Monza, the Cathedral of Speed, is the oldest circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, though it has changed a lot over the years. The current version of Monza has been in use since 2000 and is the fastest track in Formula 1. With three long straights and two really heavy braking zones it has seen some spectacular races over the years, including this season when Lewis Hamilton took an unlikely victory.
Monza is all about straight line speed. While the Parabolica and Lesmos mean we still need some downforce, but you need traction, top speed, and stopping power around Monza.
Say goodbye to your downforce. We have trimmed the wings all the way down to a 2-4. This is as low as you should dare to go thanks to the long right-hander Parabolica at the end of the lap, that requires rear downforce to get through quickly, and also the two Lesmos which are tricky little corners.
This setting will have you hitting top speed down the pit straight and getting close down into the Ascari chicane as well, but do take care as there will be some tricky moments at low speed.
This is an all-out traction set up. We have pushed the on-throttle differential to 100 percent, forcing the rear wheels to turn at the same rate, giving us maximum traction when we get on the power. This increases tyre wear and is something you will need to monitor toward the end of stints, but this is the best way to gain speed out of the slow corners.
We have a less locked off-throttle, allowing the tyres to rotate slightly more freely under braking and cornering. This is particularly useful at getting us around the Parabolica and protecting the tyres slightly.
This part of the setup is all about how the tyres are aligned to the body of the car. Camber is the vertical alignment, all F1 cars are set with negative camber, meaning the top of the tyre is closer to the car than the bottom of it. This provides improved grip during cornering at the expense of straight line speed, so we are getting rid of almost all of it. You need to keep some camber so we maintain some grip when cornering, but otherwise we can do without it.
Toe is the tyres horizontal alignment. Front tyres are set to toe out, with the front edge further away from the car than the rear. This makes the car more responsive at turn in at the cost of straight line speed and tyre wear. We want all that straight line speed so we are removing most of the toe on the front tyres.
The rear tyres are set to toe in, meaning the front of the tyre is closer than the rear. This helps with straight line stability but at the cost of tyre wear. We have terrific traction and low drag already, and so we are getting rid of the rear toe as well so that can save some tyre life.
Stiff suspension aids responsiveness and speed, but it can also really hurt you over kerbs and bumps and takes more life out of tyres. We would like a responsive car for the three chicanes, but we also need to take a lot of kerb to maximise the racing line through all these chicanes. As a result, we have softened the suspension slightly so we can ride the kerbs and fly through with the least angle possible, especially Ascari. A 6-4 set up allows this, while also allowing weight to roll rearward under acceleration and improve traction once again.
To help us flick through the chicanes we have stiffened the anti-roll bars to 8-8 so that weight doesn't roll laterally too much.
In an ideal world ride height would be very low here, but with all the kerbs we are taking it can't be overly low otherwise the car will bottom out and bounce over the kerbs, especially if we outbrake ourselves into turn 1 and have to take to the escape path.
You have to slow the car from over 200 mph three times around Monza, so stopping power is vital. However, lockups are very costly here so you can't make the brake pressure too high. We have settled on an 88 percent pressure so that we can slow the car in a hurry but not lock up unnecessarily.
The brake bias is set to 54 percent. Moving it back helps the front tyres turn in and allows the nose of the car to get into the corners. This is helpful for the tight chicanes as well as the two Lesmos.
We have put up the front tyre pressures to 23.4 psi. This reduces their rolling resistance down the straights while also making them more responsive in the corners. We have done the opposite to the rears and reduced the pressure to 21.5 psi, this spreads the temperature along a wider surface patch, reducing wear, but it also improves traction thanks to that increased contact patch.
The weight distribution is moved to 7. By setting the ballast rearward you aid traction and also help create a little oversteer to get into the corners better.
So that is our set up for Monza and the Italian Grand Prix. This is an excellent race setup and a very strong single-lap one too. You can tweak it to be harsher on tyres if you want to fly up the time trial standings, but this a terrific baseline for you to work with. See you on the time sheets!
Italian Grand Prix Wet Lap Setup
Front Wing: 4
Rear Wing: 9
On Throttle: 65%
Off Throttle: 100%
Front Camber: -2.50
Rear Camber: -1.00
Front Toe: 0.05
Rear Toe: 0.20
Front Suspension: 4
Rear Suspension: 4
Front Anti-Roll Bar: 9
Rear Anti-Roll Bar: 6
Front Ride Height: 4
Rear Ride Height: 4
Brake Pressure: 83%
Front Brake Bias: 55%
Front Tyre Pressure: 23.4 psi
Rear Tyre Pressure: 21.1 psi