Italian GP Preview, Monza

The Formula One race in Italy (Autodromo di Monza) would be hosting round thirteen of this year’s FIA 2011 F1 World Championship. The race in Monza would be the last of the GP races to be held in Europe. The next 6 races would be Singtel Singapore Grand Prix, from September 23 to 25, Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka) from October 7 to 9, Korean Grand Prix (Yeongam) from October 14 to 16, Airtel Indian Grand Prix of India (New Delhi) from October 28 to 30, Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina) from November 11 to 13, and finally Grande Premio Petrobras Do Brasil (Sao Paulo). The Monza track is one among 4 tracks to be still hosting F1 races since Formula One’s inception in 1950. Yearly, thousands of Ferrari fans (tifosi) make it to the venue like migrating birds that drift from one waterhole to another. That’s the spirit of racing and the popularity it’s embodied over the years. Furthermore, Monza is Ferrari’s home, and the atmosphere surrounding the circuit would always be terrific.

The Monza track is very famous for it being one among the high-speed circuits in F1 and corners namely Parabolica, Curva Grande and Lesmos that still remain challenging enough for new technology-driven cars and also the drivers. It’s traditionally recorded that race cars with supreme engine performances to be surviving and obtaining strong results at Monza. The circuit is located on Milan’s outskirts. The Monza circuit has continuously changed its design to keep up with current F1 guidelines and safety requirements that have evolved since1950.

Italian GP Preview, MonzaCharlie Whiting, Race Director at Monza, says going to Monza has been very special for race enthusiasts as it’s very traditional. He says Monza and Monaco are two events in F1 calendar that demanded huge respect from among F1 fans and worldwide as both these places had great history and also fantastic fans for a long time now. Whiting says it’s never tiring for him to visit earlier banking and going back to a time when drivers were very brave to be lapping in the older circuits at great speeds that had no chicanes and then had to confront the banking. He says if he goes back in time he feels it was indeed very dangerous those days and how far they’ve travelled over the years when it comes to safety of drivers. He says they receive enormous support from both the fans and race marshals, but at times the enthusiasm crosses the line of tolerance that they have to move fans away from track edges.

Fact file of Monza

  • The tyre compounds for Pirelli’s home GP this weekend consists of medium for prime tyres and soft for option tyres. At Monza, a combination of soft and medium tyres would be offering teams the opportunity to vary their strategies and compete to their full potential. This same combination was used in the German GP that was closely fought.
  • There are 2 DRS zones used this weekend at Monza, which does increase the chances of overtaking more and the opportunity for drivers would be aplenty.
  • The Italian GP has been in the F1 World Championship calendar every year from 1950 with Monza hosting the most number of GPs that’s 60 in total, which no other circuit has hosted so far in the world. Monza has not hosted an Italian GP race only once in the 1980 GP, which was also held in Italy but in Imola. This year, Italy would be hosting its 62nd Italian F1 GP race and 61st at Monza.
  • Italian GP at Monza dates back to 1922 when it hosted the 1st non-F1 race, which took place at Autodromo on 10 September, 1922. Pietro Bordino won that race when he drove a 6-cylinder Fiat 804.
  • Monza did host F1 in a number of circuit configurations. The notorious and the fastest design was utilized 4 times in the years 1955 through 1961 that featured steep curves banked concrete where racing cars were found compressed on each lap, which eventually had high pressure acting on their suspensions. This was discontinued due to safety issues and also when an accident occurred to a Ferrari driver (German) Wolfgang von Trips. This happened on the 2nd lap in 1961 when the car entered the bank section and collided.
  • So far, 98 drivers from Italy have been in F1 with only 3 winning the Italian GP namely Ludovico Scarfiotti (1966), Alberto Ascari (1951/52) and Nino Farina (1950).
  • However, Italian F1 teams have seen more success at Monza with 22 wins in total from 1950 namely Ferrari (18), Alfa Romeo (1), Toro Rosso (1) and Maserati (2). Alfa Romeo was the first team to win in Italian GP at Monza with the driver being Nina Farina. Fernando Alonso won for Ferrari last year.
  • None of the Italians have won the F1 World Championships from the time of Alberto Ascari (1953). Giancarlo Fisichella was the last from Italy to have won for Renault in the Malaysian GP in 2006.
  • Monza’s main straight is 3rd longest in F1 at 1120 metres, Shanghai International Circuit at 1170 meters and the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi at 1140 metres. High-speed circuit is what Monza’s called, which means 83% of a lap is done throttling to the limit, i.e., full throttle.

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