The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a permanent racing circuit which currently hosts the Italian Grand Prix. The Italian Grand Prix has been held at Monza annually since the Formula 1 Championship was founded in 1950, except for 1980 (when it was held at Imola). Originally opened in 1922, it closed down during World War II, and did not re-open until 1948. It has a high banked oval (that has not been used in a F1 race since 1961, although a portion of the film Grand Prix was filmed there), a road course for F1 cars, and a smaller junior circuit.
Monza is a complex with two major (and overlapping) components: the boomerang-shaped road course, varying in length over the years between 5.7 and 6.3 km; and the high speed oval, originally slightly banked asphalt, but with huge banked concrete curves built in 1955, only to be abandoned less than 15 years later.
The circuit was constructed in a royal park just north of the town of Monza in the spring of 1922. The original plans called for a wide variety of roads and curves, but this soon ran into opposition, because of the proposed removal of most of the trees and foliage of the park. A compromise was hammered out, where the speed oval and some connecting roads would be constructed, along with upgrading several of the existing roads and paths in the park. The track was constructed in 110 days, using 3,500 workers, with the majority of the focus on the banked oval. After the road surface was completed, it was allowed to cure over the summer, a novel concept for the time. On August 20, several local drivers took turns driving Fiats around the track as officials made speeches and fans gawked at the wonderful new track.
What they saw was a 10 km long (now believed to be somewhat shorter than that) road/oval combination. The front straight was enormous, close to 100 meters wide. And it was necessary, as the cars went by twice in the course of a lap. A full lap would start on the driver's left side of the front straight, then went down to the Curva Grande and on to the road circuit. After having passed under one of the banked turns on the back part of the circuit, the cars returned after having negotiated a semicircular Parabolica corner, somewhat north of the current one. They were now driving down the right side of the front straight, and just past the pits, entered the first of the two 180° wide banked curves, one of which passes over the road course using a small bridge. The cars exited the second banked corner on the left side of the front straight, thus completing a lap.
Three weeks after the grand opening, the Italian Grand Prix was held. It was won by Pietro Bordino, driving a Fiat 804. Bordino also recorded the fastest lap, at 4:05.0. Another, less positive Monza custom was started that weekend, when German driver Gregor Kuhn was killed, after he lost control and crashed into some trees.
The current circuit, which has been used since 2000, features the Road Course layout without using the banked oval. The 5.8 km circuit is the fastest on the current calendar in terms of average speed.
The circuit starts with a long run from the start/finish line to Variante del Rettifilo, a slow right-left-right chicane, which leads directly into Curva Grande, a long, fast right hand sweeping corner taken at up to 210 mph. Braking for Variante del Roggia is tricky in the shadows of the bridge and trees, and this left-right chicane requires accurate braking. Out of Roggia is a short run to the double-right-hand Curva di Lesmo, a tricky double corner which requires the use of all of the track. A good exit from the second Lesmo corner is necessary to maximise speed down the bumpy straight leading to Variante Ascari. In 2011, this straight was the first of two DRS zones on the Monza circuit. Ascari is a fast left-right-left chicane where all the run-off is used on exit. This leads to a long straight and a tricky braking point for Curva de Parabolica a parabolic 180° corner with gravel on the outside. A good exit is essential to help with the run to the start-finish line.
Grand Prix Winners at MonzaEdit
|Italian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Monza (1950 - 1979, 1981 - Present), Imola (1980)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016|
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