McLaren will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the paddock at Monza but may have to settle with points not podiums...
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Jenson Button: "I've always loved Monza. I really enjoy circuits that have a bit of history to them, and Monza has that in abundance - it's one of the greatest tracks on the calendar. The place is unique: ever since we lost the 'old' Hockenheim, this has been the only place on the calendar where you run a really super-low downforce configuration. And you can feel it - the car accelerates up to speed incredibly quickly, feels skittish and loose when you're running flat-out, and can be tricky and unpredictable under braking. But that's what makes the place a special kind of challenge, and I really enjoy that. When you have the car hooked up beneath you, you get into a special kind of rhythm around Monza: you're going so fast that the whole lap just flows together. There's nowhere quite like it. So it's really appropriate that McLaren will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the paddock over the Monza weekend. Both names are synonymous with motorsport history - you couldn't imagine Formula 1 without them - so I'll be hoping for a strong result to show the strength and depth that we have as a team."
Sergio Perez: "Monza is probably the most beautiful circuit in Formula 1 - it's just so historic; from the moment you arrive, you can feel it's just different from any other place we visit. In fact, I had one of my best races in Formula 1 at Monza last year - everything came right on Sunday afternoon, I looked after the tyres beautifully and overtook Fernando Alonso on my way to finishing second, which equals my best-ever result in the sport. That was a fantastic day. After the disappointment of Spa, where we had the pace to score points, I'm keen to get another shot. As in Hungary and Belgium, we don't expect to have a car that'll be capable of fighting right at the front, but I hope we'll be scrapping for points positions. That's always fun, because then it's really down to the team and the driver to maximise every opportunity on the day. When you're racing hard like that, a good lap in quali or a clever strategy in the race can make all the difference to your result - and that's great to experience. So, as always, I'll be looking to push on every lap."
Martin Whitmarsh, team boss: "This year's Italian Grand Prix will be a very special weekend for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, as it'll be the race where we celebrate our 50th anniversary - a landmark for any sporting organisation, let alone a grand prix team. Since the formation of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd in September 1963, and our Formula 1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, no F1 team has won more races (182) than McLaren - an incredible record. It's appropriate that we'll be marking the passage of time at a circuit that is both venerable and yet eternally evergreen: in terms of history, nothing really comes close to Monza in terms of capturing the spirits past of motor racing. Yet, it's also the fastest racetrack in Formula 1, a temple to raw speed, and a circuit that will always deserve its place on the calendar. It's richly evocative, and a place that I love. We have some special events and surprises planned to mark our anniversary, but it'll be Monza itself that will make the weekend unique."
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