Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, Monza, 2004

Will F1 see its fastest ever lap? Five Italian Grand Prix talking points

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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The all-time record for Formula 1’s fastest ever lap could be broken this weekend. Here are five talking points for this weekend’s race.

F1’s fastest ever lap

Since F1’s rules overhaul last year the dramatically fast cars have smashed track records everywhere they’ve gone. But with one significant exception: F1’s fastest track of all.

Juan Pablo Montoya’s 2004 lap of 1’19.525 stands not only as the fastest lap of Monza, but the quickest lap ever seen in an official F1 session. His Williams-BMW FW26 V10 screamed around the track at an average speed of 262.242kph (162.9mph).

Rain on Saturday at this event 12 months ago meant we never got to see whether the 2017 cars were capable of beating it. But with another year of development, and championship leaders Mercedes and Ferrari pushing the envelope of engine performance even further, that goal could well be within reach this weekend.

Forza Ferrari?

It’s been eight years since Ferrari won their home race. But following Sebastian Vettel’s emphatic victory in Belgium last weekend the team has to be favourites for victory this weekend.

Vettel was keen to play down that possibility ahead of the race. “It was less dominant than you might think,” he said, of his victory in Spa, where he led title rival Lewis Hamilton home by 11 seconds.

“It’s good to see that we are able to improve our car. We had some bits and a new engine. So we’ll see. Monza in many ways is a bit similar to Spa, but then again obviously if you look at the track and the actual corners, not just the straights, it’s quite a bit different.”

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Force India fall-out

Force India personnel remove sponsors, Spa, 2018
Why Force India’s rescue deal could still unravel
It’s widely regarded a matter of when not if Lance Stroll will usurp Esteban Ocon at Force India. The Williams driver, whose father recently led a consortium of investors in taking over the team, said he’s “on standby” in anticipation of a move following the last race, and visited Force India’s factory on Tuesday.

For now at least Ocon still has his seat. But will Force India decide to get Stroll acclimatised ahead of a full F1 season in 2019?

But the team may be preoccupied with more pressing matters, such as whether they’re going to get all the prize money they expected to.

Furthermore, following their ‘reset’ in the championship standings, they may prefer to keep the established drivers on the cars until they’re recovered some lost ground. Their excellent result at Spa indicates they may look beyond Toro Rosso and even consider sixth-placed McLaren a potential championship target.

Haas for fourth?

In a similar vein, the fight to be ‘best of the rest’ could see a change of hands this weekend. Consistent Renault have held fourth place for much of the season, but the Haas drivers (Romain Grosjean especially) have finally begun cranking out the results the VF-17 is capable of.

Haas has out-scored Renault 49 to 20 over the last five races, and with Monza likely to suit the Ferrari customer team, Renault’s six-point margin now looks awfully vulnerable.

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Team decisions

Has the time come for the front running teams to throw their full weight behind their leading drivers in the championship? Mercedes said they will give it consideration after Sunday’s race, notwithstanding the fact that, wherever he finishes, Valtteri Bottas will still be mathematically in championship contention on Sunday evening.

“At the moment my situation is the same as last weekend, same as summer break,” said Bottas today. “If I have the pace I am free to win. We’ll stay like that at least for now and see later on.”

According to Ferrari, they adopt a similar approach when it comes to Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, although the latter would feel justified in questioning whether all of the team’s strategy calls truly reflect that.

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Are you going to the Italian Grand Prix?

If you’re heading to Italy for this weekend’s race, we want to hear from you.

Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Italian Grand Prix? Have your say below.

And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Will F1 see its fastest ever lap? Five Italian Grand Prix talking points”

  1. Monza in many ways is a bit similar to Spa…it’s quite a bit different.

    So, what is it?

    1. @psynrg: It’s differently similar. Like eerily similar, but with one less slow eerie and exit.

      1. lmao

    2. Same same. But different.

  2. Monza will be the real test to the theory on Ferrari having a power advantage.

    My therory all along has been that they can overspeed the turbo with the ERS giving them a monster launch out of corners and acceleration boost up to top speed, but ultimately (and probably partly down to gear ratios), the Mercedes powered cars still have a higher top end speed.

    If that’s the case, Ferrari will monster qualifying given they’ll be spending a higher amount of the lap at their top speed than the Mercs, who will still be accelerating at the end of the straights…. Whilst they might be faster in the speed traps, The Ferraris would be gaining tonnes of time simply by carrying their top speed for longer.

    1. Same here and also I believe after reading autosports, that Ferrari can run higher engine modes longer than Mercedes, which I presume they do it in the race. Lewis has destroyed Rosberg and Bottas here in qualifying. So he will be ex-factor when it comes to qualifying. Especially, that this track is for the latest of the late brakers, and well, he is no surprise when it comes to late braking.

  3. Everyone, go to youtube and watch that lap from Montoya. This will make your day so much better. Had goosebumbs. Never gets old

  4. Umar A (@umartajuddin)
    31st August 2018, 3:13

    “even consider sixth-placed McLaren a potential championship target” How utterly humiliating for McLaren. Beaten by FI, who then lose all their points and come back and beat them again before the season is over.

  5. Just came to say that that iteration of racecars was pure beauty.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming

  6. Those 2004 f1 cars. Light, lots of power, hard and physical to drive and on grooved tires. And fast. Really fast. The current extremely heavy hybrid engines and cars need drs, probably over twice as much downforce and wide slicks to even get near those old cars. Really tells a story about what is actually fast on a race track. And it is not road relevant tech. It is race relevant tech.

    1. @socksolid let’s not forget the 2004 cars had traction control and launch control.

      1. Modern f1 cars have systems that work very similarly to those. Instead of traction control the electric power delivery is fully controlled by the computer. Certain amount in certain places of the track. And because of the mgu-h the engine power delivery is also somewhat controlled by the computer (turbo spool is controlled by computer). And instead of launch control the new cars have a totally separate launch mode. When was the last time an f1 car stalled on the grid or driver had really bad start because of his own error? In 2004 there were lots of errors because despite the launch controls the cars were not easy to get off the grid.

        Modern cars are so easy to drive even the strolls and ericssons can drive without spinning. But in 2004 even with traction control the best of the best could not always keep it under control:
        And even with traction control he still slides the car and needs to work more then with modern cars where the computer is tuned to perfection so wheelspin is in perfect control.

        Anyways, the the 2004 cars were lighter, had a ton of less downforce (f1 has never had as much downforce as they have now), more power and less grip and were faster. It was not all perfect back then but at least the basic car concept was right. Engine that is race relevant, not too much downforce, tires that can take a punishment and cars that are challenging to drive even for the best drivers on earth. Modern day f1 is toyota prius engine with tens of kilograms of computers, massive amounts of downforce, more and more gimmicks to overcome the problems that arise from having too much downforce, tires that cant be driven hard and cars that the billionaires can buy a seat and get within a second of good drivers. So many computers that the car sometimes gets lost on track.

        1. Strange how you criticize so much down force @socksolid.
          The engineers have been looking for more of it for decades in motor sport. Being the pinnacle technologically, going for less would be quite strange. This is the so called DNA of F1: being faster through better technology.

          1. Downforce is not on/off thing. You can control how much there is of it. More wings, bigger wings = more downforce. Less wings = less downforce. F1 can easily halve its current downforce levels and be pinnacle of motorsports. Even at half of downforce f1 would still be miles ahead of any lmp1 prototype or indycar or superleague formula.

  7. Will F1 see its fastest ever lap? – Yes.
    Forza Ferrari? – Yes.
    Haas for fourth? – No.

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