With hardly any time to recover from the Belgian GP, Formula1 is back in action this weekend (September the 6th to the 8th) with the F1 Italian GP 2019, fourteenth scale on the calendar. For one more year, the legendary Monza circuit, Ferrari’s private feud, will host the historic Italian race.
The Tifosi are very eager to witness a victory from their beloved team. The last time that happened was all the way back in 2010 by the hand of Fernando Alonso. The Temple of Speed and its endless straights will become the greatest ally of the SF90.
Meanwhile, Mercedes arrives in Italy with its pride hurt by its defeat at Spa and it will do everything in its power to dampen Ferrari’s party –the 90th anniversary of La Scuderia-. And…what better way to do this than by winning for the sixth consecutive time at their enemy’s home. It won’t be an easy ride for the Germans though.
Ferrari: Most important race of the season
La Scuderia faces its home race in great spirits. Last week it broke its 15-race winless streak (since the USA 2018) at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The hero of the day in Belgium was Charles Leclerc, for whom this was the first Formula One victory of his career and who has become the youngest ever GP winner of the Maranello team. The talent of the young Monegasque is starting to eclipse that of his veteran teammate Sebastian Vettel, to whom he has defeated in all the past six qualifying sessions.
Deep in a performance crisis, the four-time world champion doesn’t seem to be able to find a way to revert his luck. He has not climbed to the top of the podium since August the 26th 2018; 21 Grand Prix ago. At their home race and cheered on by the warm support of the faithful tifosi, the red cars are – a priori – the main favourites to take the glory this weekend. Monza is the fastest track in the World Championship circuit and it rewards sheer power, top speed and a low aerodynamic load. Its configuration, with very long straights and only 11 bends across its 5,793 meters, will, in principle, favour the galloping of the Prancing Horse.
Mercedes: Concentrated on damage control
Mercedes, on the other hand, will have to focus on damage control before such an unfriendly setting for the W10 at the 2019 F1 Italian Grand Prix. The German car feels a lot more comfortable in twisted circuits where the downforce is key. In Italy, the Mercedes cars could fall victim to their weaknesses. Among those weaknesses an issue everyone is worried about at the moment: reliability.
The performance of the German engines is being put in question before the Italian Grand Prix. The Force India of Sergio Pérez broke down on Spa’s Friday’s free training session and the Williams of Robert Kubica did the same in Q1, raising all the alarms at Brackley.
The new mechanical update installed under the hood of the Silver Arrows could be causing problems at the 2019 F1 Italian Grand Prix. And what worse place to test that hypothesis than at the extremely demanding circuit of Monza, where maximum performance is required of the engine. Unsettlingly, they are yet to find the origin of those failures. Mercedes, however, leads both championships with a very comfortable margin. In the driver’s standings, Lewis Hamilton is 65 ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, second. In the constructor’s standings, Mercedes beats Ferrari by 145 points.
Red Bull and Toro Rosso release engine upgrade
Continuing in the subject of mechanics, Honda will release its Specification number 4 in the two cars which still remain to be updated at the 2019 F1 Italian Grand Prix. The Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat will upgrade to the spec of their respective partners – Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly -, who already incorporated the update in Belgium.
The echoes of the celebration for the great debut of its Anglo-Thai driver still resonate in the ears of the Red Bull crew … as do the gasps for their Dutch driver’s accident in Spa. Both their drivers are motivated to pursue a positive result for the opposite reasons. It will not be easy at the 2019 F1 Italian Grand Prix. The blue cars could suffer in a track that is not particularly favourable to them while they suffer from their ongoing power deficit issue.
McLaren: Leaders of the midfield
Down in the middle of the grid, things appear more contested than ever before the 2019 F1 Italian Grand Prix. McLaren, current leader of the midfield, has to make up for its Belgian fiasco. The poor reliability of Renault’s engines left both orange cars out of action at Spa. The subject is so sensitive that the relationship between the French manufacturer and the British team has become somehow thorny.
Image of ‘2019 F1 Italian Grand Prix Preview’: Monza