Ferrari hopes their new yellow and red livery for this weekend’s Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix will give them a sting in the tail to thwart the rampant Red Bulls.
The Italians have their work cut out for them as Monza is the fastest track on the calendar, and it requires a set-up with the lowest downforce to maximise top speed down the fast straights. High straight line speed has been Red Bull’s forte this season, and they’ll be looking to spoil Ferrari’s party at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
The 5.7km-long track was built 100 years ago and has been a mainstay on the F1 calendar since the inaugural 1950 championship. The average speed is 264km/h, and the drivers will push the cars at full throttle for 80% of the lap. The most daunting braking zone is into Turn 1, as the cars can reach up to 350km/h before slamming on the anchors and reducing speed to 70km/h. Monza isn’t only about the three main straights but also how much speed cars can generate through the high-speed corners of Lesmos, Ascari chicane and Parabolica.
With Monza being Ferrari’s home Grand Prix and the added pressure of performing in front of the fanatical Tifosi support, the team’s fans will be in full force from practice on Friday.
Max Verstappen’s form has been scintillating form, and at Spa a fortnight ago, we saw how fast the Red Bull is in a straight line as he won the race from 14th position. The Mercedes wasn’t able to keep Max back at Zandvoort last weekend, and we foresee another dominant performance from the Dutchman. A track where he has never tasted victory. Based on this season, it looks like the strongest chance he has in a long time.
For the other podium places, Charles Leclerc is trying to secure the second spot in the drivers’ championship, but he’ll face stiff competition from teammate Carlos Sainz who collected third place in Zandvoort. Sainz might take a new engine this weekend, and that’ll relegate him 10 places down the grid for Sunday.
The Mercedes dominance at Zandvoort was good for the sport, and they’ll be hoping to replicate that form this weekend. The engineers would’ve been hard at work tweaking the W13 to generate higher top-end speed. Look out for Alpine and Williams, as their cars are traditionally set up to be slipperier than others.