Monza preview quotes, complete with fake Karun wistfulness

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Is this the best little stretch of Formula 1 of the season? First we get Spa and then Monza? That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about F1.

And the teams and drivers are starting to talk, too. Let’s take a look:

James Allison, Renault technical director
“Monza is very different from all the other circuits and so we have had to prepare a bespoke package that we will not use anywhere else. Monza has such long straights and so few corners that it requires much smaller wings than any other track. To add further complication, the F-duct is a potential alternative option for Monza. Like several other teams, we too are evaluating whether we can make the device work in the particular, low-downforce environment of Monza

“Monza is very different from the mainstream bunch of tracks that make up the calendar, but generally speaking the cars that are good at one track tend to be good everywhere, regardless of the downforce levels. The performance of the R30 in Spa therefore gives me confidence that we can compete for similarly good results at all the remaining tracks, including Monza. We will be aiming to get both cars well inside the top ten both in qualifying and the race this weekend.”

Translation: Oh my, oh my, oh my! Did you see our last performance? Someone pinch me. Wait, wait… not you, Flavio! Aieeee!

Sakon Yamamoto, HRT
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“I was driving a Formula 1 car two times in Monza: in 2006 with Super Aguri F1 and in 2007 with Spyker F1. The circuit is very traditional and I am always looking forward to race there. The car has the lowest downforce setting of the whole season and the maximum speed is around 340 km/h. With this set-up, braking into the first corner is hard and difficult. We need to be prepared for good straight line speed and I am really looking forward to be in the car again.”

Translation: I am thinking I am going to crash. Can someone get this 1,000 Euro to a bookie for me?

Dr Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
“After the exciting race in Belgium, we are looking forward to coming to another historical Grand Prix in Monza. The ‘Autodromo di Monza’ is an ultimate power circuit with a top speed rate of 70 per cent. We have to find a very low downforce set-up for the car to achieve maximum speed. With top speeds of up to 340 km/h, the cars are difficult to control and the drivers have to be attentive and concentrated. We want to show a good performance and to finish the race with both of our cars again.”

Translation: We’re still pretty embarrassed about those races where we lost one car. But why do you think we sacked Karun?

Karun Chandhok, ex-HRT
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“Did you see my lap at Korea in the Red Bull? I told you I could drive. Stupid HRT piece of #%#$ wouldn’t let Michael Schumacher show his stuff. Actually, come to think of it, the Mercedes hasn’t let Michael show his stuff. What? Hey! Don’t scare me by saying he’s right behind me. That’s not nice. I was just kidding.

But seriously. I’m really glad to be out of the HRT. I bet I can bump Jaime out of a Toro Rosso or Vijay will have to grab me if he loses the Pianist.”

Translation: Ummm… I made that up. Right? You got that?

Jenson Button, McLaren
2009 Qualifying – 6th, 2009 Race – 2nd
“Obviously, my non-finish in Spa wasn’t ideal for my championship aspirations, so I head to Monza next weekend determined to put myself back in the hunt for the title. Our pace over the whole weekend in Belgium was extremely encouraging – we’re developing the car at a very rapid rate, and we’re learning more about it all the time, so I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to maintain that form in Italy next weekend. We still have some work to do to make sure the package we bring to Italy is perfectly suited to the track, but I’m confident that our engineers have made some good steps forward with their understanding of our car, so we should be in good shape. I love racing at Monza – it’s a totally unique experience; running minimal downforce at incredible speeds along the straights, and then coping with the lack of grip, and an extremely skittish car, through the low-speed stuff. Given the competitiveness at the front of the field, this could be an intense, thrilling Grand Prix.”

Translation: I want 2009 back!

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2009 Qualifying – 1st, 2009 Race – 12th
“Our victory in Belgium showed that, as a team, we never give up, and that we’ll always bounce back from adversity feeling stronger and more determined than before. This team has such an incredible fighting spirit – we strive to win, and I hope that Spa is only the start of a run of stronger form for us as we head into the final races of the championship. I’ve made no secret of my wish to win this race. Monza is an incredible circuit – full of history and stories from the past. It has a special feeling in the air that you don’t find anywhere else in the world. It’s a circuit that inspires you to race at your limit, and I’ll be pushing hard all weekend. Finally, I’m looking forward to meeting the Italian fans this weekend. I pretty much grew up racing karts in Italy, so I’ve always appreciated and understood the passion and support of the fans for Formula One, and motorsport in general. Even if it’s not always obvious, I know that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes does have a deep pocket of support in Italy. So I hope the whole team can have another great race at one of the classic tracks in Formula One.”

Translation: What, what? No don’t look there. Stop! All right, fine. Yes, that is Matt Bishop pulling my strings.*

Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber
2009 Qualifying – n/a, 2009 Race – n/a
“The last time I raced in Monza was in 2006. This track is a classic, it has a lot of personality and is different to any other we race on. This is what I like a lot about Monza, because with all the modern circuits nowadays it is exceptional to find one that is unique. You also have to drive it differently to any other race track. Obviously the speeds are very high, you run low downforce, have very hard braking and need to cut the chicanes. This all together makes it very demanding, especially for the engines, brakes and suspension. It is definitely not going to be an easy weekend for us, as it is not somewhere that should suit our car too well. But we have proven, for example in Budapest, that we can also do well at places which theoretically should be difficult for us. I always like going to Italy and I’m looking forward to the race.”

Translation: I am old. Seriously. I mean, like Rubens + Michael old. Also, by the way: Monza is tough on a car. Who’d have thought?

Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“Monza is definitely a ‘one of a kind’ circuit on the calendar. The unique high-speed nature of this classic track differentiates Monza from any other circuit and of course it is very special as the home race for our highly valued competitors Ferrari who have competed in the world championship for longer than any other team. As always, we will run with a special aerodynamic configuration in Monza to suit the requirements of this high-speed circuit and hope to achieve a respectable result next weekend in Italy.”

Translation: Man, I miss hanging out with those winners at McLaren. That Ross guy? Total whiner.

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer
“Looking back to last weekend, Spa was in many ways one of our best performance of the year so far. We have had better positions at the end of a number of races, but in terms of reliability, Spa was our strongest performance to date. Now we go to Monza and that’s always a special place to race – the Tifosi create an incredible atmosphere, and while it’s obviously focused on Ferrari, I think seeing Jarno and Heikki in our green and yellow cars will be pretty special for some of the most passionate motorsport fans in the world.

“Monza will also be very special for me, Tony, Din, Nasa, Riad and the whole team on a personal level. Race day is the 12th September, which is exactly one year to the day since we heard that our entry into the 2010 Formula One World Championship had been accepted. It’s hard to put into words just what that means to all of us, but it’s already been an incredible 365 days, and we have many more exciting times to come. I’ve been asked a number of times if I really thought we’d be able to do what looked to many like an impossible task – creating a team from literally just words on a piece of paper to now sitting 10th in the championship, best of the new teams and with a very bright future ahead of us.

“Onto the track itself: Monza is unique as it’s now the lowest downforce circuit on the modern Formula One calendar. For the race weekend, we’ll have a revised low downforce package with new front and rear wings, plus a few other smaller modifications to the cars.”

Translation: I figure I got two, maybe three races left before I get fired from this job. But it’s been a good run, dontcha think?

* I may be putting myself in for some “you’re Lewis bashing,” which is fair. But did you read his quote? I mean… “incredibly fighting spirit”? Gag me with a Schumacher belt buckle.

** Also, for those interested, the photo is from the practice runs (I think, maybe quali?) at last year’s race, taken by yours truly. It’s Kubica crashed before the first chicane.

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