Thursday, September 11, 2008

Italian Grand Prix: Points of Interest

This weekend's upcoming Italian Grand Prix at the historic Monza circuit is going to be special. The title chase has tightened up dramatically given the controversial events that occurred last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, with Lewis Hamilton being given a 25 second penalty costing him the win. We are all eager to watch the ensuing battle between McLaren and Ferrari; however there will be other points of interests that I will be following as well.

1. Speed differential. Just like Spa, Monza is a true horsepower circuit. 75% of the lap at Monza is full throttle. I again will be curious to see the difference in speed trap numbers especially since teams will be running with very little downforce on the car.

2. Renault. They have picked up their pace and the performance of the package has gotten better throughout the year. Given that they had an encouraging test at Monza in preparation for the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix and had a good result at Spa, I would like to see if they can continue the performance uptick; this time with both cars. Although I think Toyota will still beat Renault, it will be positive to see Renault perform well.

3. Nick Heidfeld. He has been under pressure to perform recently after being outperformed all season by his teammate Robert Kubica. There are rumors that Alonso is set to go to BMW and replace Heidfeld. Heidfeld is fighting for his seat and maybe fighting to stay in Formula One. Given his performance at Spa, he did all that he could to make the case for himself, but I am not convinced and I do not think BMW is either. I will be watching to see how he performs in this race.

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