Italy’s Autodromo di Monza hosts round 13 of the 2011 FIA Formula One world championship, the last European grand prix of the season before six ‘flyaway’ races across Asia, India, the Middle East and South America. The Italian Grand Prix is one of only four to have survived from the first year of the Formula One World Championship, 1950, and the hordes of Ferrari fans – tifosi – who attend every year, in support of their ‘home’ team, always provide a charged raceweekend atmosphere.
The Autodromo di Monza is famed as one of the highest-speed Formula One circuits and corners such as the Lesmos, Parabolica and Curva Grande remain challenging to the modern generation of cars and drivers. Traditionally cars with the best engine performance achieve the strongest results. Located within the grounds of a former royal park, on the outskirts of Milan, Monza has adapted its layout many times since 1950 to keep pace with evolving Formula One safety requirements.
FROM RACE DIRECTOR, CHARLIE WHITING
“This is one of those races everyone loves going to, because it’s so traditional. Monaco and Monza are really the two big ones in this respect, with a great sense of history and fantastic fans. I never tire of going to see the old banking and thinking of the dangers drivers faced then and how brave they were to do a lap of the old circuit at tremendous speed, with no chicanes and then face the banking. It was really incredibly dangerous and serves as a very vivid reminder of how far we’ve come in terms of safety. The support from the fans is extremely enthusiastic and from the marshals, too – sometimes too much so and we may have to curb their enthusiasm to keep them away from the edges of the track.”
FAST FACTS - ITALIAN GP
► Pirelli’s tyre compounds for its home grand prix this weekend are prime: medium (white) and option: soft (yellow). At Monza, the closely matched characteristics of the medium and soft tyre will give teams plenty of scope for varied strategy choices, as was the case when this compound combination was last used – at the closely fought German Grand Prix.
► Two DRS zones will be used for this weekend’s race, raising the possibility of a greatly increased number of overtaking opportunities.
► The Italian Grand Prix has been part of the Formula One world championship every year since 1950 and Monza has hosted more F1 Grands Prix – 60 – than any other circuit. Only once since 1950 has Monza not hosted the Italian Grand Prix: the 1980 event was held at the Imola circuit in the Italian principality of San Marino. This year’s race will be the 62nd Italian Formula One Grand Prix and the 61st held at Monza…
► … Italian Grands Prix at Monza, however, date back to 1922 – the first (non-Formula One) being held at the Autodromo on September 10 1922. That race was won by Pietro Bordino, driving a six-cylinder Fiat 804.
► Monza has hosted Formula One in several different circuit configurations. The fastest – and most notorious – was the layout used four times between 1955 and 1961, featuring steeply banked concrete curves, into which cars were ‘compressed’ each lap, owing to the tremendous forces on their suspension. Growing safety concerns and a fatal accident to German Ferrari driver Wolfgang von Trips, on lap two of the 1961 race, after a collision on entry to a banked section, led to its use being discontinued for Formula One.
► Of 98 Italian drivers to have raced in Formula One, only 3 have won the Italian Grand Prix: Nino Farina in 1950; Alberto Ascari in 1951-52 and Ludovico Scarfiotti in 1966.
► Italian teams have, however, been rather more successful at Monza, taking a total of 22 wins since 1950. They are Ferrari (18); Maserati (2); Alfa Romeo (1); Toro Rosso (1). Alfa Romeo, in fact, won the very first Formula One Italian GP at Monza, with Nino Farina driving; last year’s race was won by Fernando Alonso for Ferrari.
► No Italian has won the Formula One World Championship since Alberto Ascari in 1953; the last Italian to win a Grand Prix was Giancarlo Fisichella, for Renault, in Malaysia, 2006.
► The main straight at Monza is the third longest in Formula One, at 1120m, just behind the back straight at Shanghai International Circuit (1170m) and Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina (1140m). The circuit’s high-speed nature means that 83 percent of the lap is spent at ‘full throttle’ – the most of any 2011 circuit.
Circuit Data Autodromo di monza
Length of lap 5.793km
Lap record 1:21.046 (Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)
Start line/finish line offset 0.309km
Total number of race laps 53
Total race distance 306.720km
Pitlane speed limits 60km/h during practice; 100km/h during qualifying and race
Changes to the circuit since 2010
The length of kerbing has been altered to prevent cars leaping across them. There are no other major changes.