PRIXVIEW – Italian Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Round eight of the F1 season takes us to Italy for the first of three races in the country this year for the Italian Grand Prix. Monza has held nearly every Grand Prix since it was built in 1922 and has Grand Prix’s than any other circuit on the calendar holding the race all but once since the formation of the world championship in 1950.

Monza took just three months to build in 1922, it was 3.4 square kilometres (1.31 sq mi) site with 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of macadamised road – comprising a 4.5 kilometres (2.80 mi) loop track, and a 5.5 kilometres (3.42 mi) road track. A week later it hosted its first Grand Prix.

Monza has had its fair share of accidents the most deadliest crash was in the 1928 race when Emilio Materassi and twenty-seven people were killed. This lead to changes to the Grand Prix circuit, but in the history of the world championship fifty-two drivers, thirty-five spectators and at least one marshal has been killed.

Monza has seen many different circuit layouts over the years, used by F1, including the oval and the road course, now the Grand Prix circuit, used together. Although no longer used it was the longest layout of the circuit seeing Stirling Moss and Phil Hill both won twice in this period, with Hill’s win at Monza making him the first American to win a Formula One race.

The circuit is and has always been one which has rewarded high speed and downforce, this makes the slipstreams around the circuit gives opportunities for overtaking. Monza can on average see speeds of over 200mph, with the current record in the turbo-hybrid era being 224mph.

Monza places unique on the current F1 calendar for its mix of long straights and slow chicanes. The low downforce circuit puts strain on engines, which are on full power for 80% of the lap, and gearboxes, which are used heavily in the chicanes.

The first world championship Grand Prix, say Giuseppe Farina take the victory and secure the driver’s championship after Juan Manwell Fangio’s gearbox failed and Taruffi handed over his car, only for it to drop a valve and retire. Ascari won again in 1951 and 1952.

1954 saw the foundations of the modern Grand Prix circuit be laid, although it was still using the banking of the oval circuit until 1960. Mercedes won their last Grand Prix until 2013 in 1955, the Silver Arrows have dominated at Monza since the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era.

Monza is one of the circuits which has largely dominated by the car with the best downforce and power, and in recent times that has been Mercedes. Through out the history of the race that has been the case, including accusations in the sixties that the re-induction of the banking was to favour Ferrari.

1966 was the last time an Italian won a race at Monza with Ludovico Scarfiotti taking his only win in F1. However, Italian-American Mario Andretti would take victory is 1977. During this era, Monza saw a far share of fatalities, Jochen Rindt the only posthumous champion killed in qualifying in 1970.

A total of twelve Italian drivers have won the Italian Grand Prix; ten before World War II and three when it was part of the world championship; most recently Ludovico Scarfiotti won in 1966. But, that can be made up for the number of wins which Ferrari have with nineteen wins.

The current layout with the Variante Rettifilo chicane was introduced in 2000, which co-inside with the return to dominance by Ferrari, with Michael Schumacher who won the race five times in seven years. Sebastian Vettel won his first Grand Prix in a Toro Rosso (Alpha Tauri) in the wet becoming then the sports youngest race winning.

But since the beginning of the hybrid era, Mercedes have dominated the race with Hamilton taking four wins. This season, the silver arrows look unstoppable as this circuit requires high speeds and downforce, the circuit is one which often sees new records set in terms of lap records and speeds.

Facts and figures

Round 08
Race Formula 1 Gran Premio Heineken d’Italia 2020
Venue Modern Grand Prix Circuit, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy
Circuit Length 5.793km (3.600 mi)
Laps 53
Race Distance 306.720km (190.596 mi)
Lap Record 01:21.046 (official, Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)

01:19.119 (qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 2018)

Most wins drivers Michael Schumacher (5)

Lewis Hamilton

Most wins manufacture Ferrari (19)

Fast facts

  • The closest ever F1 finish was recorded at Monza in 1971 when Peter Gethin won by one hundredth from Ronnie Peterson. The top five finishers were covered by just six tenths.
  • More than eighty Italians have started their home Grand Prix, but the last local winner was Ludovico Scarfiotti in 1966. Mario Andretti, who won in 1977, was born in Italy but competed for the USA.
  • Monza is a happy hunting ground for Lewis Hamilton, who has taken the win here in four of the past six races. But he has finished on the podium in each of those, adding an eighth career top 3 at the Italian Grand Prix this time
  • In the past 17 races here, the 2009 Italian Grand Prix is the only time that the polesitter has failed to finish in the top two. In 2009, Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the race on the final lap having started from pole.

Event timetable

Session

Local

BST

Friday

P1 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30
P2 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30

Saturday

P3 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying 15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00

Sunday

Race 15:10 14:10

What happened in 2019?

Fresh from his first win at Spa, Leclerc took pole by nine hundredths ahead of Hamilton. But it wasn’t all happy families at Ferrari, the planned tow in Q3 saw all the drivers under investigation following an indent in the latter part of the session.

Raikkonen crashed out of qualifying with around three minutes to go, when the session resumed and following a dramatic accident in the F3 race a minimum lap time for the out lap in qualifying. When it came to the restart, drivers were all backing each other up to get a tow, thus meaning they failed to get a final run in.

Hamilton was second after going three tenths faster than teammate Valtteri Bottas on the first runs with Vettel was fourth fastest.

Leclerc took Ferrari’s first home win since 2010, that was despite Mercedes throwing everything at him. He was on his own at the front, after teammate Vettel spun, Hamilton also had trouble losing out to Bottas after a minor error in the closing stages.

The pressure was building on Vettel, his season had been marred by mistakes and errors while his teammate continued to rise. another mistake saw him spin while running fourth collecting the Racing Point of Lance Stroll on lap eight. He spun out and dropped to the back as well as earning himself a ten-second stop and go for rejoining the track unsafely.

It was a strong race also for Renault, with Ricciardo fourth and Hulkenberg fifth. Ricciardo had fallen behind teammate Hulkenberg in the early laps, but re-passed him soon after his pit stop and built his advantage. Giovinazzi finished his first home race despite contact on the opening lap eighth.

Race Result – 1) C. Leclerc, Ferrari, 01:15:26.665, 2) V. Bottas, Mercedes, +0.835, 3) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, +35.199

What to watch for?

Qualifying is very interesting; the tow is very important as it allows cars to go even faster, but we have seen on a number of times cars backing up trying to gain a tow. This had led to some strange ends to qualifying, with some cars not being able to get to start the lap before the chequered flag. If they do, you have to say Mercedes are the favourites they are quick in a straight line and this is not going to be a very hot race we are moving into the autumn season in Europe.

Naturally, the Italian’s will be focused on Ferrari, they haven’t been performing and, in some cases, have been beaten by Red Bull. I don’t see how they can bounce back given how far they are behind both Mercedes and Red Bull, they could also be under pressure from the likes of Racing Point and McLaren.

Monza is a circuit which needs good downforce, this can create problems in breaking zones like Turn One which requires a huge stop to rub off speeds it is also a tight chicane which can cause collisions as the cars bunch up. This is an important thing to watch for the midfield teams to watch as they are likely to be the teams with the most to lose.

Those midfield teams need to be warry in there battles because they are more likely to be effected by the powerful slipstream, this can make the racing close. We have seen this battle develop between McLaren, Renault and Alpha Tauri, where they can pick up good points from the troubles that Ferrari are having.

2018 vs 2019 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2019

01:27.905 01:20.978 01:20.294 01:20.126 01:19.464 01:19.307 01:15:26.665 01:21.779

Diff

-6.095 -0.127 -0.215 -0.596 -0.382 -0.188 -01:28.181 -0.718

2018

01:34.000 01:21.105 01:20.509 01:20.722 01:19.846 01:19.119 01:16:54.484 01:22.497

A lap of  Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Kimi Raikkonen starts the lap, by lining himself up down the centre of the straight, he continues to drifts his Ferrari to the outside on the long run to the first corner. He breaks around the 130m before the corner slowing right down hitting the apex on entry and as he exit gets the power down. Stays on the inside then eases his way across the track, then head to the apex of Curva Grande. He eases back towards the centre of the track, on exit going to the outside.  Breaking late into  Variante della Roggia, he was up .04 on his best.

He breaks late into Variante Della Roggia chicane hitting both the apexes. On exit, he goes to the outside. Carrying speed into the first Lesmo, he eases off mid-corner before reapplying the power, going to the outside running to the second Lesmo. Breaks slightly and hits the apex, carry’s all the speed down the straight and through  Serranglio,

Breaks for the Vialone/Ascari chicane hits the apex on entry speed carried nicely up .08 on his best. Going to the inside on the back straight, before easing himself toward the centre of the track. Back to the outside as he approaches the Parabolicia breaking and across to the apex. He then goes to the outside, before crossing on exit to the inside and across the line with a 1:19.119, finding all the time in the last sector.

Tyres

White Hard (C2)

Yellow Medium (C3)

Red Soft (C4)

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.