We chatted exclusively to Sky F1 favourite David Croft for our weekly In The Pit Lane feature, assessing the big storylines leading up to the race.
Crofty discusses Ferrari’s woes as they return to their home track feeling battered and bruised after a tough 2020 so far, as well as big news out of Williams this week as Claire Williams and father Sir Frank Williams stepped down from their team.
On a more positive note, Renault appear to have found a top formula for success and will be keen to make the most of their weekend in Italy.
Check out what the Sky Sports F1 man has to say below.
Ferrari’s subdued homecoming
DC: Just because it’s behind closed doors doesn’t mean the scrutiny is any less. There are still fans gathered outside wishing they could be watching a year similar to last year but it’s absolute night and day compared to last year. It’s so sad.
Last year, we all left Monza feeling great about life. The sun was shining, the Tifosi were celebrating, Charles Leclerc had won back-to-back races, and something seemed so right about it, Ferrari triumphing in Italy, but how things have turned around.
They’ve designed a car based around performance and horsepower of last year’s engine, during the winter, the FIA have obviously found something they didn’t like with that Ferrari engine and they’re now having to cope with the double-whammy of being down on horsepower and having a car that has more downforce on it because they thought the horsepower was that much greater. They’ve got a car that is draggy and an engine that isn’t as fast. That’s why they’re struggling.
This place should be a celebration of Ferrari but there’s nothing to celebrate.
End of an era for Williams
DC: It was lovely that Claire wanted to sit down and talk about what has been a tough period in her life and her team. It was a frank assessment. She has worked tirelessly to turn things around but she had failed to achieve the targets and goals she set for herself. But when they went out searching for funding this was always a likely result.
They’ve been bought by Dorilton Capital – who she has great faith in, that they will restore Williams back to better times – but she felt she couldn’t work for somebody else. There was an honesty from Claire about her situation that should be applauded and the time is right.
From a personal point of view, I’ll really miss her in the paddock. She’s led by example and given absolutely everything.
DC: I think this weekend could see more of the same. The engine works well and the car works well in those slow speed corners. I think Spa and Monza are tracks that suit Renault well. Look at Daniel Ricciardo last year, qualified fifth, finished fourth. It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t do the same again and possibly better.
All it takes is for a Mercedes or a Red Bull to have a slip-up and he could be right in there with a chance, and Esteban Ocon as well. They’ve had their problems but suddenly have found their sweet spot at tracks like this.
It’s great to see that peak coming again but Renault need to carry that into next year when Fernando Alonso returns. Bring it on. I’m not quite sure what tattoo Daniel has in mind [for Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul after the pair made a bet Ricciardo would finish on the podium] but I hope it’s a good one!
DC: Well, it’s fast. And that’s the biggest understatement on the planet. Talking to Paul di Resta and Jenson Button and Johnny Herbert – who won here 25 years ago – all the guys who have driven Monza talk about it with such passion.
How to watch the Italian Grand Prix
The race starts at 2:10pm on Sunday 6th September live on Sky Sports F1.
For full TV details as well as timings of practice, qualifying and the race itself, check out our comprehensive guide to the Italian Grand Prix.
For the full breakdown of F1 races coming up check out our F1 2020 calendar guide.
If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV guide.