McLaren preview the Italian GP

Date published: September 1 2015 - Editor

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button head to Monza knowing that they are unlikely to improve much as their car isn't suited to the track.

Fernando Alonso: "Monza is completely unique – a fantastic circuit, so much history, great fans, and huge fun to drive. It’s always special to go there year after year to experience the atmosphere, and the way the car feels when you drive on that track is completely different to any other.

"I have won at Monza twice in my career – once with McLaren in 2007 – and both times were incredibly special. For this race we have to manage our own expectations, as we know it won’t suit our car.

"It will be tough, but we'll still push hard as usual, learn as much as we can about our package, and work on our low-downforce configuration to try and get as much as we can out of the weekend."

Jenson Button: "Monza is such a great place, definitely one of the most incredible races on the calendar for a driver, and always such a thrill to race on. It’s completely unique in terms of the setup it demands, and I love the feeling you get when you hit the sweet spot in the corners – keeping the car controlled under heavy braking on the way in is tricky, and then on the way out it becomes very unsettled as you’re trying to get the power down, so it’s a great test of nerve.

"Spa was a very tough race for the team, and especially so on my side of the garage due to the deployment issues I had on the straights. We’re working hard on this and we’re optimistic that there won’t be a repeat in Monza, as it really hindered any chance I had of keeping up with the rest of the pack. That said, Monza’s high speeds will prove very challenging for us, but we’ll give it our all and stay focussed as ever.

"The key for us will be getting the maximum from the car on Saturday, to give ourselves a fighting chance of a good battle on Sunday afternoon. Despite the issues, the car was well balanced in Spa and felt good to drive, particularly in qualifying, so we’ll aim to make the most of that in Monza, too, before we head to the fly-aways where there’ll be circuits that’ll suit our car’s strengths much better."

Eric Boullier – racing director: "Firstly, on behalf of everyone at McLaren-Honda, we extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Justin Wilson at this incredibly difficult time. He was not only a much-loved member of the Formula 1 and motorsport community, but also well-known to many members of our team, and the tragic news of his passing puts all of our racing activities into sharp perspective. Rest in peace, Justin.
 
"As we move our thoughts to Monza, the race which marks the end of the European leg of the season, it’s often a good opportunity to look further ahead to the end of the season and the final fly-away races of the year. It’s certainly been a tough year for McLaren-Honda so far, but we’re continuing to fight with our heads held high.
 
"Spa was a particularly unflattering race for our package, which disappointingly masked many signs of progress we were hoping to see after the summer break. However, we always knew Spa would be one of, if not the, most challenging grand prix of the season, and we were certainly proved right. On the other hand, we also took some positives from the weekend and we’re working hard to ensure we achieve the same consistent tyre performance and improved car balance that we saw in Spa-Francorchamps.
 
"In terms of Monza’s characteristics, it’s another high-speed, low downforce track, and a unique challenge, with long straights and heavy braking. For this reason, we expect this race will be difficult for us in similar ways to Spa, but our aim is to finish the race with both cars and learn as much as we can from the weekend in anticipation of Singapore and beyond, where we’re hopeful of demonstrating improved pace. In Monza, the passionate fans and incredible atmosphere that are always guaranteed there will surely provide us with a fantastic weekend of racing on this legendary circuit."

Yasuhisa Arai – chief officer of motorsport Honda: "Monza is another high-speed track which unfortunately does not suit our package. The drivers are on full throttle for most of the lap due to the long straights and fast corners, and since maximum power and minimal drag are key we know we have a big challenge ahead of us this weekend.

"We know we still have a lot of work to do, but we also know we're heading in the right direction to start achieving our goals. As always, the team will continue to work tirelessly, and we will remain determined and focused on the job at hand."