Senior technical director Shuhei Nakamoto say he is expecting his Honda team to battle strongly during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend - although both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello could once again find the going tough in qualifying.

Following on from the pre-event test session held at the circuit last week, the pair go into the weekend eager to try and find some kind of form following a wretched season which has lurched from one disappointment to another.

However, the four day test has enabled the team to work hard on finding more from the RA107 although Nakamoto admits that qualifying pace will not be as strong as the team hopes.

"Testing at Monza last week in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix has enabled us to find a good balance for the car around this high-speed circuit after running through different wing, tyre and chassis set-up options. Monza'a many straights will be a challenge for us, however as in Turkey, we expect to be stronger in the race than in qualifying, enabling us to battle strongly with our mid-grid rivals."

At what is almost is adopted home venue, following his time with Ferrari, Barrichello will still be chasing a first point of the season at a circuit where he has won twice in the past.

Admitting that he finds the Italian circuit to be one of the most special on the calendar, he added that he was happy going into the weekend.

"Monza is quite simply one of the most special races on the Formula One calendar and it is a real honour to race around the legendary circuit," he said. "Some of my favourite racing memories took place at this track, particularly my victories here in 2004 and 2002. The atmosphere over the race weekend takes some beating and you can really feel the history of all the great races that have taken place over the years.

"In terms of the track itself, Monza is the quickest circuit on the calendar, featuring very long straights where top speeds are in the region of 340kph so the power of the engine is very important. The cars are run in the lowest downforce configuration of the year, with stability under braking and the ability to use the kerbs being crucial to getting a good lap. We tested at Monza last week in preparation for the race, focusing on the required set-up and evaluating the tyre options. We set some reasonable lap times and the car reacted well so I am fairly happy going into the race weekend."

 

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