Monza F1 Italia cartoon

Italian Grand Prix history

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 F1 Gran Premio DItalia cartoon

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.

Would you like to visit Monza someday? Do you imagine being present in one of the fastest F1 tracks? Knowing some Italian before going will also accelerate your experience. Check out this podcast-style Italian course. Click here to test drive it for seven days for free!

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  1. Hi, thanks for this post. formula one is an interesting race and is so cool that it’s international. I really like to visit Monza cause I like Italy so much and it would be nice to be present at one of the F1 tracks. but I wish no one dies during these races its terrible to observe such a bad accident.

  2. I enjoyed reading this article as it was very informative and engaging. Monza is a legendary circuit for Formula 1 fans, as it has a rich history and a unique layout. It demands a good balance between straight-line speed and cornering grip from the cars and drivers.

    Sadly for Italians, Ferrari, the local team, has struggled to match the pace of their rivals, especially Mercedes and Red Bull, in recent years. But they came close to winning in 2022 when Charles Leclerc finished second. Unfortunately, the Italian grand prix in 2023 has been canceled due to bad weather conditions, so we have to wait until the next year to see a new race in Monza.

  3. This article provides an insightful look into the history and features of the Monza Circuit, one of the most iconic tracks in the world of Formula One. I love the way you highlighted the classic layout of the track, which has remained largely unchanged since its construction in 1922. The article also touches on the darker side of Monza’s reputation, with several drivers losing their lives on the circuit before 1978. The inclusion of interesting facts and anecdotes about the Italian Grand Prix adds depth and context to the article. Overall, this piece is a great read for anyone interested in Formula One racing or motorsports in general.

  4. This article of the history of the Italian Grand Prix was really interesting.  I love Italy and have been to a few places but never to Monza of Milan. 

    I have watched the Grand Prix on TV – always cheering on Lewis Hamilton as he’s from the UK, like me!  However, I didn’t know the history of Monza and that it was constructed over 100 years ago!  Thank you for giving an insight into its rich history. 

    1. You should try to plan a visit to Monza of Milan and watch the Grand Prix in person! It is an exciting location to add to your list of places visited in Italy.

      And, of course, remember to brush up on your Italian racing-related lingo before you go!

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