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What to look out for at Monza?

What to look out for at Monza?

One of the classics of the Formula One calendar, the 12th round of the Formula One season, will be at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. The long straights, fast corners make this, one of the quickest races in the calendar. The teams normally also make tech upgrades here and get engines that can suit the track layout.

Vettel's tyre blowout at Spa
Vettel’s tyre blowout at Spa

Arguably the biggest talking points about the race is related to the tyre compounds. Following Vettel’s tyre blowout at the Belgian Grand Prix, Ferrari and Vettel have been outspoken regarding their performance. However the FIA has been satisfied with the explanation given by Pirelli on the issue. As opposed to last year, Pirelli is bringing in their Prime tyre as the Medium compound tyre and the Option tyre will be the Soft compound tyre. It’s the same combination used at the Belgian Grand Prix. This is a change from the Hard and Medium compounds that were brought in as the Prime and Option last year.

Now the tyre manufacturer, who had recommended on increasing tyre pressure to address the safety issues, has backtracked due to constant pressure from the drivers. Pirelli attributed that the drivers might just not want to  attack the kerbs hard, along with debris as the reason for Vettel’s spectacular blowout at Monza.

Heading to Monza, some teams have made big improvements to their engine and power units. Mercedes is the first manufacturer to use up all its engine development tokens. All 7 were used up for Monza which should boost their already powerful unit. They have no more tokens for the season. Ferrari have also made some upgrades, using three engine tokens for Monza. As of now, both Honda and Ferrari have 4 tokens remaining while Renault has 12.

Red Bull and Toro Rosso, who are aware of the fact that their power unit will be outmatched, have used additional engine components, leading to a penalty here so that they will be better prepared for the more technical courses in Singapore and Japan, which might suit their cars. Both Red Bulls and Sainz have penalties. Along with them, The McLaren pair have also used additional parts in their engine and, given the power of the Honda units, they will be likely starting at the back row after adjusting their penalty.

There is good news from the Williams Camp as the team have announced both Massa and Bottas will be partnering up for the upcoming 2016 season. The two, who have enjoyed a successful two year partnership in Williams released a video together on the team’s Twitter page. This ended speculation about Bottas’ future, who was linked to Ferrari, but that seems doubtful now, with Kimi confirming his drive with Ferrari in 2016. The Williams will be hoping to use their car for a strong performance, knowing they can be flat out at Monza and they would be right in the thick of it, with Ferrari for the podium places.

Williams will retain the same driving lineup for 2016
Williams will retain the same driving lineup for 2016

Lewis Hamilton has given his views on the possibility that Red Bull Racing could be ending their relation with Renault and rumours indicate that the Austrian outfit and their Torro Rosso junior team could be linking up with Mercedes for their power units. Renault is rumoured to re-start their Factory works team by acquiring Lotus, who are struggling. A decision whether a Renault team will come into play will be known in September 2016

Speaking on the issue, Hamilton is not in favour of Mercedes tying up with Red Bull. When asked about this, he replied

Lewis Hamilton speaking on the Mercedes supplying Red Bull Issue, has also dyed his hair blonde
Lewis Hamilton speaking on the Mercedes supplying Red Bull Issue, has also dyed his hair blonde

“If we are serious about winning the world championship, probably not.

“Red Bull are a great team, but it’s like giving Ferrari our engines.”

“We don’t really need it. There is no financial benefit. We are good where we are.”

If we judge Lewis’s statements, everyone can agree that the only weak link in the Red Bull team are their engines, as they have an amazing machine for their drivers to race. So, while Lewis is dead-set, Mercedes is split on whether to supply them or not. As of now, Red Bull looks to have a Mercedes Power Unit for 2016, even though their contract with Renault for both the teams end in 2016.

Heading into the Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton leads the World Championship with 227 points and has a 28 point lead over teammate Nico Rosberg. Mercedes leads the constructor’s championship with 424 points, 184 ahead of second placed Ferrari.

Nico Rosberg really needs to buck up in order to take points, or else the title can be easily won by Lewis.  Given that Ferrari are not placed too far away, can they really make a double podium finish at their home race?

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