Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes speeds at Monza could hit 360kph (223mph) during the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
The 2014 power units and aerodynamic regulations have seen increased straight-line speeds this season. With Monza the fastest race of the year and requiring special low downforce aerodynamic packages, Chester said speeds topping 220mph given the right conditions on one of the circuit's long straights.
“It will depend on the downforce and drag levels that the teams will run but I expect it will be higher than last year,” Chester said. “It might be possible to achieve 360kph on the straight, depending if the car is getting a tow with DRS.”
That figure is still less than Juan-Pablo Montoya managed at Monza while driving the V10-powered McLaren MP4/20 in 2005 as he registered just over 372kph. However, Chester says he is looking forward to seeing drivers trying to handle increased levels of torque this year.
“They will be a little bit trickier [to drive] than last year's car being a bit lighter in downforce and with more torque in the turbo engines so I think the exit of the chicanes can be quite tricky. We have seen in all the cars this year how the cars move under acceleration out of a corner and at Monza which is the circuit where we run the cars in their most slippery configuration, we will see some acrobatics from the drivers as they manage the cars on power at mid-corner and also on the exits.”