Preview – Italian GP

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Italy, Autodromo Nazionale di Monzait

Formula One touches down in Monza for the 13th round of the 2017 Championship. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza which became a spiritual home and a pilgrimage destination for true racing fans is a real festival of speed with its never-ending and frightening straights.


The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza opened its doors back in 1922. At that time, nobody could forecast that the world’s third purpose-built race track after those of Brooklands and Indianapolis would once become one of the main spiritual homes of motorsport.

The Italian GP established itself as one of the main pillars of F1 by being one of the longest running events on the calendar. The event was the last race of the inaugural season of the sport and it has been held every year since then. From the current calendar, only the British, the Belgian, the Monaco and the Italian GP were part of the calendar of the 1950 campaign and the Italian Grand Prix is the only one next to the British GP which has featured the calendar in every year.

The history of racing on Italian soil started before F1 was called into being: the former oval layout and then the very unique high-speed nature of the current circuit and the beautiful scenery of the Royal Villa located in a woodland setting all played part in the Italian GP’s merciless conquest in the world of motorsport.

The track is located just in the skirts of the beautiful town of Monza. This town which is the third-largest city of Lombardy with its population of 120000 habitants is best known for its Grand Prix racing circuit. The track is some 15 kilometres north of Milan. Visitors can reach the beautiful town of Monza by car or by public transport. By train, it only takes eleven minutes from the central railway station.

The race track of Monza became a spiritual home and a pilgrimage destination for true racing fans

Track walk

In Monza, drivers travel clockwise 53 times during a Grand Prix. The 5793m long circuit has 11 corners, four are left-handed ones while seven are right-handed bends. Drivers reach speeds above 250kph in only one single corner while the velocity stays below the 100kph mark in two bends.

The wide, seemingly never-ending start-finish straight is the best overtaking point. 638m is the distance from the first row until the first corner which means a merciless drag race down to the first bend at the start.

Teams trim their wings down to achieve the highest top-speeds in the entire season because the often mentioned never-ending straights force them to minimize the drag. Top speeds are above the 340kph on the start-finish straight. These high speeds lead to an average speed of 237kph.

Drivers spend around 76 per cent of the lap on full throttle, the longest section where drivers press the throttle into the floor lasts 16 seconds which happens on a 1520-meter-long section.
The workload for the gearboxes is medium, drivers changes gears 46 times during a lap.

Strategies have tended to a one-stop solution over the past years as tyres proved to be durable and the time loss while travelling through the pit lane is enormous. Drivers have to comply with the speed limit 422m long.

The fuel usage per lap is 1.82kg. The time penalty per lap of fuel is 0.31 second. It mainly does not come from the loss in cornering speed, but from the loss during the heavy braking zones and fierce accelerations.

Most successful drivers and teams

Michael Schumacher claimed the highest number of victories around the historic track of Monza with his five triumphs. Ronnie Peterson, Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio, Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Stirling Moss and Nelson Piquet all crossed the line first three times. Fernando Alonso has won the Italian GP two times in his career.

Ferrari is the most successful constructor by far. The Italian team won on home soil 18 times. McLaren proved to be fastest 10 times, Williams 6 times while both Lotus and Mercedes won the GP five times.

As for the pole positions, Ayrton Senna, Juan Manuel Fangio and Lewis Hamilton started from the first position five times. John Surtees, Juan-Pablo Montya, Sebastian Vettel, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher set the fastest time in the qualifying session three times.

Ferrari won the qualifying 19 times while McLaren set the pace 11 times in the all-important Saturday session.