5 Reasons Why Monza Is Such An Epic F1 Circuit

As the Formula 1 circus heads to Monza, we take a look at what makes this circuit so great...


Spa-Francorchamps may be the best racing circuit in the world, but Monza puts up a good fight. Set in picturesque Italian parkland, the Monza circuit completes the European leg of the Formula 1 season before the troops head off to the season's seven fly-away rounds.

Part Two of the season's classic double-header, Monza is a completely different beast to Spa. We love watching Formula 1 cars reach their fastest speeds of the season, so here are five reasons why Monza is such an epic track:

1. The speed

_89P6547 Image source: Lotus F1 Team

Because of the unique characteristics of the Monza circuit, Formula 1 teams bring downforce packages that are developed especially for the race weekend. Minimal downforce is needed to optimise the long straights, with 83% of the lap being on full throttle.

During the mid-2000s, speeds could reach up to 231mph along the pit-straight thanks to the meaty V10 engines - I know, pretty unbelievable. The current V8 engines are considerably slower, only propelling F1 machinery to a mere 211mph. Such is the speed that the deceleration into the tight first corner - a right-left chicane - is 165mph with braking stability being key. Monza race weekend shows Formula 1 cars at their quickest and best.

2. The atmosphere


What's the name of that team, you know, the red one? From Italy? Ah yes... Ferrari. Monza is the only Italian stop on the Formula 1 calendar, and hence, it is the home of the fanatical Tifosi - supporters of the iconic Ferrari squad.

Grandstands will be packed over a race weekend; a sea of red with eager fans cheering on Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. It creates an electric atmosphere, particularly if there is a Ferrari driver on the top step of the podium.

F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Race

What's even more special is the podium. It is positioned hanging over the pit-straight and fans are allowed onto the circuit to stand beneath it. All F1 circuits should follow suit, Hermann Tilke take note...

3. The history


The Autodromo Nazionale Monza was opened in 1922, 28 years before the Formula 1 World Championship started, and was only the third permanent racing circuit in the world at the time alongside Brooklands in the UK and Indianapolis in the USA. In those days Monza was a combination of a road course and banked oval that created terrifyingly fast speeds.

The Formula 1 World Championship started in 1950 with Monza being included in the inaugural season; the circuit has appeared in every single season apart from 1980. The likes of Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss have all won on the circuit. However, it was also highly dangerous for both drivers and spectators and thus underwent significant modification throughout the 50s and 60s, with the banking being dropped in favour of just the road course.


The old banking still exists today and cars run under it on their way to the Ascari chicane, which in itself is a reminder of the rich history of the circuit. Monza has hosted a number of iconic Formula 1 races - including the closest ever F1 finish in 1971 with the top five drivers being separated by just six tenths of a second - and continues to do so today.

4. The corners

Image source: Sahara Force India Image source: Sahara Force India

There may not be many corners on the Monza circuit, but some of them are a real challenge and provide some fantastic on-track action. That includes the numerous chicanes, which were added to slow the cars and make the track safer.

The first chicane is a tricky corner to master and provides high drama on the first lap of the race; take the 2011 Italian Grand Prix as an example after backmarker Vitantonio Luizzi spun across the grass and through the chicane, taking out two cars. We have also witnessed some stunning braking overtakes there thanks to the heavy braking - Lewis Hamilton's late lunge on Kimi Raikkonen back in 2007 being a stand-out pass.

Image source: Caterham F1 Team Image source: Caterham F1 Team

The Curva Grande is next up; a full throttle right-hander where only the bravest can run side-by-side. Another chicane follows before the two Lesmos curves. These may look simple enough but with very low downforce, understeer is common and the first right-hander is slightly banked. The second requires full use of the kerbs to enable a good run down the next straight.

Ascari is a difficult complex of corners that requires a stable car that uses the kerbs well. Next up is Parabolica, quite possibly the stand-out corner on the circuit. It is a fast, long, full throttle turn that requires perfect precision and confidence in the car.

5. The setting

Image source: Lotus F1 Team Image source: Lotus F1 Team

The Monza circuit is quite unique in the fact that it is set within the grounds of the Royal Villa of Monza, which was built between 1777 and 1780. It is positioned deep inside the park with lush greenery surrounding it, contrasting heavily with the newer circuits like Bahrain - which is in the middle of the desert - and Korea - which is surrounded by swampland.

_14P3766 Image source: Marussia F1 Team

It is rare for a circuit to be situated in such a position and it creates some stunning shots as cars fly under the trees, under the old banking and through the once tranquil parkland, making it one of the most beautiful of all the F1 circuits. It is located just outside of Milan and a few hours' drive from the home of Ferrari, Maranello.

The location also makes it more accessible for fans with a range of camping options - some sites just metres from the race track - and hotels on offer.

One thing is for certain; we can't wait to see Formula 1 return to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.


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