While the Ferrari fans eagerly await the start of the Italian Grand Prix and Scuderria Ferrari team makes it’s final preparations until their own home race, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about the Italian Racing track “Monza”:
The Italian Grand Prix has been run 63 times previously, all but once at Monza. The only exception was the 1980 race which was held at Imola, a track more commonly associated with the San Marino Grand Prix.Monza was one of seven tracks on the original world championship calendar in 1950. Three others are still on the calendar: Silverstone, Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps.
The first world championship race at Monza, in 1950, was run on a circuit that was broadly similar in shape to today’s, minus the chicanes. However, on four occasions (1955, 1956, 1960, 1961) a 10-kilometre track incorporating both the road circuit and the banked oval track was used. Since 1962, the Grand Prix has been held exclusively on the road course. Chicanes were introduced in 1972 to slow the cars and have remained ever since, albeit with several revisions.Michael Schumacher holds the record for the most Italian Grand Prix wins – five. The German is just one ahead of Nelson Piquet who won the race twice for Brabham and twice for Williams.Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have the best records of any current driver on Italian soil, having both won at Monza twice. Vettel’s 2008 victory was the first victory of his Formula One career and saw him surpass Alonso as the youngest winner in F1 history at 21 years, 2 months and 11 days old. The day before he’d surpassed another Alonso record by becoming the youngest polesitter ever.
Much to the tifosi’s joy, home favourites Ferrari are the most successful team in Italian Grand Prix history. Scarlet cars have accumulated 18 wins, 45 other podiums and 19 poles on home soil. The Scuderia’s last Italian Grand Prix win came with Fernando Alonso in 2010.
In contrast to Ferrari’s dominance in Italy, Monza has been a bit of a bogey track for Red Bull. Surprisingly the triple world champions have only recorded one podium in Italy (Vettel’s victory in 2011) since their inception in 2005 – the same as sister team Toro Rosso (whose podium was also down to Vettel, in 2008). In the same period Ferrari have seven podiums and McLaren, eight.
The 2005 Italian Grand Prix is notable for being one of only four world championship races in history in which there were no retirements. 20 cars started – and finished – the race.
Everyone knows Monza is fast, in fact it was the scene of the fastest Grand Prix ever in 2003 when Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher completed the race at an average speed of 247.585 km/h (153.842 mph). The same race was also the shortest full-duration race in F1 history, lasting only 1 hour 14 minutes and 19.838 seconds.
The fastest pole-position lap in F1 history was also recorded at Monza, also in a Ferrari. This time it was set by Schumacher’s team mate Rubens Barrichello, who completed his 2004 pole lap at an average of 260.395 km/h (161.802 mph).
-82 Italian drivers have started at least one world championship Grand Prix.
-Two Italians have won the world championship – Nino Farina (winner of the inaugural title in 1950) and Alberto Ascari (in 1952 and 1953).
-Three Italians have won their home Grand Prix – Farina (who won the first world championship Italian Grand Prix in 1950), Ascari (‘51, ‘52) and Ludovico Scarfiotti (‘66).
-The last Italian driver to finish his home race on the podium was Giancarlo Fisichella in 2005.
-There have been no Italian drivers in F1 racing since Jarno Trulli parted company with Caterham before the 2012 season. -Rubens Barrichello holds the lap record for Monza in its current configuration – 1m 21.046s, set in 2004 in a Ferrari.