Pierre Gasly says he expects the Italian Grand Prix weekend to be a complicated one for the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team, although the same was expected last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps and he came away with two points for a ninth-place finish.
Gasly and team-mate Brendon Hartley qualified just outside the top ten in Belgium, but whereas his team-mate was delayed at the start and lost ground, Gasly got through the chaotic first turn and gained positions, which gave Toro Rosso a much-needed points boost.
“I got to Italy at the start of the week, visiting the Toro Rosso factory and I can’t wait to arrive in Monza, even if it is likely to be a complicated weekend for us,” said Gasly.
“Spa was also meant to be a difficult weekend, but by fighting hard we managed to make the most of every opportunity to finish in the points again.”
Gasly, who has already been announced to race for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in 2019 in place of Daniel Ricciardo, has good memories of racing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza having raced there in junior formulae, but he knows this weekend will be a totally different experience in the STR13, with the low downforce set-up and the high-speed nature of the track.
“I have good memories of the Monza track as I was on pole for my last two races there, even if it’s going to be a whole new challenge this year in a Formula 1 car,” said Gasly.
“It will be something new to experience the top speeds in an F1 car at what is the fastest track of the year: the engineers tell me that with DRS and slipstreaming we should be doing over 360 km/h.
“It’s going to be an incredible feeling rushing down the straights and then coming to the very heavy braking areas. You really have a sensation of speed and that’s one of the things that make this circuit special.
“We will have a low downforce aero package compared to normal and that means we will be sliding a bit more, which is fine, as the key at Monza is to be fast down the straights. You spend almost 80% of the lap flat out so it’s important not to lose speed through the chicanes, which means doing a good job of riding the kerbs and then having good traction out of the corners.”
Monza marks the final race of 2018 in Europe, and with the Toro Rosso factory based in Faenza, it is the home race for the outfit, and Gasly hopes to give them something to cheer come Sunday evening.
“I’m looking forward to our last race of the year in Europe and hope we can go well at what is the home race for our team, with so many of them coming from the factory to the circuit to support us over the weekend,” said the Frenchman.