Sam Michael expects McLaren to show good form at Monza, where teams will run even lower downforce levels than seen at the last race in Belgium, where Jenson Button finished sixth.
“It’s not really the same as Spa,” Michael told this writer. “At Spa you have a trade-off between sector two, which is maximum downforce, and one and three which are minimum downforce. Monza is obviously all low downforce so it is a different aerodynamic track. But we should be good there as well, I think.”
In recent years teams have not always run with ultra low drag in Italy.
“People have run a bit more downforce at Monza since DRS started. The only reason why you ran really low was to give yourself overtaking capacity. Once you have DRS you can overtake anyway, so you don’t have that requirement anymore.”
Meanwhile Michael says he was happy with progress at Spa, where Button had to abandon his plan to stop only once.
“It was where I expected it to be, to be honest. A top six performance is about where the car is. I think probably the pace in the first stint was where we couldn’t run with the guys, that’s really where we lost it. The pace after that wasn’t bad. We knew one stop was going to be very hard if you didn’t get to lap 20, and that was right. We didn’t give on it completely at the first stop, but we did later.
“We gave up on the one-stop when the front tyres gave up – Jenson called that. You could see the lap time drop pretty dramatically. And we wanted to cover Grosjean as well.
“Sergio’s pace was also good, but unfortunately he had the penalty. You have to respect the stewards’ decision. The rule is there about crowding, the stewards make the choice, and you respect it. But apart from that, his pace was good.”