|By Jonathan Noble|
Bruno Senna thinks Williams can look forward to one of its more competitive outings in Singapore this weekend.
The high-downforce nature of the Marina Bay circuit should play well to the strengths of the FW34.
And, after Senna scored a single point for the team at the Italian Grand Prix a fortnight ago, he is positive that an even bigger haul should be possible this time out.
“Singapore should suit our car because it’s a high downforce and load circuit and that’s where the car feels at home the most,” he said.
“Of course it’s hard to judge where we will be as others teams are improving all the time, but if we can score points in Monza then we should be looking to get further into the top ten in Singapore.
“I had a good performance there last year as well so that always gives you a boost before a race.”
At Singapore in 2011, Senna outpaced team-mate Vitaly Petrov on what had been a difficult weekend for the then Renault outfit.
Source: Autosport F1
Pirelli believe the performance and low rate of wear on their tyres experienced during practice in Monza, could see some drivers opting for one-stop strategies.
Last year Sebastian Vettel opted for a two-stop race to take the checkered flag first, but Pirelli opted to bring the soft and medium compounds, unlike this year when the medium and hard will be in action – although due to a softening of the compounds, they’re similar in durability.
“Despite the typically warm conditions in Monza our tyres performed very well, with the hard compound in particular delivering almost as much performance as the medium, with greater durability,” said Paul Hembery. “We might see different approaches tomorrow, and some drivers could even try a one-stop strategy for the race: the winning tactic in Belgium a week ago, which used the same compounds. Although there are many places in Monza that put a lot of energy through the tyres, the overall wear rate has been very good today, which allowed a number of the drivers to set their fastest times later on in their runs.”
Hembery expects flat-out racing in Monza on Sunday, rather than an exercise of tyre preservation as has been seen at numerous races this year. “We saw some very long runs on both compounds so we should see flat-out racing from start to finish on Sunday – which is what our home race at Monza is most famous for.
“For the first time in a while we look set for a completely dry weekend, which should allow the teams to start the race with plenty of relevant data.”
Source: The F1 Times
Despite Jaime Alguersuari and Rubens Barrichello declaring their availability for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Lotus F1 has confirmed reserve driver Jerome d’Ambrosio as stand-in for the suspended Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean received a one-race ban after being adjudged to have caused the opening corner pile-up at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, leaving Lotus with the problem of finding a temporary team-mate for Kimi Raikkonen at Monza. Although Pirelli test driver Alguersuari – who apparently turned down an invitation from Enstone in order to remain with Toro Rosso in 2012 – and IndyCar convert Barrichello both went public with their interest in the drive, d’Ambrosio – the initial favourite to fill the seat – was finally confirmed by the team on Tuesday afternoon. Such was the strength of the Belgian’s candidature, he actually had a seat fitting in the race chassis on the Sunday night following the Belgian Grand Prix, and is now working closely with the team to ensure a seamless transition from third driver to race driver for Monza.
“When we signed Jerome as our third driver, we signed a man who is highly motivated, fresh, talented and who contested the full 2011 season,” team principal Eric Boullier commented, “We hope that this will pay dividends when he drives the car this weekend in Monza. “We know that Jerome is well integrated into the team and that he did a good job when he drove the E20 at the Mugello test. Now he has the challenge of a grand prix at the challenging circuit of Monza, in a car which is capable of finishing on the podium. “It’s a tough task for Jerome, but we will be supporting him in every way to achieve a good result. One thing is for sure, he’s half Italian and I think I know which driver the spectators will support – apart from Fernando [Alonso]!” Ironically, d’Ambrosio, a former GP2 Series race winner who contested the 2011 F1 season with the Marussia Virgin Racing team, had been due to run the E20 in Friday practice at his home grand prix, only to see the opportunity taken away as the team hoped to further evaluate its ‘double DRS’ system ahead of a proposed race debut.
“My desire for 2012 has always been to get back into the seat of an F1 car, so I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands,” he smiled, “Monza is a fantastic circuit and I can’t wait to take to the track on Friday. “Monza is a superb circuit, but it is also quite a technical one, so I am not underestimating the task ahead of me. As third driver, I have worked with the team at every grand prix, attending all the briefings and meetings that the race drivers do, so I am well prepared in this respect. I want to reward the faith that the team has in me with a good haul of points from the race. I will hand the wheel back to Romain after Sunday’s race and I hope that this one showing in Italy will allow me to show my capabilities fully.”
Button is now sixth in the title race with 101 points, trailing leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by 63. Defending champion German Sebastian Vettel, who finished second on Sunday, is second with 140 ahead of Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber, on 132, Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus on 131 and Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren on 117.
Asked if he will learn from his experiences, Bouillier said: “I can only say yes, I hope so. Obviously the penalty is done to make people understand what they did.
“So the penalty can help him learn to do better in the future and I am happy about that.”
His over-aggressive change of direction at the start of the race saw Grosjean swerve right and into the McLaren of Briton Lewis Hamilton, forcing his car into a multiple collision involving championship leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and the Saubers of Mexican Sergio Perez and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi.
Kobayashi, after repairs, was the only driver who could continue in the race while Alonso, dazed and suffering back pains, climbed out after evading serious head injuries by a narrow margin when Grosjean’s Lotus car was launched over his Ferrari.
The race stewards declared Grosjean’s involvement to represent a ‘serious’ breach of the regulations. It was the seventh time in 12 races this season that the Frenchman has been involved in an opening lap collision.
He has previously been in incidents in Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Monaco, Britain and Germany.
Boullier said: “He was not responsible for seven incidents. But, he was involved in seven incidents, which is different.
“But obviously being in the wrong place is not good; and that means we have to keep working and talking, which is more talking I think, about the reason why he is in the wrong place.
Boullier added that he was undecided about whether Grosjean should go to Monza and attend the Italian Grand Prix, but said: “He is part of the team, he should be there and that is it.”
Grosjean said: “When you love racing this is very hard. I accept my mistake.
“We know that La Source is a very tough corner. It was a bit of a crazy start as well with Maldonado leaving the grid so early and the Sauber of Kobayashi smoking a lot.
“I did a mistake and I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I was sure I was in front of him. So a small mistake made a big incident.
“I didn’t change my line, I went from left to right. I was not really wanting to put anyone in the wall – I’m not here to stop the race in the first corner.
“I’m very, very sorry and I’m glad that nobody is hurt. But I have to say it is a very, very hard decision to hear.”
He added that he had been involved in too many incidents.
He said: “I did too many. If there is more than one then that is too many, I agree.
“But as I say it is not always the same. It’s not over-aggressive by braking 200 metres too late, it’s just most of the time misjudgement of the space I have in front or the space I have on the side.”