Checking in from the Autodromo Nazionale Monza after media day ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, F1 Digital Editor Luke Smith brings you his paddock notebook.

- Lewis Hamilton was excused from media duties on Thursday at Monza due to “an unavoidable personal commitment,” as per Mercedes. Hamilton only arrived at Monza on Thursday evening, meaning he missed both his open media session and the official autograph session.

- Haas confirmed that both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will be racing with the new floor for the VF-18 car at Monza. The team introduced the floor at Spa, but struggled to find performance, prompting Magnussen to race with the old floor. After analysing the data back at base, the team decided to fit both cars with the update for Monza.



- Daniel Ricciardo is set to have his power unit change for Monza confirmed on Friday, relegating the Red Bull driver to the back of the grid as he takes the upgraded Renault C-spec engine. The Australian said another penalty before the end of the season is “likely”.

- Teammate Max Verstappen will not run with the C-spec Renault engine at Monza, but said he will consider a switch depending how Ricciardo’s car improves. “Hopefully we can have a look at it tomorrow already and from there see what I’m going to do as well,” Verstappen said.

- Charles Leclerc said his overriding emotion after the Turn 1 crash at Spa was “frustration” at retiring, despite tyre marks from Fernando Alonso’s car being left on his Halo. Leclerc said he was “quite happy to have it over my head” and added: “I think it deserves to be in Formula 1 now. Whether it looks good or bad, I don’t think that matters any more.”

- Despite speculation he could be replaced by Lance Stroll at Force India for Monza, Esteban Ocon said there is “no news” on his future and “only rumours”. The Mercedes junior did however say he hoped his charge to P3 on the grid and sixth in the race at Spa would help resolve his plans for 2019.

- Stroll said he is taking his season “weekend by weekend” despite the Force India links, having also been reported to have visited the team’s factory earlier this week.

- Sergey Sirotkin said he felt Williams now finally has “the pace to be fighting” after a decent showing at Spa last weekend. Sirotkin is the only driver yet to score any points this season, while Williams sits at the foot of the constructors’ championship with just four points to its name, all courtesy of Stroll’s eighth-place finish in Baku.

- Brendon Hartley denied a suggestion he is considering an option in IndyCar for 2019 following a report in the Australian press. “I saw a headline, but I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know who printed that but I didn’t say it. At the moment, I’m just focused on being here in Formula 1.”

- Another man seemingly relaxed about his future was Stoffel Vandoorne, who said he found the reports on his suggested moves “entertaining”, and stressed he hoped things work out with McLaren this year. Vandoorne had been linked with a move to Sauber and a reunion with former ART boss Frederic Vasseur.

- Current Sauber racer Marcus Ericsson said his management was “constantly” talking to the team about plans for next year. The Swede is enjoying his strongest season since 2015, but is thought to be at risk with the likes of Vandoorne and Antonio Giovinazzi being linked with the seat.

- Fernando Alonso will take a new chassis for this weekend’s race following the crash damage at Turn 1 at Spa. However, he will be limited on spares as a result, with the Spaniard calling the shunt “quite expensive.”

- Alonso also rejected teammate Vandoorne’s suggestion the McLaren car had not improved through the season: “I think the car did improve. Definitely it did improve with the upgrades, but I think some of our competitors did bigger steps than we did, and we are a little less competitive in terms of pure performance compared to the people around us than what we were in Melbourne.”

- After Toto Wolff confirmed Mercedes may consider team orders to aid Lewis Hamilton’s title bid, Valtteri Bottas said he is still confident the team will support him fully should he be in a position to take his first race win of the year. “It will always depend on the situation, and I do trust the team that they have respect for both drivers and won’t do anything too harsh,” Bottas said.

- Bottas completed the first test with the updated 2019-spec F1 helmet in Belgium last week in practice, and relayed positive feedback: “There’s no difference at all in terms of comfort or any issue weight-wise or anything like that. So they managed to keep it more or less the same. The difference is that there is no panel - the separate panel is gone. The helmet is strengthened from the top part itself and it is stronger than before.”


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