MonzaMonza

Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Specs:
Circuit direction:
Clockwise
Circuit length:
5.793 km.
Number of turns:
11

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is a historic race track near the city of Monza, north of Milan, in Italy. Built in 1922, it is the world's third purpose-built motor racing circuit. 

Monza

The Temple of Speed

Monza is a true cathedral to speed, unmatched around the world for its sense of history and passion, fuelled in part by its long history and also the fanaticism of the Italian fans, the tifosi. With the steadily decaying remnants of the high speed banked circuit providing a backdrop through the parkland trees, the atmosphere here is like no other; a mix of speed, melodrama and more than a hint of melancholy.

Its history began shortly after the First World War, when the Italian motor industry was undergoing its first great ascendancy. Authorities began looking for land to create a circuit to test their cars and demonstrate to the rest of the world their superiority through sporting success. Gallarte and La Cagnola near Milan were initially suggestions and rejected before some far-sighted visionary proposed the royal park at Monza to the Automobile Club of Milan. This was deemed suitable and preparations were began in earnest soon after.

Wall of Fame

By 1955, ambitions had grown further and plans were put in place to recreate the high-speed banked circuit, albeit with considerably steeper banking (so steep it is virtually impossible to ascend to the top on foot unaided). This roughly followed the course of the 1922 original, save for the south curve which was set closer to the pit straight. The new high-speed loop was built on reinforced concrete pillars, rather than earth banks and cut through the Vedano course, necessitating a new final parabolic curve. Like the 1922 original, it shared its pit facilities with the road course and could be combined to form a 6.21 mile full course.

Tragedy struck during the 1961 Grand Prix, run for the last time on the full course. During the second lap, the Ferrari of Wolfgang von Tripps and the Lotus of Jim Clark tangled in the braking area for the Parabolica, sending the German's car into the air and rolling across a spectator zone. Von Trips and 10 spectators lost their lives immediately and another five died later in hospital.

The disaster largely spelled the end for the full circuit with its banked course; Grand Prix races thereafter used only ran the road course, although it was used for the Monza 1,000 Kilometres, reserved for the Sports, Prototype and Grand Touring categories, from 1965 to 1969. Starting in 1966 there were two permanent chicanes at the entrance to the banked curves and the course was 100 metres longer but by 1970 the sportscars switched to the road course and the banking fell silent altogether.

Information

Location:
Via Vedano, 5, 20900 Monza MB, Italy
Time Zone:
CEST (UTC+2)
FIA Grade:
1
Lap record:
1:21.046 by Rubens Barrichello (F1), 2004

The 1994 season forced further changes on many circuits in wake of the death of Ayrton Senna; Monza was no different. The second Lesmo curve was tightened, reducing speed considerably, while the following year further changes were made to increase safety at key spots. Curva Grande was re-aligned, with its new radius some 12 metres further to the inside than previously, greatly enlarging the run-off area on the outside. Della Roggia's chicane was also brought further forward in the lap by some 50 metres, while the two Lesmo Curves were realigned, some 15 metres further inside the circuit perimeter, similarly providing enhanced escape areas. Sadly, these changes also involved the demolition of the Lesmo grandstands, removing a fantastic viewing spot once and for all.

The final changes involved a rebuilding of the first chicane in summer 2000, the new almost triangular hairpin combination providing a new overtaking point.

Today, Monza retains its popularity and is a staple fixture on many racing series' calendars, Forumla One included. It is also a regularly used testing venue, while the parkland remains open to the public – you can even find an outdoor municipal swimming pool in the grounds alongside the main straight..

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