Formula One heads to another of the most historic venues on the calendar. Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix, is a fast flowing, high speed circuit and the perfect set up is needed to get the most out of the car and the tifosi.
It’s a home grand prix for Ferrari and a boost from the fans may be essential to push Fernando Alonso to the front of the grid. Finishing ahead of his Championship rivals is imperative if he is to close the gap and the Italian team have won the race more times than any other.
With Daniel Ricciardo being announced as the new Red Bull driver, his results may slip now he is no longer trying to impress. Toro Rosso won here in the wet in 2008 but have only picked up a handful of points this season; the demands of Monza may mean a few more are unlikely.
Mercedes have claimed the last four pole positions and a similar result is possible this weekend. Lewis Hamilton won here last time out with his former team and is looking to add a second win to his tally this season. Nico Rosberg is slipping back in the standings and is in need of a strong result to maintain his Number One status in the team.
Transfer rumours still circulate regarding Kimi Raikkonen, and Lotus need to provide a car capable of sitting at the front of the grid in order to keep the former champion. Both Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean are capable of moving through the pack and a podium for both is possible although neither have won in Italy.
Sebastian Vettel has his team mate confirmed for next year and can now fully focus on regaining his championship title. The German has a comfortable lead but will want to extend that. Mark Webber has never finished on the podium in Monza and will want to add a top three result to his CV before retiring.
Neither McLaren nor Williams produced the improvements necessary to appease disappointed fans in Belgium and must have a faster weekend, especially as McLaren celebrate their 50th anniversary, to provide a platform to build on for next year’s cars.
Force India must change their fortunes in qualifying and the race if they are to regain a points advantage over McLaren- the VJM06 is well suited to the high speed demands of Monza. Sauber haven’t scored a point since the German Grand Prix and are struggling to find the pace needed to pick up more.
Marussia and Caterham are proving more and more competitive as the season progresses, creeping into Q2 and keeping the established teams behind them in the race but points are a few races off.
The weather is expected to be sunny for the practice sessions although a thunderstorm is on the cards for race day. Only four of the last ten races have had a safety car but rain may bring out a fifth.
Best of luck for all your SuperBru picks.
By Declan Shepherd