From today, with the drivers' press conference, the Monza Grand Prix weekend of the 2020 Formula 1 season officially opens.
We have reached the eighth round of the F1 World Championship which will be held at the "Temple of Speed" and the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
After the Belgian Grand Prix, held on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, we are ready for another historical stage such as the Monza circuit which will precede the Mugello debut, to reach more than half of the championship, and celebrate the thousandth Grand Prix in the history of the team with the “Cavallino Rampante”.
Like the other press conferences, Williams started first with their two drivers: Nicholas Latifi and George Russell.
George Russell expressed himself about the FIA technical directive about the “quali mode” by saying: “I think unfortunately it will probably affect us and Racing Point more than Mercedes,
“Purely because Mercedes are so far ahead in qualifying anyway.
“If anything it’s only going to help them even more in the race. So the whole idea of trying to slow them down is actually going to go completely the opposite way and is only going to enhance their performance.
“I think on a Saturday it will probably compromise us a tenth or two. But we expect it to also compromise the other manufacturers a tenth or so. So we are probably net one-tenth down on a Saturday.
“But on a Sunday we’re definitely net up by a big margin. And I think what Mercedes have done to improve the engine to allow us to run a very high engine mode for the whole race is really impressive and she’s going to be flying on the Sundays.” he concluded.
Asked whether he was frustrated to be fighting for his future in the under-performing VF-20, Romain Grosjean said: "I think the best you can do is to do the best you can with your car.
“It’s not like running the 100 metres where everyone starts on the same line. At the moment, someone is starting on the 40-metre line, some on the 60, some on the 180-metre line.
“We’re more starting at the back and again, the best we can do is to help the team improve.
“Some years I’m not so proud about my season,” added Grosjean.
“2018, obviously the first half I wasn’t happy with myself.
“This year, when I look at it I’d say I’m doing a good job. That’s really what matters to me.
“Yes, we’re not fighting for podiums, yes, we’re not fighting for wins, but no-one would with our car. So that’s alright.”
Antonio Giovinazzi speaking about the Les Fragnes mistake during the Belgian Grand Prix: “ I was just trying to push like I always did, and unfortunately this time it went wrong but... now I just want to do well here in Monza and forget about Spa.”
In addiction the Italian driver, who scored only two points with the Alfa Romeo team, said that he knows what he has to do to retain his seat: “I think first of all I came to Formula 1 because I don't have any big names behind me, or any big sponsors behind me,
“I'm here just because of results and talent.
“So from my side, if I can continue like I'm doing to be fast and try to score the points for the team, nobody can take my seat next year, so we'll see what happens but I'm quite assured from what I need to do. Just be fast and be consistent.”
Pierre Gasly talked about his future in Formula 1 as Christian Horner said that his returning to Red Bull is not a option: “It’s not up to me to decide,
“The only thing I can do is to be competitive. I guess strong performances will be rewarded. At the moment, I don’t know what the future is so we’ll have to wait a bit more.”
“At the moment, it’s not really a question about that,” said Gasly.
“I’m contracted with Red Bull and my priority is just to perform as good as possible and we’ll see the opportunities that arise in the future.”
Carlos Sainz, who will leave McLaren the next season, made statements about his future in Ferrari: “I've got 100% confidence in Ferrari’s people in what they can do for the future. Let's just remember that last year they were capable of doing seven pole positions, so it's a team that I think knows how to produce very good cars.
“And regarding whether I'm nervous, what makes me nervous is to lose 30 points due to no fault of my own; that's what really concerns me right now and what really makes me go to bed and think, 'Where the hell have I lost this amount of points and how is this happening to me?'. But no, I'm fully confident, I'm ready to go for Ferrari next season and I cannot be more excited.”
Daniel Ricciardo did a great job during the Belgian Grand Prix and he spoke about the P4: “It was fun, it was cool, Max and I spoke a bit after and we said ‘it was fun to be able to do that for a sequence of corners’. We would have loved to have done that for 40 laps.
“Hopefully there’s a bit more of that going on. I think this track does lend itself to overtaking and side-by-side racing, for a little bit. We’ll try to make it happen again and I think we’re in a good place, so we’ll try and keep the ball rolling.”
Max Verstappen explained that the race pace expected for the Italian Grand Prix is uncertain: “It is difficult to say at the moment as it isn’t normally our best track with all the long straights but last year in practice we were quite competitive in practice before taking a penalty so let’s hope that it is going to be the same again this year. Spa was my sixth podium in a row so hopefully we can keep this streak going and soon fight for first instead of second and third but that might not be the case here.
“Of course we keep pushing and we don’t give up but we have to be realistic that Mercedes are still the favourites” he concluded speaking about the race pace that Mercedes had during the Belgian Grand Prix.
Based on what was previously clarified by the Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, Charles Leclerc stated: “Well, on one hand I don't really have the choice. But surely it will take some patience and I'm ready to wait.
“But it's also my job to try and make this whole process as short as possible and for us to come back where we deserve to be. It's not going to be easy, it will take time, but I'm ready for this and my job is to give my best anyway in every situation we are in.”
For Mercedes this weekend will be the first weekend where the team will not be able to use the party mode.
“I find it kind of amusing because the FIA said that it was so they could manage everyone's usage of the engine or something like that,
“And then Red Bull came and said: we were the ones just pushing for it. So it's just completely different reasons why they did it.” Lewis Hamilton explained at the press conference.
“I'm not worried about that. We will lose a little performance in qualifying, but the race speed will increase” he concluded.