The Williams F1 Team’s return to form in 2014 continued in Belgium two weeks ago, with Valtteri Bottas finishing third. Team-mate Felipe Massa was hindered during the race due to debris from Lewis Hamilton’s shredded tyre, but once that was cleared he showed his true pace. Both Bottas and Massa head into the Italian Grand Prix this weekend confident about their chances of a good result.
Bottas secured his fourth podium finish of the season last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, and feels the Monza track could suit their car and provide him with an opportunity for a fifth visit to the podium on Sunday.
“Monza could be a great track for our car and I know we will be busy with our partners, many of whom are coming to Italy,” said Bottas. “The track is really good fun to drive and it is important to have good straight-line speeds as it has some very quick straights.
“We have a track specific aero package that we will take, combine that with the strong power-unit and we could have a very competitive weekend.”
Team-mate Massa raced in the Ferrari red for eight seasons, and admits to enjoying the Monza circuit. He’s never won in Italy, with his best finish coming in 2010 when he finished third. Like Bottas, he is hoping to have a competitive weekend.
“Monza is a place I enjoy,” said Massa. “I love the people and the fans and I hope now despite the fact that I have moved teams that they still support and cheer for me.
“Monza is a special circuit as it’s so quick, but the corners are quite slow. Aerodynamics are vital at a track like this and that could benefit us over the weekend. I hope to be competitive here as I think the Italian fans would like to see us do well.”
Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley believes the circuit should suit the Williams car, with low downforce circuits bringing the best out of the team so far in 2014 due to their efficient aerodynamic package.
“The track should suit our car, as it requires a very low downforce package,” said Smedley. “We expect all the teams to adapt their cars for the nature of the circuit and have specialised Monza aerodynamics. We have worked a lot on the long straights and high drag sensitivity, and so are confident that the aero package will be effective. The track offers a good mix of low and medium speed corners.
“At this time of year we can expect high temperatures which can cause issues with tyre temperatures on the long straights. Monza is one of the last of the old circuits, in a great setting with some of the most passionate fans in the world.”