Raw pace essential in final European race

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SPEED matters in Formula One - especially at the Italian Grand Prix.

There will be some spectacular overtaking moves at Monza’s Autodromo Nazionale circuit, situated within the grounds of a former royal park on the outskirts of Milan, this weekend.

As the oldest and most venerable of venues on the calendar, it seems fitting Monza should stage the final race of the European season before attention turns to the six-race season-ending flyaway events.

In fact, the circuit has staged more grands prix than any other in F1 history with 60 since its inception in 1922 and it is the fastest on the calendar with an average speed of 158mph, and with the 53 laps and 190 miles covered in 75 minutes.

Graeme Lowdon, the sporting director of Marussia Virgin Racing, said: “Monza is a fast circuit and it is a fabulous place to go racing.

“We actually had a a great race last year between Timo [Glock] and Heikki Kovalainen. Timo finished ahead and it was a fabulous edge of the seat race even though it was happening at the back of the grid.

“It was flat out racing from start to finish so it would be nice if we had a similar race this time around. Team Lotus have quite good qualifying pace but it seems to disappear a little on race days and we close the gap then.”

Dinnington-based Virgin are poised to unveil a new car performance upgrade in Italy today, believing it could make them up to half a second quicker on track.

“We have got the maximum out of the car in the races,” Lowdon said. We are really happy with our pit stop times too. They are right up there with the big boys and we are ahead of the new teams on that score. I do feel we are ready to race a quick car.”