2020 Italian Grand Prix: Preview – On the way home
Home Grands Prix are like buses: you wait a whole year for one, and then two come along at the same time. And while there is no such thing as a Swiss Grand Prix any longer, travelling to Monza (and Mugello, next week), proudly displaying the name Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and with an Italian driver in the shape of Antonio Giovinazzi, means the Alfa Romeo Racing team can celebrate their home race not just once, but twice in two weeks (and that’s even before they head to Imola later next month).
Monza is one of those special places that claim a part of Formula One history: those timeless circuits that tell you tales of heroes of yore from the moment you step through their hallowed gates. In this place, on the doorstep of Milan and of Alfa Romeo’s historical headquarters in Arese, every corner evokes a memory – some good, some bad. For this team – Sauber Motorsport, it’s the place where they first scored a podium, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 1995, and where Robert Kubica first climbed to the rostrum, in 2006. Monza is the place where they finished on the podium the most times – four, an accolade shared with Canada – and where Antonio Giovinazzi produced a great performance last year to inflame the Italian fans.
The famous Italian fans – this will be what we will miss the most this year. Passionate, knowledgeable, ready to display their support with flags, chants and flares. Racing in Monza without them will be weird: it will feel like something big is missing. But race team’s will, and they will race for them, flying the flag from the moment they head out of the garage to the chequered flag.
They’ll give it all, as always. But they’ll give it a little bit more, because this is no regular race week. It’s home race week.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG: “Racing in Italy while carrying the Alfa Romeo brand on our cars is always something special, and we are lucky enough to do it twice in two weeks. It will give the team that extra bit of motivation to do well and build on the performance from Spa. We have shown some positive signs in Belgium and we intend to keep on pushing in this direction. We know some tracks will suit us better than others between now and the end of the season but our objective remains the same – maximising the performance of our package in every round.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
“Racing in Monza always brings up some good memories from my years in Ferrari, but once you sit in the car you only focus on the weekend’s job. We had a decent race last time out but we need to do a bit more if we want to finish in the points. The target doesn’t really change: we need to make it to Q2 to get the best grid position possible and then try to make the most out of the race. We have seen in recent events that small swings in performance can mean a big change in positions, especially in the midfield, so we need to keep doing our job as best as we can.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
“My home race always means something special to me – especially this year. Italy has suffered a lot in 2020 and I’m determined to do my best to give my people a smile. Without fans in the grandstands, it won’t be the same but I know there are so many supporters watching from home and I’ll race for them all. Last year I drove one of my best races here, finishing in the points, and it would be great to have a similar result. We saw last weekend that we seem to have made a step forward as a team, so hopefully we can fight in the midfield this weekend as well.”