Italy Preview Quotes: Sauber

Jacques Villeneuve: "Monza is one of the places I know best in the calendar because I used to race there when I was in Formula Three. The Italian fans are very passionate about racing and it's a special place to compete

Italy Preview Quotes: Sauber

"The track itself is very different to most other circuits. There are long straights between the corners, so you are relatively less active and have time to relax. The last corner, Parabolica, is quite special. It's a difficult one to get right. You can always go faster there than you actually do. It's fast, goes on for a long time and is very important, because effectively it ends one lap and starts the next. If you get it wrong you can spoil two laps at once!

Technically, you need a set-up for the straights and the high-speed corners, but also one that allows the car to ride the kerbs in the tight chicanes. It's the only track that has very low downforce and so the car feels lighter then it does the rest of the year."

Felipe Massa: "I've always enjoyed Monza, because a lot of my success before Formula One came there in Formula Renault and Formula 3000 and I lived just down the road in Erba. I like the low downforce aspect, and the fact that overtaking is possible. It can be fun when you are braking from 360 kmh to get through the first chicane, especially with only low downforce! Also you need to go over the kerbs, especially in the first and second chicanes, and that puts a lot of strain on the car as does all the full-throttle running round the rest of the lap.

"This year will be very special for me now that everyone knows I will be a Ferrari driver next year, because there is always a great atmosphere at this historic circuit. But my focus will as ever be to score more points for Sauber before the team changes identity for 2006."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "The Italian Grand Prix is known for the highest average and top speeds of the season. In Monza a fast lap time requires very high straight-line speeds and therefore low drag and hence a low downforce configuration.

"This circuit is very hard on engines, so that will be interesting with this season's two-race rule. Monza has the highest full-throttle load on the engine per lap of all tracks. It follows that the brakes take a lot of punishment here, too, as all that speed has to be shed at the chicanes.

At the first of them, in the first corner, drivers have to brake from speeds as high as 360 kmh to 80 in just over three seconds so brake efficiency and handling stability are extremely important. To be fast in the chicanes, excellent kerb riding and traction are required. With such a low downforce configuration this is a real set-up challenge for the engineers.

"Tyre wear is less of a factor here, and while a two-stop strategy is feasible you could also get away with one.

"We had a reasonable test at Monza last week and the C24 was competitive in low-downforce configuration in Canada, so we are hopeful of a strong race."

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