What we can expect from the new generation of car around Monza
With a new generation of car comes uncertainty - Daniel's race engineer Tom Stallard explores
Returning to the scene of our most recent Formula 1 victory has brought back plenty of memories, but with much-changed machinery set to take to the track in Monza, the action is likely to look a whole lot different.
Daniel sealed a historic 1-2 for McLaren in 2021, winning the Italian Grand Prix ahead of Lando in P2. 2021's MCL35M performed strongly on low-drag circuits, such as Monza, and provided a solid platform with which to compete.
However, with sweeping regulation changes, comes a level of uncertainty. To get an idea of what we can expect in Italy this year, we spoke with the man who engineered Daniel to Italian Grand Prix victory, Tom Stallard.
"Monza was a great event for us last year and ended very well," Tom said. "However, the car this year is very different with the new regulations. Our car now suits the high-downforce circuits, not the low-drag circuits, so we're not expecting that we will see the same kind of performance this year, as we did last year – but we will do our best.
With cars at full-throttle for 80% of the 5.793km circuit, the power-sensitive low-downforce favouring Autodromo Nazionale Monza will prove a tough workout for the MCL36. But the tight chicanes and the heavy braking they require do provide an opportunity to make up some of the difference, as Tom explains.
"The nature of the corners at Monza seemed to suit Daniel quite well last year, so we will look to get the best out of him in that regard," he continued. "The interesting thing in Monza is that the corners are all quite spread out, so you get a chance to kind of recover on the straights.
"We can adapt the car from corner to corner by changing the switches, which means we can adapt the car to suit the driver much better. From an engineer's point of view, that is quite an interesting challenge."
This isn't the only area where a driver can make a difference. In the past at Monza, slipstreaming has improved a lap-time by as much as two-tenths of a second down the 1.1km-long back-straight.
Discussing the effect of the slipstream, Tom continued: "Getting the car in the right place is important because you want to pick up a tow from other cars, if you've got a car that is quite slow on the straights, so we will look to do that."
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