at Enstone. We want to continue to show our worth and fight on each and every lap these coming races.”

How important is Monza, and Italy, for Formula 1?

“It’s very important for me personally. Monza, Spa, Silverstone, have all been part of the original history of motor racing. Monza is and will always remain a classic in the Formula 1 calendar. The fans – or tifosi in Italy – are simply amazing and there are so many of them at all these historic venues no matter if it pours with rain or even if it snowed!”

This is the last European race of the season, what are your thoughts heading to the final batch of long-haul races?

“We will be heading to races overseas after Monza and we’ll be visiting some great countries and venues. From Singapore which always offers a great night spectacle, to the US that is extremely popular, to Mexico, a new venue that we are looking forward to visiting this year, and of course Russia, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, places where F1 is warmly greeted and where the promoters are doing a fantastic job. We shall be looking forward to visiting all these places in the latter part of the season..”

 

Fresh off the back of his Belgian third place, Romain Grosjean sets out his targets for a similarly strong performance in Monza.

How goes the high after your Spa podium?

“I still have a massive smile on my face about it! What a race and what a performance from everyone in the team. We have a great car in the E23 and it worked so well around Spa Francorchamps. Everything came together so well. I probably drove the best race of my career, but it was thanks to the hard work of everyone at Enstone that I was able to perform at the top of my ability on that day. It felt almost like a race win.”

Could you have passed Sebastian Vettel if he hadn’t had his tyre issue?

“I was closing in on him pretty quickly and I’d have done everything I could to get past him. He’s a pretty tough competitor, but I was very determined at that point. It’s only a shame that he did have his tyre issue on track as I was really looking forward to fighting him for that position and I’m convinced I would have taken the final podium spot.”

How do you like Monza, the Theatre of Speed?

“I like Monza a lot because it is so distinctive. It’s a great track that has a lot of racing history. This makes it nice for us to compete at a place where all our heroes raced too. There is a lot of atmosphere around the track and to race in the setting of the royal park makes for a really special ambience. Of course the Ferrari fans are a big part of it and it is really nice competing at such a legendary venue.”

Any special memories from Monza?

“One of my first ever races in cars was at Monza back in 2003 when I was driving in a category called Formula Lista where I won and then went on to win every race of my rookie season in that formula. I have had some other big results at Monza too throughout my career, so it holds lots of good memories.”

What aspirations do you have for Monza this weekend?

“On paper, Monza should suit our car better than Spa so in theory a podium could be possible again! Of course, we don’t know how our performance relative to our rivals will stack up until we get there, but I’m certainly going out for the strongest result possible, as I always do.”

What’s the key to a strong result in Italy?

“You need your car to be as slippery as possible and quick in a straight line, and in that regard we’ve looked pretty strong so far in 2015. Then we have to manage the tyre degradation. Also for us it will be tricky in the big corners like the Lesmos and the Ascari chicane because the less downforce you have then the more difficult it is to get good grip in the turns. It is a tough compromise but one I am sure that the team will get the best solution possible.”

 

Pastor Maldonado looks forward to the 2015 Italian Grand Prix at a place where so much of his race craft was learned.

What are your opinions of racing in the Parco di Monza?

“I like Monza and I love Italy. I actually used to live very close to the circuit when I was starting my career here in Europe. I have won races here so it holds some good memories and special feelings for sure. I have a lot of friends here and a lot of supporters who come and see me at the track, so it is very nice to catch up with them all. The track is totally unique and of course it is great to be racing where all the old heroes did too. Monza has changed only very slightly over the years and it still has the character of the old banking and the parkland trees as you drive through it and of course the fans create a great atmosphere which is a great soundtrack to the Grand Prix.”

Any particular expectations for the Monza weekend?

“I am really looking forward to Monza this year. We’ve shown our car to be pretty good through the speed traps this season and Monza is where you want to be as fast as possible in a straight line. Coming off the back of our performance in Spa it’s going to be really interesting to see how we go; I have a good feeling.”

Tell us one word that comes to mind when you hear the word Monza?

“Speed. It has to be speed because the track is all about how fast you can go on the start/finish straight and then also on the back straight too. We are reaching the highest speeds of the season on these stretches. One of the critical points is the Parabolica corner. You have to get this right at the end of your lap to ensure a good time, and if you get it wrong it also compromises you for the next lap. It’s difficult to do this as the car is set up for low downforce on the straights, so it’s more difficult to drive on the corners – especially a long corner like Parabolica, which is tough and fast, the most crucial at Monza.”

Last year the outside of Parabolica was changed from gravel to tarmac; did this make a difference?

“The approach was still the same, which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Of course you are aware that it’s safer and there’s less penalty in going off and this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside.”

How frustrating was your Belgian Grand Prix?

“Of course, it’s frustrating not to finish any Grand Prix, but it was particularly so in Belgium as we really had potential to go well. Romain did a great job to finish on the podium and I started my race ahead of him on the grid. We know what is possible and our car should go well in Monza. I would love to score a very strong result in Italy as I have so many fans there.”

Were there particular lessons learned?

“We’ve gone through the data and we think we know what we need to do to avoid a similar situation again. Spa’s a pretty unique place so it’s unlikely we’ll see the same set of circumstances again. It was good to watch the team get a good result, but it would have been better to have been part of a strong result for both cars on track.”

 

 

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