Caterham achieved its best qualifying result since entering the sport as Lotus in 2010 at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix with Giedo van der Garde securing 14th spot on the grid in a damp session.
However, dry conditions for Sunday’s race saw the resumption of normal service, with Van der Garde finishing a lap behind race winner Sebastian Vettel in 16th place, while Pic, who qualified at the very rear of the grid, was eliminated after only eight laps due to an oil leak.
Pic, who finished 16th at Monza while driving for Marussia last season, is determined to banish the ‘bad luck’ that harmed Caterham at Spa as the team looks to cement its 10th place in the constructors’ standings for the fourth consecutive season.
Pic said: “Monza’s a great place to race F1 cars. It’s so quick, the atmosphere is amazing (even though it’s almost only Ferrari supporters out there!) and it’s a track that has a lot of history, some of which you can see in the old banking on the way out of the track to remind you what it used to be like.
“It’s our last race in Europe this year and it would be good to finish the European season on a positive. We’d put in strong performances in the three practice sessions in Spa but we were unlucky, both with the call to the weighbridge in Q1 and the oil leak in the race so Monza gives us a chance to move straight on and put that bad luck behind us.”
On his preparations for the high-speed Monza circuit, Pic added: “I’m in the simulator at Leafield before we arrive in Monza, so we’ll have a chance to try a few setup options before we get to the track.
“We’ll be running the low downforce package for this race and the main focus will be on finding a setup that gives us maximum straightline speed and a car that we can really attack the kerbs with.
“That’s important for laptime, particularly in T3 and T7, as you need to be able to minimise the time in the corners by pushing the car over the kerbs, so having the right mechanical setup is crucial.
“We’ll also be working a lot on braking stability – break wear and cooling are both pretty manageable at Monza, but it’s important to have a car that’s behaving consistently in the braking zones as that’s where you can make up, and lose, time.”