Tag Archives: Monza

Christian Horner: “If he had any fillings he won’t have any more…”

Christian Horner says that his Red Bull team did an “incredible job” to deal with tyre and gearbox issues during what looked from the outside like a straightforward win for Sebastian Vettel in Monza.

Vettel made his life harder in the first stint by flat spotting a front tyre at Turn One, and later there were concerns about the gearbox. It says a lot that the German only set the 12th fastest lap as he nursed the car home – and for once he didn’t try to add to his tally in the record books.

“It was a fantastic weekend for us really,” said Horner. “We had a few issues to manage during the race, but an incredible team performance. We’ve been strong all weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We had a few issues that did need managing during the race – Sebastian locking up into the first turn created a big flat spot, which put a massive vibration into the car that he was certainly concerned about, and we were monitoring quite closely. If he had any fillings he won’t have any more!

“Then we managed to get into the one-stop window. A fantastic double stop by the guys, 2.6s and 2.7s. It was enough to get Mark ahead of Massa, get Sebastian back out into the lead on a round set of tyres, and control the race thereafter.”

Both Red Bull had their fifth, sixth and seventh gear ratios changed before the race – for identical replacements – and the team became further concerned when Webber had another issue in the race, which led to both drivers being asked to short shift to protect their equipment.

“The only issue we had after that was loss of gearbox pressure in Mark’s car in the closing laps, which we just needed to take some precautions with to get to the finish.

“We had a bit of damage to a couple of dog rings on both cars. Under parc ferme after applying to the FIA due to it being damaged they were allowed to be replaced. Of course when that’s hanging over you, and we weren’t sure why that happened, we’ve not seen that before, and it’s not something that happened on the Caterham gearbox, which is obviously something that we supply. We were concerned as to why that was there.

“When you’re sitting there in the race not quite knowing what’s caused that issue and then you start to lose gearbox pressure, obviously it was a bit of a concern.

“If it was happening to one, the chances were [it would again]– because yesterday it happened to both. So as a precaution we asked Sebastian to do the same thing.”

Meanwhile Horner was unconcerned about the booing of Vettel on the podium.

“I think anybody racing a Ferrari, and beating a Ferrari, at Monza, in Italy, is never going to be cheered! It was inevitable that there wasn’t going to be a big reaction for Sebastian beating Fernando Alonso in front of the tifosi who have come to cheer their car and team around. I don’t think it surprised any of us the reaction that there was. If anything it fuels the motivation of Sebastian just to go out there and continue to improve.”

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Stefano Domenicali: “We need to be there like the wolf…”

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says that second was the best that the team could have hoped for on a weekend when Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel were so dominant.

He also conceded that the Italian outfit has to rely on problems for Vettel to have any chance of winning the title.

“I think for sure today we clearly saw a Red Bull that was stronger,” said Domenicali. “We tried to do the maximum. We achieved I think a fantastic race with the position we had with Fernando, and it was a shame because I wanted also to have Felipe on the podium, but when you’re fighting with a stronger car you play with strategies, but it’s not always easy.

“It is clear that with the fact that also here Red Bull has shown a great pace in these conditions that the fight for the championship is very difficult, but it doesn’t change our approach. We need to stay there and as I said we need to take the opportunities if these opportunities will come. The experience of last year is still burning for us. In a sporting way if something happens with them, we need to be there like the wolf, to attack them, and to stay tuned and connected.

“With regard to the decision of how and when we are going to swap all the resource to the new car, I think we are very close to a final decision. We are already shifting progressively the resources as was planned by us before the summer break.”

Domenicali said that the decision to keep Alonso out for four extra laps after Vettel stopped – and which resulted in the gap growing from around 5s to 10s – was mainly to give the Spaniard fresher tyres for the latter part of the race, in the hope that it might be an advantage.

“At that stage the tyres were basically still in a good condition, and we wanted to minimise the use of the hard tyres. The second side was really to see if their tyres were having a drop on the last lap maybe we were able to close the gap at the end. The point is that when you have realistically speaking a car that is a big quicker you try to invent something, but today was not enough.”

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Fernando Alonso: “We don’t have enough races…”

Fernando Alonso kept himself in the frame for the World Championship by finishing second in Monza, and while he lost another seven points to race winner Sebastian Vettel, he has at least now pulled clear of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

“I think the weekend we took the maximum from the car,” said Alonso. “Practice was OK, and we learnt some good information Friday. Saturday it was very good, both cars in the top five. I think the last time was Malaysia this year, so a very, very long time, so we were very, very happy.

“Today, being in the podium again, it’s a fantastic feeling here in Monza. The fourth year that I drove for Ferrari, four times that I was in the podium, and every year is something amazing, something unique again, to be there in that moment.

“And we did the maximum and nearly a perfect weekend. We didn’t close the gap in the championship, which is obviously the goal every weekend but when Sebastian and Red Bull dominate Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they win the race we have to congratulate them. They were the best all through the weekend, and we need to do hopefully a better job next time, but from what we had this weekend I think we did the maximum. So we are extremely happy.”

Nevertheless, Alonso accepts that his title hopes are getting slimmer.

“Well, I think we need to be realistic about the championship now there’s a very big gap. We don’t have enough races and probably we don’t have the speed right now to win some consecutive races and hope to reduce the gap just by pace. We need to be lucky and we need to have some DNFs from Sebastian or something to win the championship. With the races left and the points disadvantage, it’s hard, but in a way, it was exactly the same last year.

“We could only lose the championship, with 41 points advantage in front of Sebastian after the Monza race. It was difficult for him to catch up and so it was maybe up to us. We didn’t complete the job and we had a DNF in Suzuka, and some other problems. There’s still a long way to go; we will try until the last race to be as good as we can and score as many points as possible, and then in Brazil we will see how many points we have compared to him.”

Alonso says he’s open-minded about the car’s potential form in the next race in Singapore.

“Obviously we were expecting a lot from Monza, and it was a very good Monza. It’s true that we didn’t win the race, because Red Bull and Sebastian did an even better job and they were very, very good but in our level of competitiveness that we had this year, Monza is one of the best weekends, as we expected before.

“We came from Silverstone, from Nurburgring, from Hungary where we had Red Bull in front of us, Lotus in front of us, Mercedes in front of us and some other cars sometimes, so here in Monza we were able to beat all those cars and fight for the wins, so if we can repeat this good performance in Singapore, we hope so but this will be the real test for us. We made some changes in the car, they seemed to be positive in Spa, seem to be good and positive in Monza, but when we reach the maximum level of downforce in Singapore, like we had in Hungary, we need to check.

“If we still have Mercedes in front, Lotus in front and some other teams, we will be more or less the same as in Hungary and we don’t want to be. I think we prepare the car and we prepare everything to make a step forward and in Singapore hopefully we can see it.”

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Floor damage hampered Hamilton, says Brawn

Ross Brawn admits that Saturday in Italy was a tough day for Mercedes, as the team failed to get pole for the first time in three months.

Nico Rosberg didn’t quite get his set-up right after missing most of FP3, and had to settle for sixth.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton damaged his floor at the Ascari chicane in Q2, which contributed to his later trip over the gravel at Parabolica.

That meant he had everything to do on his final run, and the damage – plus getting caught behind Adrian Sutil – contributed to him getting stuck in 12th place.

“It definitely wasn’t a great day for all of us today,” said Brawn. “We had a reliability issue with Nico in the morning which meant he lost most of the session, and for me Monza is always about confidence for a driver, getting a balance fine tuned and being confident in the car and building up.

“It’s very low downforce, high speed braking, so I think losing that amount of time was always going to be difficult. It meant as a consequence we didn’t really have a great balance on Nico’s car during qualifying.

“Lewis was looking OK, and unfortunately caught a kerb and damaged the car underneath and broke the floor, and we didn’t realise the consequence of that until a bit later in the session. It was irreparable, so that was unfortunate as well.

“It just wasn’t our day, today. Some of it is the nature of motor racing, some of it like the reliability problem with Nico we have to try and do a better job.”

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Fernando Alonso: “I will be able to see the Red Bull rear wings on the grid…”

Fernando Alonso insists that he’s happy with how qualifying unfolded in Monza, despite being beaten by team mate Felipe Massa.

The two Ferraris tried to co-ordinate a tow to help the Spaniard, and while he complained initially on the radio that the Brazilian was too far ahead, he said that in the end it had worked out. Alonso will start fifth, right behind Massa.

Fernando was clearly annoyed that a negative message that showed him criticising the team, when the plan for a tow appeared to be unravelling, had been played on TV.

“In Q3 we had Vergne in the middle out of Turn 4,” he said. “And then I was ready to take the slipstream of Vergne, because he seemed to want to follow Felipe at that stage. So I prepared the tyres a little bit, and then he let me by, and I had no one in front.

“So I said on the radio Felipe is too far away now if we want to do this, so they slowed down him and he was waiting a little bit in Parabolica, so we started the last attempt more or less the same distance as always.

“I just have to say thank you to the team and thank you to Felipe again for this tenth that helped me to do the last attempt in Q3. They didn’t put the last radio message when I said thank you to the team, thank you to Felipe, it was perfect at the end.

“It’s the first time in many, many races that I will be able to see the Red Bull rear wings on the grid, and on the first lap I can attack. It’s been an extremely, extremely good qualifying for us.”

Alonso believes that he can at least keep in touch with the Red Bulls.

“I think so. Normally in a race the worst point for us is the Saturdays, there are always three or four cars between us and the Red Bulls, so we start, we pass those cars, and we see the Red Bulls 10s ahead of us, and more or less we keep that distance or that gap throughout the race.

“We are very happy today because hopefully tomorrow after the start and the first corner we don’t have these three or four cars in the middle of us, we don’t have Hamilton, we don’t have Kimi, we don’t have Grosjean, we don’t have all these people who slow us a little bit in the first part of the races, because we have a great pace normally on Sundays. If tomorrow we have this great pace that normally we show on Sundays I don’t see any reason why not to follow the Red Bulls.”

However he concedes that Vettel will be hard to beat.

“He was fast all weekend, in all practices, in qualifying, in the race pace. It’s going to be tough. I think we need some changeable conditions tomorrow, maybe the rain, a mixed race, if not we know that it’s going to be tough, because they are very, very strong this weekend.”

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