SEPTEMBER 5, 2011
DRS to spice up Monza?
The Italian Grand Prix this forthcoming weekend will once again see two separate DRS zones, as we saw earlier this year in Canada.
The difference in Italy, however, is that they will each have individual activation zones for the first time. DRS will be available on the main straight past the pits and on the run down to the Ascari chicane from the second Lesmo.
"It's going to be the usual difficult trade-off between drag and downforce to find the ultimate package for the race," said Jenson Button, who narrowly missed out on a Monza win to Fernando Alonso last year, after a race-long battle.
"Last year, Lewis (Hamilton) and I opted to follow two different paths - Lewis went for the low-downforce configuration and I went for more grip, at the expense of straightline speed. That meant that, although I had the laptime, I didn't quite have the opportunity to mount an attack for the lead, because I couldn't get close enough along the straights to have a go into the braking areas.
"I think things will be a little more mixed-up this year. The first DRS zone is going to be interesting because it's always been very tough to challenge for position under braking for Ascari - the track's pretty narrow and it's a fast entry - so I'll be really interested to see how well DRS will work into that corner. We might see some pretty spectacular moves!
"The more conventional passing opportunity will come from the second DRS zone -- getting as close as possible into Parabolica, holding on through the corner, which won't be straightforward, - deploying DRS down the start/finish straight before, hopefully, passing into Turn 1.
"The DRS is going to be a pretty major asset for a following car, and it might shape the race in some really interesting ways."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "Perhaps it's a bit premature to be discussing the return of the epic 'Monza slipstreamer', but I think the whole team is going to Italy keen to see if DRS will create the sort of exciting and unpredictable grands prix that we either watched or read about when we were younger.
"Selecting gear ratios to cope with the demands of DRS through both qualifying and the race will be tricky. At Spa, the DRS ban through Eau Rouge meant that maximum velocity at the top of the hill was pretty much the same through qualifying and the race. For Monza, there are no limitations, so it will be very different, and getting it right will require a lot of thought and experimentation."