2008 Italian Formula 1 GP – Wolf’s Race Preview

Michael Schumacher, Robert Kubica, Monza 2006

Michael Schumacher, Robert Kubica, Monza 2006

Monza is the very last of the very high speed circuits in Formula 1. It is not the banked oval track anymore (the last GP that raced on that one was in 1961) but it is still the fastest one on the Formula 1 calendar. About 70% of the track is on full throttle and the top speeds can reach close to 340 km/h. In the past the engine failures were quite common in Monza. These days it is different, the engines seldom blow up (unless they are called Ferrari this season :-) ). What can make the difference is having to run in Monza with the same engine that finished the other engine tough race in Spa … Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica, Nelson Piquet, Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Bourdais and Giancarlo Fisichella should all have fresh engines for the Monza race. I suspect that following his crash in Spa, Kimi Raikkonen may also opt to go fresh. This is where Ferraris may have some advantage over their McLaren rivals.

Aerodynamicaly the cars run with a minimum amount of downforce to achieve the maximum amount of top speed. Therefore in Monza the cars run with the tiniest of wings.


Italian GP is the home race for Ferrari, the team that dominated the Monza track in the past decade. Ferrari drivers won 6 out of the last 10 races here, 3 of those wins were 1-2 finishes for the red cars. Last year however the Ferraris were humiliated on their home soil by their bitter rivals from McLaren who scored 1-2 finish, Alonso winning (his last race win to date) ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The tide then turned few days later on Thursday the 13th, 2007 but that is another story.

It does look like the title fight is now between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa but I do believe that Kimi Raikkonen will still get the chance to get back to the mix. It may be his last chance and may be over by Saturday qualifying though.

The race itself should be again between McLarens and Ferraris. From the teams behind the surprise may come from BMW Sauber (Heidfeld had very encouraging test here 2 weeks ago) and perhaps also from the Ferrari powered Toro Rosso. It is very likely however that we will have a first time Monza winner this year. The only previous Italian GP winners on the grid are Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso and it is hard to imagine either of these two splashing the MUMM from the top of the podium.

Here are top 10 Monza finishers in last 10 years:

2007
1) Fernando Alonso – McLaren – :18:37.806
2) Lewis Hamilton – McLaren +6.062

3) Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari +27.325
4) Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber +56.562
5) Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber +1:00.558
6) Nico Rosberg – Williams +1:05.810
7) Heikki Kovalainen – Renault +1:06.751
8)Jenson Button – Honda +1:02.168
9) Mark Webber – Red Bull +1:05.879
10) Rubens Barrichello – Honda +1:06.958

2006
1)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:14:51.975
2)Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +8.0 sec
3)Robert Kubica – Sauber-BMW +26.4 sec
4)Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +32.0 sec
5)Jenson Button – Honda +32.6 sec
6)Rubens Barrichello – Honda +42.4 sec
7)Jarno Trulli – Toyota +44.6 sec
8)Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-BMW +45.3 sec
9)Felipe Massa – Ferrari +45.9 sec
10)Mark Webber – Williams-Cosworth +72.6 sec

2005
1)Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:14:28.659
2)Fernando Alonso – Renault +2.4 sec
3)Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +17.9 sec
4)Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +22.7 sec
5)Jarno Trulli – Toyota +33.7 sec
6)Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +43.9 sec
7)Antonio Pizzonia – Williams-BMW +44.6 sec
8)Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +63.6 sec
9)Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +75.4 sec
10)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +96.0 sec

2004
1)Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari – 1:15:18.448
2)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +1.3 sec

3)Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +10.1 sec
4)Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +15.3 sec
5)Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +32.3 sec
6)David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +33.4 sec
7)Antonio Pizzonia – Williams-BMW +33.7 sec
8)Giancarlo Fisichella – Sauber-Petronas +35.4 sec
9)Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth +56.7 sec
10)Jarno Trulli – Renault +66.3 sec

2003
1)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:14:19.838
2)Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +5.2 sec
3)Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +11.8 sec
4)Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +12.8 sec
5)Marc Gene – Williams-BMW +27.8 sec
6)Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
7)Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
8)Fernando Alonso – Renault +1 Lap
9)Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
10)Giancarlo Fisichella – Jordan-Ford +1 Lap

2002
1)Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari – 1:16’19.982
2)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +0.255s

3)Eddie Irvine – Jaguar-Cosworth +52.579s
4)Jarno Trulli – Renault +58.219s
5)Jenson Button – Renault +1’07.770s
6)Olivier Panis – BAR-Honda +1’08.491s
7)David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +1’09.047s
8)Giancarlo Fisichella – Jordan-Honda +1’10.891s
9)Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +1’21.068s
10)Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-Petronas +1’22.046s

2001
1)Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW – 1:16’58.493
2)Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +5.175
3)Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +17.335
4)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +24.991
5)Pedro de la Rosa – Jaguar-Cosworth +1’14.984
6)Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +1’22.469
7)Kimi Räikkönen – Sauber-Petronas +1’23.107
8)Jean Alesi – Jordan-Honda +1 Lap
9)Olivier Panis – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
10)Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Renault +1 Lap

2000
1)Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:27’31.638
2)Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes +3.810
3)Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +52.432
4)Jos Verstappen – Arrows-Supertec +59.938
5)Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1’07.426
6)Ricardo Zonta – BAR-Honda +1’09.293
7)Mika Salo – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
8)Pedro Diniz – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
9)Marc Gene – Minardi-Fondmetal +1 Lap
10)Gaston Mazzacane – Minardi-Fondmetal +1 Lap

1999
1)Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Jordan-Mugen-Honda – 1:17’02.923
2)Ralf Schumacher – Williams-Supertec +3.272
3)Mika Salo – Ferrari +11.932
4)Rubens Barrichello – Stewart-Ford +17.630
5)David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +18.142
6)Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +27.402
7)Alessandro Zanardi – Williams-Supertec +28.047
8)Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Supertec +41.797
9)Jean Alesi – Sauber-Petronas +42.198
10)Damon Hill – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +56.259

1998
1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:17:10.3
2) Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +37.977

3) Ralf Schumacher – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +41.152
4) Mika Häkkinen – McLaren +55.671
5) Jean Alesi – Sauber-Petronas +1:01.872
6) Damon Hill – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +1:06.688
7) Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Williams-Mecachrome +1 Lap
8)Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +1 Lap
9) Toranosuke Takagi – Tyrrell-Ford +1 Lap
10) Rubens Barrichello – Stewart-Ford +1 Lap

Photo: Shell Motorsports

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