After a disappointing early retirement in the Belgian Grand Prix, Charles Pic
heads to next weekend's Italian round looking for better fortunes.
While not expecting Caterham to produce a turnaround in performance, the Frenchman will be hoping that the team can continue its steady progress in pursuit of the result that will take it back into tenth place in the constructors' standings. Despite having the better of main rival Marussia in recent races, neither Pic nor team-mate Giedo van der Garde have been able to match the 13th place claimed by Jules Bianchi
in Malaysia that keeps the Banbury-based team in front.
“It's our last race in Europe this year and it would be good to finish the European season on a positive,” the second year driver noted, “We'd put in strong performances in the three practice sessions in Spa but we were unlucky, both with the call to the weighbridge in Q1 and the oil leak in the race so Monza gives us a chance to move straight on and put that bad luck behind us.”
The historic Italian circuit presents a very different challenge to Spa - or anywhere else on the schedule for that matter - with its long straights requiring a low downforce set-up and fiddly chicanes waiting to catch out the unwary. It is the speed, of course, the undoubtedly provides the lure for the drivers.
“Monza's a great place to race F1 cars,” Pic enthused, “It's so quick, and the atmosphere is amazing - even though it's almost only Ferrari
supporters out there!
“I'm in the simulator at Leafield before we arrive in Monza, so we'll have a chance to try a few set-up options before we get to the track. We'll be running the low downforce package for this race and the main focus will be on finding a set-up that gives us maximum straightline speed and a car that we can really attack the kerbs with. That's important for laptime, particularly in T3 and T7, as you need to be able to minimise the time in the corners by pushing the car over the kerbs.
“We'll also be working a lot on braking stability – break wear and cooling are both pretty manageable at Monza, but it's important to have a car that's behaving consistently in the braking zones as that's where you can make up, and lose, time.”