The first-ever Formula One included a jazz musician, a Swiss baron, and a Thai prince, among a host of international drivers. Over time, the sport has grown to become a global event that spans 34 countries, but there is one track that is synonymous with the sport. Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix, is one of the few tracks that boasts a rich pedigree that can rival any other track.
Monza Grand Prix location
The Monza Circuit is situated north of Milan, Italy (near Monza). In Italian, it is known as the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza and has been the home of the Italian Grand Prix since 1949, except for 1980. The track stands on the grounds of the Royal Villa of Monza, a Hapsburg palace built during the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Monza Grand Prix features
Part of Monza’s appeal is its classic layout, which has had minimal changes since its’ construction in 1922. It took only 110 days to complete the road course and banked oval section. While the banked oval is no longer a part of the track, three chicanes came into existence to slow the cars slightly, and the current layout has been in use since 1957.
Monza is considered one of the most exciting F1 tracks due to its layout, featuring long straights and wide corners that allow drivers to push their vehicles to full speed for approximately 75% of the course. It is also one of the fastest F1 tracks, with cars regularly reaching over 350 km per hour. In 2004, Juan Pablo Montoya set the fastest recorded lap, with an average speed of 262.242 km per hour.
Monza’s reputation is also closely associated with death, as several drivers lost their lives on the circuit before 1978 when the last driver died. One of the saddest moments in Monza’s history was the Black Day of 1933 when three drivers, Giuseppe Campari, Baconin Borzacchini, and Stanislaw Czaykowski, died during the Italian Grand Prix. The tragic event led to one of the few changes to the track. But it was deemed to slow down cars too much. Thus, two years later, in 1935, the original layout came back.
Interesting facts about the Italian Grand Prix
The finish of the 1971 Grand Prix at Monza is still considered one of the closest Grand Prix finishes ever, with only 0.01 seconds separating the winner, Peter Gethin, and his rival, Ronnie Peterson. A mere 0.61 seconds was the difference between the first five cars, making it an incredible race.
In 1988, Ferrari ended McLaren’s unbeatable winning streak on the Monza track, which was the first Grand Prix since the death of founder Enzo Ferrari. Driver Alain Prost was absent from the race due to engine issues, while legendary driver Ayrton Senna was leading up to lap 50 until a collision with Jean Louis Schlesser, allowing Ferrari to claim a first and second-place win.
Monza is not known for its wet races, with the weather usually sunny and warm. But when it does rain, it makes for some of the most exciting races of the season. In 2008, future world champion Sebastian Vettel sealed an unexpected wet track victory, while high-profile drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen had early exits in qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton, one of the most famous drivers in F1 history, holds the record for the most wins on the Monza track, with five victories. He gained his fifth title on the course in 2018, rivaling the previous record set by Michael Schumacher.
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