McLaren cautious over Monza weekend

McLaren’s Pat Fry says he is optimistic that the Woking-based team can have a strong Italian Grand Prix, but has admitted that the outfit will have to wait until Friday practice before they can obtain an accurate picture of their speed.

After a disappointing weekend in Belgium, McLaren head to Monza aiming to recapture their previous form which led to the team fighting at the front in both Hungary and Valencia.

However with the high-speed nature of the Monza circuit and the ban on in-season testing, the Chief Engineer of this year’s MP4-24, believes that the team cannot be assured of a return to competitiveness in Italy.

“Obviously developing an aero package, that extreme, you re really down into relying on sort of simulation really without any testing before the event.” Formula1.net heard Fry say during Wednesday s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ‘Phone-in .

“For the first time we haven’t been allowed to go there testing. I think it’s going to be difficult saying where we are going to be. I hope we’re going to be fine. We’re obviously optimising for that particular downforce level and drag level that is needed.

“I hope that we’re going to be in a good position, but time will tell really.”

One device which is also expected to give a significant advantage to a number of teams this weekend is KERS, with the likes of Renault re-introducing the system in a bid to find extra lap time.

Although admitting that McLaren s system would offer a competitive edge during qualifying and at the start of the Grand Prix, Fry also revealed that the unique characteristics of the Monza circuit could pose a problem when trying to harness enough energy to use KERS to its full potential.

“(At) places like Monza and Spa it s a little bit difficult in terms of harvesting enough energy to hit the full FIA per-lap deployment.” he said, “At Spa we just managed it, Monza it might take a bit of work, but we should be very close to having the full 400kj per lap.”

“We should be able to hopefully deploy that every lap of the race and qualifying it should be a small amount more because we can get a double discharge on the start/finish straight before the start of the lap.

“So I think it should be a reasonable benefit… Typically, I suppose your looking at three and a half tenths per-lap gained if you can do that little bit more in qualifying.”