The twelfth round of the 2013 F1 world championship could be tough for Sauber, with Monza not expected to suit the characteristics of its current C32.
With neither Nico Hulkenberg or Esteban Gutierrez able to add to the team's meagre points tally at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, Sauber remains eighth in the constructors' standings, a long way behind Toro Rosso and still within reach of Williams and the two yet-to-score backmarkers.
Although Monza is renowned for its high speeds – it remains F1 fastest venue – the straights are interspersed with tight chicanes and Gutierrez is well aware that these could play a part in determining the success of Sauber's weekend.
“Monza is a great track, very different to Spa, and it's important to consider that,” the Mexican pointed out, “Coming from a track like Spa, we need to adapt to Monza in terms of driving style, strategy and set-up.
“It will be a crucial weekend, because stability in slow corners is important and, unfortunately, this is where we've been struggling. We have to focus on that and try to improve. Our pace is good, but now we need to complement that with the right decisions.”
Both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez, who wrapped up Formula BMW and GP3 titles there, have good memories of Monza, and the German is looking forward to the unique atmosphere produced by the tifosi
“Monza is a track with a lot of history and I still remember sealing my GP2 title there in 2009,” Hulkenberg – a potential Ferrari target for 2014 – admitted, “It's a very nice race, with a good atmosphere in the Parco di Monza, where a lot of passionate Italian fans cheer on the Scuderia Ferrari.
“Monza requires a low downforce configuration, which can make the car quite tricky to drive when braking from 340 kp/h down to speeds of about 60 kp/h in the chicanes.
There are some technical bits and you really have to master the kerbs. I enjoy driving there, as it's a simple layout - but it's not as easy as it looks.”
Head of track engineering Tom McCullough has revealed the team has 'some further developments to be tested' and insists that it is confident of being able to fight for points.