Kimi Räikkönen arrives at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza this weekend with good memories of racing there for Scuderia Ferrari, but the Finn is still looking to score his first points of 2020 with his current team, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.
Räikkönen finished twelfth in last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix and was the leading Ferrari-powered finisher ahead of both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc in the works Ferrari team, but his hunt for his first points of the year goes on.
The Finn says their hopes of scoring a top ten finish will depend on their Qualifying effort on Saturday, with Q2 the definite target for Alfa Romeo in Italy.
“Racing in Monza always brings up some good memories from my years in Ferrari, but once you sit in the car you only focus on the weekend’s job,” said Räikkönen. “We had a decent race last time out but we need to do a bit more if we want to finish in the points.
“The target doesn’t really change: we need to make it to Q2 to get the best grid position possible and then try to make the most out of the race. We have seen in recent events that small swings in performance can mean a big change in positions, especially in the midfield, so we need to keep doing our job as best as we can.”
“Hopefully we can fight in the midfield this weekend” – Antonio Giovinazzi
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi has scored points in 2020 – a ninth place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix – but the Italian crashed out of the Belgian Grand Prix after a mistake on the exit of the Fagnes chicane left him in the barriers.
Giovinazzi says racing in his homeland is ‘special’ to him, and Monza offers the first of three opportunities to do so this season with races still to come at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello and Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
The Italian enjoyed one of his stronger races at Monza twelve months ago and he is hoping for more of the same this weekend as he looks for a return to the top ten.
“My home race always means something special to me – especially this year,” said Giovinazzi. “Italy has suffered a lot in 2020 and I’m determined to do my best to give my people a smile.
“Without fans in the grandstands, it won’t be the same but I know there are so many supporters watching from home and I’ll race for them all. Last year I drove one of my best races here, finishing in the points, and it would be great to have a similar result.
“We saw last weekend that we seem to have made a step forward as a team, so hopefully we can fight in the midfield this weekend as well.”
“We have shown some positive signs in Belgium” – Frédéric Vasseur
Frédéric Vasseur, the Team Principal of Alfa Romeo, says racing in the team’s homeland gives them some extra motivation to do well, and he hopes the improvements in performance seen at Spa-Francorchamps continue this weekend.
Vasseur says there was a lot of positives to take from Belgium, but Monza offers a much different challenge, and its not clear whether Alfa Romeo will be as competitive this weekend as they were last.
“Racing in Italy while carrying the Alfa Romeo brand on our cars is always something special, and we are lucky enough to do it twice in two weeks,” said Vasseur. “It will give the team that extra bit of motivation to do well and build on the performance from Spa.
“We have shown some positive signs in Belgium and we intend to keep on pushing in this direction. We know some tracks will suit us better than others between now and the end of the season, but our objective remains the same – maximising the performance of our package in every round.”