Italian Grand Prix
Italian Grand Prix
The Italian Grand Prix is one of the oldest national Grand Prix in the world and has been held since 1921. In 2013, having staged 83 Grands Prix, it became the most held national Grand Prix in the world. The national circuit at Monza hosted all except one (1980 held at Imola) Italian Grands Prix since 1921.
In 1950, the Italian Grand Prix was chosen as one of the seven races to participate in the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. Along with the British Grand Prix, the Italians have hosted the Championship event every year since Championship’s inception.
The Italian Grand Prix was a part of the World Manufacturers’ Championship from 1925 to 1928. From 1931 to 1931 and from 1935 to 1938 the Grand Prix was held as a part of the European Championship. It was crowned as the European Grand Prix (an honorary designation) of the year seven times between 1923 and 1967.
Four other venues have played host to the Italian Grand Prix before the advent of the World Championship. Montichiari, Livorno, Milan and Turin have hosted the event once each between 1921 and 1948.
Lap Length: 5.793 km
No of Laps: 53
Race Distance: 306.72 km
Race Lap Record: 1:21.046 Reubens Barrichello, 2004, Ferrari
All Time Lap record: 1:18.887 Lewis Hamilton (Qualification), 2020, Mercedes
When was the first Italian Grand Prix staged?
The first Italian Grand Prix was held at the Circuito Fascia D’Oro at Brescia-Montichiari in Lombardy. The event was staged on a 17.3 km circuit on 4 September 1921. Only Fiat and Ballot cars participated in the race which the Frenchman Joules Goux won. The Monza circuit was ready in time for the next Grand Prix.
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the national racing circuit of Italy was under construction. when the first Grand Prix was held. When ready, it was the third permanent motor racing circuit in the world behind Brookland in England and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the USA.
Italian motorsport heroes, Vincenzo Lancia and Felice Nazarro laid the lst two bricks at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. The circuit is located near the city of Monza, north of Milan.
Built inside the Royal Villa of Monza park, the circuit is 10 km long. The first Grand Prin was held at Monza on 10 September 1922.
The first Grand Prix at Monza was won by the home racer Pietro Bordino. The subsequent four races were also won by Italian drivers while the Italian Grand Prix in 1927 was won by the Frenchman Roberto Benoist.
The first of the many tragedies that the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was to witness, befell the circuit during the 1928 event. Italians Emilio Materassi and Giulio Foresti were in a fierce battle on the fast circuit when Materassi’s front wheel brushed against Foresti’s rear wheel.
Materassi’s lost control of his Bugatti and cleared a 15” foot wide ditch and ploughed into an unprotected grandstand. Materassi died and so did 27 spectators in the grandstand opposite the pits. Twenty- six spectators were injured as a result of the accident
The Italian Grand Prix was halted for the next two years because of the disaster. The race returned to the Monza circuit in 1931. The event, held in late May instead of the routine early September, saw joint winners. Guiseppe Campari and Tazio Nuvolari, both of whom shared an Alfa Romeo were declared winners.
On 10 September 1933, another tragedy struck at the Monza circuit. An oil spill on the track caused Baconin Borzacchini to lose control of his Maserati. His car flipped over many times and Borzacchini was stuck under the car when it came to rest. He later died in a hospital.
Guiseppe Campari, who swerved to avoid the Maserati went over the banking and crashed his Alfa Romeo into trees next to the track. Campari died from a broken neck on the spot. On the eighth lap, Stanislas Czaykowski’s car engine blew up. Unable to put out the fire on his body caused by the ensuing fire, Czaykowski burned to death.
The disaster caused the AIACR, the then governing body of Grands Prix, to reflect on the safety needed at racing venues. The 1934 Italian Grand Prix was held on a shorter version of the Florio circuit at the Monza circuit.
The new Florio circuit was deemed too slow and the two subsequent races were held on the proper Florio circuit with some chicanes introduced. Mercedes and Auto Union competed in these races and the Silver Arrows won all the races through to 1937.
The 1937 event was staged on a street circuit in Livorno. The Grand Prix returned to Monza in 1938 and was won by the Tazio Nuvolari. Nuvolari was piloting a mid-engine Auto Union car. The beginning of the World War meant that the Italian Grand Prix was not held till 1947.
The Grand Prix returned to a new venue, the Fairgrounds Park in the city of Portello in 1947. Carlo Felice Trossi won the race while Giovanni Bracco went off the track killing five spectators. The 1948 race was held in Valentino Park in Turin. The event returned to Monza in 1949 and stayed there till 1979.
What changes were made at Monza between 1949 and 1979?
The Monza track was damaged from the war and military use. The track re-laid with the banking built over. Only the road circuit was used with minimal modifications. The final sweeping corner was changed into two right-angled turns.
The Italian GrandPrix 2021 is scheduled to be held from September 10-12. We will give you all the information that you require to travel to the Monza circuit. The tickets for 2021 have not yet been announced. We will update this page as soon as the tickets are on sale.
Alberto Ascari, son of the late Antonio Ascari (winner of the 1924 Italian Grand Prix) came out top in the 1949 Italian contest. In 1950 The Italian Grand Prix formed part of a select group of seven venues for the World Drivers’ Championship held by the FIA.
Giuseppe Farina won the inaugural Championship race in Italy and went on to win the World Championship that year. Alberto Ascari continued the Italian domination of the home race by winning the following two events in 1951 and 1952 events.
Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina earned the honours at the1953 Grand Prix. An exciting race in 1954 saw Fangio win the race while Ascari and Sterling Ross both fell after furiously competing with Fangio. Ross pushed his Maserati over the finishing line to finish third.
In 1954, extensive modifications were made to the Monza circuit. A new corner, Curva Parabolica, was introduced and new facilities were built. Huge concrete banking was built to replace the original narrow bankings.
The extra track used for the old course was eliminated, the Curva Sud was moved slightly north and the course was joined with the road course. Fangio again won the Grand Prix in 1955 and the event also saw the exit of Mercedes from Grand Prix racing till 2010.
The 1956 event saw another exciting race with several top contenders retiring due to mechanical problems and some changing cars. Sterling Moss ran out of fuel while in contention. Leader Luigi Musso retired while Moss refuelled. Sterling Moss stormed to a win even as Fangio was closing in on him fast.
The organisers opted to use only the road circuit in 1957 as the newly constructed bankings were creating problems for cars. Moss won the event in 1957 and 1959 while Britain Tony Brooks took home the trophy in 1958.
Ferrari, with their front-engined cars, although powerful, was not performing very well as compared to the mid-engined British cars. The Italian organisers reincluded the banking with the road circuit making the circuit even faster. This suited the more powerful Ferrari cars. The British teams promptly boycotted the event.
In 1961 Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips were competing for the World Championship, Jim Clark slightly obstructed Von Trips and the latter’s car flew over the embankment and into people who were standing on it. Von Trips and 14 spectators died as Clark survived and Hill won the race.
Graham Hill was victorious in the 1962 race which was held only on the road circuit. The banking was not used for Formula one again. The authorities did try to include banking in 1963, but the drivers threatened a walk-off. John Surtees won in 1964 whale Jackie Stewart won his first Championship race in 1965.
Ludovico Scarfiotti in 1966, Surtees in 1967, Danny Hulme in 1968 and Stewart in 1969, all came out on top. In 1970 Jochen Rindt died not because of the failure of the brake shaft and the crash, but because he had not fastened his seat belts and his throat was slit by the belt buckle. Clay Regazzoni won the race.
Formula One cars had become faster over the years and 1971 saw the fastest race ever up to that time. Peter Gethin won the race but the constant slipstreaming of each other was noted by the FIA and changes were made to the Monza circuit.
Two chicanes, one at the end of the pit straight and the other at the Vialone curve were added following the 1971 race. Emerson Fittipaldi won the 1972 event and his first World Championship at only 25 years of age. Stewart won his third and final championship with a victory at Monza.
While 1974 saw the Vialone Chicane changed and named Variante Ascari, after Alberto Ascari, 11975 was a year to remember. The Italian manufacturer Ferrari had regrouped and emerged as a front runner in motorsport racing that year.
Niki Lauda was chasing his first World Championship while his teammate Clay Reggazoni was chasing the Italian Grand Prix title. Regazzoni won the race while Lauda came in third and claimed the coveted Championship he was seeking. Ferrari was awarded the Constructors’ Championship that year at Monza.
Further changes were implemented in 1976. Two chicanes were installed before the Curva Grande and called Variante Rettifillo. Another chicane called Variante della Roggia was placed before the Lesmo bends. Peterson won the 1976 race while Mario Andretti won the following year.
Monza saw another tragedy in 1977. When the cars approached the first corner after the start of the race, there was a horrific and fiery pileup. Peterson’s car crashed into the Armco barriers and caught fire. James Hunt, Partick Depailler and Regazzoni rescued Peterson from the inferno. But Peterson died the following day from embolism complications.
Upon Peterson’s accident and death, the Monza track was upgraded and runoff areas were introduced at the Curva Grande and Lesmo corners. Scheckler, now recruited by Ferrari, won the race in 1979.
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza: 1980 and after
In 1979 the organisers at Monza decided they wanted a year off to upgrade the circuit and build a new pit complex. It was decided that the Formula One Italian Grand Prix would be held at Autodromo Dino Ferrari, otherwise referred to as Imola.
Nelson Piquet won the Italian Grand Prix held at Imola in 1980. Although the Italian Grand Prix returned to Monza in 1981, Imola too became a regular venue in the Formula One calendar year. It hosted the San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006.
Alain Prost claimed the 1981 Italian Grand Prix driving a Renault. While his teammate, Rene Arnoux won the race the following year Prost came back strongly to claim the coveted trophy in 1985. But this time Alain Prost was driving a McLaren.
Alain Prost was making winning the Italian Grand Prix as he won the 1989 event after Ayrton Senna’s Honda engine expired. But Senna claimed the prize the following year while Nigel Mansell challenged and beat Senna to the finishing line in 1991.
Senna won the event again in 1992 and while Prost and Damon Hill battled hard in 1992, Prost’s engine failed while leading. Prost and Hill were teammates driving Williams cars. Then tragedy struck at the Imola San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger’s death and injuries to Reubens Barrichello and several mechanics and spectators saw demand from FIA for changes to the Monza track. Despite bureaucratic and environmental obstructions the track was modified.
Further changes were made at Monza the following year, for a race that young Michael Schumacher won in 1996. In 1999, Mika Hakkinen, who was leading the championship, crashed. He broke down crying. In 2000 Variante was reduced from a three corner sequence to a two corner one.
Even then a mishap at Variante della Roggia, in which a loose wheel from Fretzen’s Jordan struck a Marshal in the head and chest. The Marshal succumbed to his injuries the next day. But Ferrari ruled the roost in the early 2000s winning the Italian Grand Prix in 2000 and 2002-2004.
The 2006 Grand Prix saw Michael Schumacher, the winner announcing his retirement from Formula One racing. Sebastian Vettel became the youngest driver to win a Formula One race in 2008 by winning the Italian Grand Prix on a rain-soaked Monza circuit.
Vettel also passed Fernando Alonso in 2011 in a spectacular fashion along the long Curva Grande to claim the top position on the podium. As Rome volunteered to host the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, uncertainty reigned for a few months over Monza’s future as a Formula One venue.
In 2010, Bernie Eccelstone, the then CEO of Formula One signed a contract with the organisers of the Monza circuit. The contract extended Monza’s reign for a further 5 years till 2016. In 2019 more modifications were done at the circuit eliminating the Curva Grande and the first chicane.
Monza is still going strong and is an integral part of the Formula One calendar. Lewis Hamilton set a new qualifying lap record in 2020 at the Monza circuit. Driving a Mercedes, he clocked 1:18.887 at an average speed of 264.362 km/h. Pierre Gasly secured his maiden Formula One victory.
How is the Monza Circuit today?
If you have got the impression that the Monza track is about tragedy and melancholy, let me assure you otherwise. Ancient that circuit is, it is steeped in tradition. The circuit has seen its fair share of classic battles among the legendary Formula One drivers of the world.
Add to that the lovely setting in the woodlands of the Royal Villa of Monza park and the fanaticism of Italian fans for motorsport racing. If you still haven’t got the complete picture, The Italian Grand Prix circuit is built for speed.
The Formula One drivers love the track and the fans adore watching a Formula One race at Monza.
Monza Circuit Details
The circuit is more conducive to cars having raw power and good aerodynamic efficiency. With its long straights, the Monza circuit helps drivers with fast cars and good technical capability.
The gradual gradient from the exit of the Lesmo to Variant Ascari means that the cars have very little down force and a lesser grip on the asphalt. Drivers have to be careful of under steering and finding themselves off the track.
On the return track, however, the drivers need to use the opposite lock technique to keep their cars in line. Its many straights and sweeping curves make the Monza circuit an inviting option for motor racing drivers.
The Asphalt track tests the cars for both their power as well as their braking systems. It is a stern test of the car’s engine as well as the driver’s technical driving ability and his powers to concentrate for the duration of the race.
Formula One drivers know that they are risking their lives every time they enter their cars and fasten their seat belts. Yet the excitement of racing at Monza and its fearsome reputation makes every motor racing driver wish to race at Monza.
Who has won the most races at the Italian Grand Prix?
Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher before him have won the event five times. Hamilton equalled Schumacher’s record in the recently held Italian Grand Prix in 2020. Nelson Piquet, the Brazilian, has won the race four times.
Twelve Italians have won their home Grand Prix. Among them is Alberto Ascari. Ascari won the race once before the World Championship and twice after. Ludovico Scarffiotti is the last Italian to win the event in 1966.
Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina), Sterling Moss (Britain), Jackie Stewart (Britain), Ronnie Peterson (Sweden) and Alain Prost (France) have all won the Grand Prix three times in the twentieth century. Reubens Barrichello is the only driver to win the event three times in the current century other than Hamilton and Schumacher.
How much are tickets for the 2021 Italian Grand Prix?
Tickets for the 2021 Italian Grand Prix are not yet announced. As soon as the tickets are announced, we will update this page and bring you up to date with the prices. The Italian Grand Prix 2020 was held behind closed doors because of the COVID19 pandemic.
The tickets for the 2020 Italian Grand Prix much before the pandemic struck, were not different from those declared in 2019. We don’t expect that the tickets for 2021 to be much different either, given that all venues have been affected this year by the pandemic.
Which are the best places to view the Italian Grand Prix from?
The grandstands at the Monza circuit are all around some of the most iconic corners in Formula One circuits around the world. Given that the Italian Grand Prix circuit is among the fastest circuits in the world. These corners see a lot of action and will give spectators their money’s worth.
The general admission areas are located on the inside of the track and are also spread along the critical curves around the circuit. Although the circuit lacks a pronounced gradient, a ticket in the General Admission areas is also good value for money at the Monza circuit.
The best part of the layouts of the grandstands as well as the general admission areas is that the spectator is spoilt for choice. What you get to see is what you pay for and every seat at the circuit is worth the money it costs
Things to know before booking tickets at Monza
● Children, including 11 years of age and below, are allowed free access to the General Admission areas on all days of the race weekend. But you have to book a free ticket for the child when booking your ticket.
● Grandstand seats for children (11 years and below) cost around €100 for the race weekend. But children have to be accompanied by a ticket paying adult. A grandstand ticket for children will cost around €100 for the weekend.
● Seven of the grandstands are permanent structures and are covered. All other grandstands are temporary structures and are uncovered. Big television screens are in front of all grandstands.
● While single-day tickets are available at €150 or less for Saturday’s, a single day ticket for the race day will cost slightly less than the ticket for the whole weekend.
● General Admission tickets are not available for Fridays only. The GA ticket will cost €60 for Saturday, €90 for Sunday and €90/100 for 3 days of the weekend.
● Disabled persons have free access to the General Admission areas on all three days. Grandstand N25 is reserved for disabled fans who use a wheelchair.
● If you have a ticket for the weekend you are welcomed to sit in any grandstand on Friday. Only the Central Grandstand along the Main Straight is out of bounds.
● All grandstand ticket holders have access to any General Admission Area. This gives fans a great opportunity to move around the circuit and view the arena from different points on the circuit.
Grandstands on the Pit Straight
There are eight grandstands along the start-finish straight. The Central covered grandstand is the costliest among these. As expected, in any grandstand on the Main Straight you will get to see the start and finish of the race and to watch the podium celebrations.
You will get to see very little action on the track. A better option would be choosing one of the grandstands that have bleachers and is on the Main Straight. The bleacher seats are both affordable and the television screens keep you in on the action.
Grandstands around Variante del Rettifilo
The Prima Variante or Variante del Rittifilo is the first chicane that the cars encounter after the start-finish line. Five grandstands are spread around this chicane and the prices of the seats in theses grandstands determine what action you get to see.
The Alta Velocita stands are located on the inside of the chicane and the Alta Velocita C is the pick of these grandstands. On the outside of the track is one large grandstand divided into two sections, A and B.
The Easterna Variante B is a little further away from the action than the Easterna Variante A. The seats are also priced accordingly.
Grandstands around the Seconda Variante
Two grandstands are spaced on the inside of the Seconda Variante (Second Chicane but the Third Corner). Of these, the Seconda Variante Grandstand is closer to the track and the action than the lower-priced Roggia Grandstand. The grandstands are a bit far from the entrance gates.
Grandstands around the Ascari Variante
Eight grandstands are spread along the inside of the Ascari Variante (Ascari Chicane). These are along the eighth high-speed corner of the circuit offering plenty of overtaking opportunities.
While Ascari Uno and Ascari Tre are closer to the track, Ascari Due is a bit far away from the track. All three grandstands are located around the and the Ascari Uno grandstand offers the best views of any action. Ascari Grandstand is after the exit of the turn and before Curva Parabolica.
Grandstands around Curva Parabolica
Curva Parabolica is a reputed high-speed turn in Formula One and is the last turn before the longest Main Straight at Monza. Five Grandstands are spread along the outside of the curve and three along the inside.
To choose the best seats among these stands, you just go by the alphabetical order of the Grandstand starting with the Parabolica Grandstand which is closest to the turn. The Parabolica is also a covered grandstand.
As a result, you get better views of the action from Laterale A than either Latereale Parabolica B or C. Lateralle Parabolica D seats are priced higher than those in Laterale Parabolica E and are better. All these stands are on the outside of the curve.
On the inside of the track. Interna Parabolica A, though priced cheaper, is a better place to watch the action than Interna Parabolica B.
General Admission Areas at Monza
The General Admission Areas at Monza give you very good value for money of any other circuit in the world. Notwithstanding the lack of elevated areas, if you are willing to do some walking, a walk around the circuit will add to the pleasure of viewing the race from different areas.
Add to that the ‘Free Friday’ when you can sit in any stand even with a General Admission ticket. The Monza circuit is built in a park and the setting is beautiful. Enjoy yourself on Friday and mark the position you will take before the race day.
Be sure to occupy your space early on the qualification and race days. Once the Tifosi (fans in Italian) arrive you will be crowded out. If you still have the stamina., do take a walk in the woodlands and check out the view from the Curve di Lesmo.
How do you get to the Monza Circuit?
Milan is one of the most popular destinations in Italy. It is connected by air, rail and road not only to all other cities in Europe but to cities all around the world. The Monza Circuit is only 16 km north of the city centre.
You can either choose to fly into Milan or drive from any city in Europe, though the local traffic is pretty dense during the racing weekend. Getting to the city and the circuit by train is the best option one can choose.
Linate, Melpensa, Bergamo Orio Al Serio are all airports located around Milan. While Linate is just 8 km away from Milan, Melpensa and Bergamo Orio Al Serio are 40 and 45 km away. All the airports are well connected with all European cities while Melpensa is connected with the USA besides the Middle Eastern and Asian hubs.
Italy has a well-developed train network and is served by high speed trains connecting all the important cities in Europe. You will have to book the seats in advance. Eurail pass holders are allocated limited seats.
Motorways are also well developed in Italy and hiring a car is a good opportunity to see more of Italy if you have more time on your hands. The motorway tolls can tax your pocket though. Whether you pay for a particular stretch or per kilometre is decided by the company running that stretch of the motorway.
The best way to get to the Monza circuit is to take a train from one of Milan’s many train stations to the Monza railway station. You will have to walk for as long as 30 minutes to reach the circuit gates and further to get to your place of watching.
Shuttle buses are also available from the Monza station to the Monza circuit and drop you off at one of the car parks outside the Monza Park. Taxis do pick up fans from central Milan and drop you off at the Monza circuit.
Though driving is an option the traffic can be crowded on the local roads, many local roads are closed for public use during the racing weekend and parking is only available outside the Monza Park.
Where do you stay while at the Italian Grand Prix?
Monza, by itself, is a small town and whatever accommodation is available within the town or around it is booked by the teams and organisers well in advance. You can try for accommodation in the tow but at exorbitant costs during the racing weekend.
For the budget conscious, the best option is either to camp or stay in one of the close by cities or towns. Milan is just 15 km away from Monza. Although Milan has accommodations for all budgets, hotels do hike up their prices during the event.
Staying at Bergamo or places surrounding Lake Camo is not that far off and is worth a consideration. Two camping sites are set up around the Monza circuit itself. Camping Autodromo is right outside the circuit and within the Monza Park,
Camping Autodromo is the official camping site of the organisers of the event, The organisers also put up another temporary site for the race weekend. Called the Eastern GP Village, the site is located at the northern end of the circuit. Both sites have good amenities and are priced reasonably.