After another frustrating outing in the Belgian Grand Prix, Williams is hoping that the wide-open stretches of Monza can provide a welcome points boost before F1 heads out of Europe for the final leg of the 2013 season.
The Grove team remains mired in ninth spot in the constructors' championship, and on course for its worst points haul since its formation in 1976, but is confident that its mercurial FW35 may stand a chance of breaching the top ten in Italy.
“Monza marks our last outing before the final 'flyaway' races of the season, so we will be aiming to leave Europe with some more points on the board,” chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar confirmed, “The Autodromo Nazionale is a circuit of extremes and it differs significantly from most F1 circuits. It features the highest top and average speed of all circuits, with the second lowest turn angle of the year and, as always, is a compromise in terms of set-up. Low drag is favoured due to the long straights, although the lack of downforce makes the chicanes tricky!”
Having secured the team's only point to date, with a fortuitous tenth place in Hungary before the summer break, Pastor Maldonado is keen to add to his tally, and admits to an affinity with the historic Autodromo.
“I have a personal affiliation with the area, as I lived very close to the circuit for three years at the start of my career, when I was competing in Formula Renault and Italian F3000, so I enjoy coming back,” he explained, “I also really enjoy driving at circuits that are rich in history and Monza is one of the most historic we visit.
“It's also the fastest track of the season - we will be reaching speeds of up to 340kph [and] most of the corners are high speed, which makes it more of an adrenaline boost as the downforce will be very low on the car, which makes it more challenging to drive. We had a disappointing result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but our car has good straight-line speed so should be suited to this track and, hopefully, we can continue the progress we made in Hungary and score more points.”
For rookie team-mate Bottas, this weekend will be a first chance to sample Monza in a competitive environment, but the Finn, who undertook Friday morning practice there last year, also has good memories of the Italian circuit.
“I have fond memories of Monza as this is where I won the GP3 title in 2011,” he noted, “Hopefully, I can draw upon that experience and have a good weekend.”