Jenson Button says that deciding on a set-up for Monza will be more complicated than ever this year, with DRS now added to the mix.
Last year Button went for high downforce in qualifying while Lewis Hamilton went for a more traditional approach. Button nearly won the race, but didn’t quite have the straightline speed to defeat Fernando Alonso come the race.
Now teams have to take DRS into account when gearing the car and deciding how much overall downforce to run. The less downforce, the smaller the relative gain when the DRS wing is deployed.
“It’s going to be the usual difficult trade-off between drag and downforce to find the ultimate package for the race,” said Button. “Last year, Lewis and I opted to follow two different paths – Lewis went for the low downforce configuration and I went for more grip, at the expense of straightline speed. That meant that, although I had the lap time, I didn’t quite have the opportunity to mount an attack for the lead, because I couldn’t get close enough along the straights to have a go into the braking areas.
“But I think things will be a little more mixed-up this year. For the second time this season, we’ll have two distinct DRS zones, with two potential passing opportunities. The first zone’s going to be interesting because it’s always been very tough to challenge for position under braking for Ascari – the track’s pretty narrow and it’s a fast entry – so I’ll be really interested to see how well DRS will work into that corner – we might see some pretty spectacular moves!”
Button believes that passing is more likely at the first chicane: “I think the more conventional passing opportunity will come from the second DRS zone, getting as close as possible into Parabolica, holding on through the corner – which won’t be straightforward – and then deploying DRS down the start/finish straight before, hopefully, passing into Turn One.
“The DRS is going to be a pretty major asset for a following car, and it might shape the race in some really interesting ways.”