Monza. The temple of speed, the home of the Tifosi and the Italian’s only one true love; Ferrari. Lined in the grandstands are a sea of fans dressed in Maranello red with emblems of the prancing horse. Since 1929 the Italian Grand Prix has been held at Monza and while the oval banking is no longer used, this is the fastest race of the year and doesn’t normally disappoint.
Five Things to Expect At the 2015 Italian Grand Prix
1. Engine Disparity
Monza is an all-out power circuit. With one long straight leading after another, having a strong power unit will pay dividends in lap time. Here is where we will see so far this season how strong all four engine suppliers really are in a battle for horsepower. Honda and Renault will suffer with here with engine wear and fuel consumption is high due to a high percentage of the lap being on full throttle, but we will find out how strong Ferrari are compared to Mercedes in terms of pure power.
2. Record Top Speeds.
Running skinny wings and the power unit at full power, getting a higher top speed is critical to lap time. Last season saw Daniel Ricciardo reach 360kph (223.29mph). This year with much more horsepower gained from the power units, we could see this being broken again this year. Now who said the new V6 turbo hybrids were slow?
3. Further Tyre Debates.
In the wake of two high profile blow-outs through the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, further debate over the Pirelli tyres will surely continue. Sebastian Vettel was very vocal in the post race discussions which led to him not even to making the mandatory weight check after the race. Despite Monza not being a circuit that has high tyre wear, all eyes will be on the Italian manufacturer’s rubber. The last thing we need is more controversy over tyres while the decision for Formula One’s future tyre supplier is up in the air.
4. Driver Market Talks
Normally the Italian Grand Prix weekend often carries a lot of driver announcements, so in the wake of Kimi Raikkonen being confirmed by Ferrari for 2016, it has put the driver market in a bit of a stalemate. Mercedes, Ferrari and Sauber are the only teams that have fully confirmed line-ups for next year, as well as Nico Hulkenberg recently being confirmed to stay at Force India. Renault look to have finalised a deal to take over Lotus, but when this deal becomes effective is still unknown. This could mean a seat is open at Lotus. Furthermore, there is still the new Haas F1 team to consider with two fresh seats available. Nothing is settled, but I’m not expecting too much to change.
5. Next step In The Title Race
This time last season saw tensions at Mercedes at an all-time high. A year on sees matters near peaceful. Despite tensions rising just after the Chinese Grand Prix, there have been no swipes at each other via the media. On the track it looks as though Lewis Hamilton is in imperious form, some could say the form of his life. But Nico Rosberg is still only 28 points behind. Any mechanical failures on Lewis’ side of the garage will give Nico a chance to close that gap very quickly. But does Nico need to be reminded that last season Lewis won seven of the last eight races? 200 points are still available for the drivers, so it is certainly far from over.