Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Predictions for the 2013 Italian Grand Prix

Formula 1 is in for a special weekend with a race scheduled for the Italian Grand Prix around Monza. Teams come with special aero packages to make their cars as slippery through the air as possible, relying mainly on mechanical grip and the grunt in their engines. Since the first race at Monza in 1922, it has always been all about low downforce and high speed.

The fastest circuit on the calendar with an average speed of 250 kmph, sees drivers hit 340 kmph down the start finish straight after a slingshot out of the famed Parabolica. The circuit boasts of very few corners, but the challenge of its high speed corners, Parabolica and Variante Ascari, requires the cars to muscle mechanical grip out of its tyres and suspension setup. 

Pirelli are bringing the hard and medium compounds to Monza, not to deal with tyre wear, but to be able to manage overheating and blistering caused due to the high speeds and heavy braking into the first chicane. The high kerbs at the chicanes also give the tyres quite a workout and tyre pressures are key.

With drivers spending 74% of the lap on full throttle, a strong engine is more important than at any other circuit.

Red Bull have almost always been at a disadvantage around Monza because of the amount of grip their cars produce and the marginally lower powered Renault engines, but smart gear ratios allow them quicker exit speeds from corners thereby allowing them to keep some of the cars behind them.

Mercedes have a strong chance this weekend again, with Lewis Hamilton in good form. Their car has been the quickest along with Red Bull in qualifying, but expect Ferrari to do well around Monza. The scarlet cars have a very strong low downforce package whose pace was masked during qualifying at Spa due to DRS being activated on the last lap which neither car could take advantage of because they just caught the chequered flag. 

The speed and superior tyre life on the Lotus means they are always in with a chance in the hands of the Iceman. McLaren are also always in the hunt at Monza, and especially this year where they have been suffering with grip, Monza gives them their best chance of a small amount of glory if they can manage their strategy to give them an edge.

Last year Sergio Perez started 13th and finished on the second step of the podium after starting on the hards and then picking off the cars ahead of him with mediums. Expect quite a few of the midfield runners to try and 'pull a Sergio'.

Our predictions for 2013 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix Qualifying* - 
1. Alo 2. Ham 3. Mas

Our predictions for the 2013 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix Race* -
1. Alo 2. Ham 3. Ros 4. Mas 5. Vet 6. Rai 7. Web 8. Ric 9. Ver 10. But

Our prediction for the driver with the fastest lap of the race -
Ver

Our prediction for the driver with most positions gained at the end of the race -
Ver

* - Predictions are based on current form and will be revised based on practice results, before we go into qualifying.

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