Vettel out to turn around Red Bull's form at Monza

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car, prior to winning the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps. File photo

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car, prior to winning the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps. File photo  

Nearing a second consecutive Formula One championship, Sebastian Vettel will be looking to draw on his personal success and end a trend of Red Bull struggles at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

Vettel became the youngest winner in F1 history when he won at Monza in 2008 at the age of 21 when he was with Toro Rosso, but his fourth-place finish last year was Red Bull’s best result in six attempts at the historic track.

Recalling his 2008 win, Vettel said it is something he “will never forget”, adding that he had “goosebumps standing on the podium with the fans below.”

Vettel has won seven of the 12 races thus far this season and holds a commanding 92-point lead over team-mate Mark Webber in the drivers’ standings.

If Vettel wins this weekend, he could seal the title at the next race in Singapore later this month - depending on how Webber fares.

“Unfortunately it’s the last European race of the season. But we were spoilt with how good the race unfolded in Spa, so let’s hope Monza is the same,” said Webber, who finished second behind Vettel at the last race in Belgium.

Other former winners in the field include Michael Schumacher, who won a record five times - the last coming in 2006 after which he announced his retirement; three-time winner Rubens Barrichello, now with Williams; and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who won for the second time last year.

Racing in front of Ferrari’s home fans, Alonso will be under immense pressure to repeat his win - especially with his victory at the British GP in July bring Ferrari’s only win this year.

Alonso sits third in the standings, a massive 102 points behind Vettel, with teammate Felipe Massa sixth, 185 points back.

“Winning in Monza is incredible, (and) winning there driving a red car is even more incredible,” Alonso said. “Being on the podium, seeing thousands of fans below you wearing red shirts and waving red flags is simply an overwhelming emotion.”

With average speeds of 250 kph (155 mph) and top speeds of 340 kph (211 mph), Monza is the fastest circuit on the calendar, as well as one of the oldest - with the Italian GP one of only four races to have survived from the first year of F1 in 1950.

The layout of the Monza track - slow corners followed by long, high-speed straights - means the KERS power boost system will be in use.

Cars can gain 0.4 seconds per lap at Monza with the help of KERS, according to the Mercedes team.

There are four places on the track - turns 2, 7, 10 and 11 - where cars accelerate from relatively low speed to near top speed, providing up to four boosts per lap, which are delivered to the wheels 20 milliseconds after drivers press the deployment button on their steering wheels.

The high speeds will also make it a key race for the new Pirelli tires being used this year, although the Italian manufacturer - with headquarters a half-hour drive from Monza - promises to be ready.

Monza was one of the testing venues for Pirelli before its inaugural season in the sport.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 4:56:35 AM |

Next Story