The story of the Italian Grand Prix is also the story of Monza, even if statistics show that the first race was held at Montichiari, with the Brianza track ready a year later in 1922 and that the 1980 race was run at Imola. The history of Scuderia Ferrari is inextricably intertwined with that of the “Autodromo.”
It’s impossible to tell the tale in just a few lines: the triumphs and the tragedy of Ascari, the world championships with Hill, Lauda, Scheckter, the epic achievements of Schumacher… Then there’s the 5.8 kilometres of track within the Park, the amphitheatre grandstand at the Parabolica, they have all witnessed and created the legend.
There was a time when there were ten kilometres of track, when the layout included the high speed banked oval, which was a spectacle all to itself. The current track has few corners but a fair few hidden dangers. On paper it looks easy, but as it is the track where cars run with the least aerodynamic downforce of the entire season, it requires a particular set-up and a sensitivity from the driver, especially under braking when he has no drag to rely on.
Monza is often compared to Spa in terms of the effort it puts on the engines, but compared to the Belgian circuit, much more braking effort is required and the lateral loads, especially on the tyres, are far less. The long straights and little drag lead to high speeds, even if the 2017 cars will be hampered in this regard by the wide front tyres, when it comes to beating lap records from the past. The rest is all down to the spectators who, year after year build on the tradition of a compulsive race.