Martin Whitmarsh predicts classic battle at Monza

Click to follow
The Independent Online

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has hailed Monza as "the perfect venue" that continues to challenge the very best Formula One has to offer.

Since its inception in 1922 the track, situated in a former royal park on the outskirts of Milan, has altered little in the 89 years it has staged motor racing.

There have been revamps and upgrades, most notably the high-speed oval disappearing, and with three chicanes inserted in an attempt to control the speed.

However, it remains the fastest on the F1 calendar with an average speed of 158mph, and with the 53 laps and 190 miles covered in 75 minutes.

Throw in the two DRS (drag reduction system) zones to assist with overtaking this year, as well as KERS (kinetic energy recovery system), and it is no wonder Whitmarsh is full of anticipation for the weekend ahead.

"Perhaps it's a bit premature to be discussing the return of the epic 'Monza slipstreamer'," said Whitmarsh.

"But I think the whole team is going to Italy keen to see if DRS will create the sort of exciting and unpredictable grands prix we either watched or read about when we were younger.

"At the very least, going to Monza is always a very evocative and historic occasion.

"Perhaps more than any other circuit you can feel the sport's past here, and it's become the perfect venue to bid farewell to the European season before we head to the final flyaways.

"I think it's very important Formula One keeps hold of these 'classics', which also includes circuits such as Spa, Silverstone and Monaco, while also investing in new venues for the future.

"Despite its age, Monza certainly never gets any easier, so it's rewarding to know that, even after 61 grands prix, the circuit is as much of a challenge as ever.

"That's a great testament to the enduring appeal of the place, and the restlessly competitive nature of Formula One."

After finishing twice at the venue over the past two years, Jenson Button would naturally love to go one further on this occasion.

As a driver in form at present, Button believes the two DRS zones are likely to result in what could be "some pretty spectacular moves".

"The first zone's going to be interesting because it's always been very tough to challenge for position under braking for Ascari," said Button.

"The track's pretty narrow and it's a fast entry, so I'll be really interested to see how well DRS will work into that corner.

"I think the more conventional passing opportunity will come from the second DRS zone.

"Getting as close as possible into Parabolica, holding on through the corner, which won't be straightforward, and then deploying DRS down the start-finish straight before, hopefully, passing into turn one.

"The DRS is going to be a pretty major asset for a following car, and it might shape the race in some really interesting ways."