Hot on the heels of last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Formula One’s teams and drivers return to action this weekend at one of the season’s most storied circuits, high- speed Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix.
The race has featured on every Formula One schedule since the Championship’s first season in 1950 and all but one of those races have taken place at Monza —the last, true ’temple of speed’ remaining in the sport.
The Circuit’s configuration of long straights and three fast curves broken by three chicanes rewards power, and with some 75 per cent of the lap run at full throttle teams with an advantage in this area traditionally thrive. Monza’s layout also calls for teams to bring the lowest downforce packages used all season as they attempt to minimise drag.
Monza is not solely about speed, however. Setting up cars to deal with the challenge of high kerbs and to get good traction out of the few corners is also crucial to lap time. Despite the low number of corners, brake wear is also high at Monza, with each braking event occurring at high speeds. The paucity of corners means harvesting energy from the brakes can be challenging.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel heads to Monza at the top of the Drivers’ standings, a position that should see the always cauldron-like atmosphere at the circuit ramped up several notches as the tifosi come out in force in the hope of a victory for the Prancing Horse on home soil.
At last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix the Scuderia recovered from the woes it encountered at similarly high-speed Silverstone earlier this year to take second and fourth places at Spa. However, it was Mercedes that secured victory at the Belgian track and Lewis Hamilton’s win sliced Vettel’s title lead to just seven point. With both squads now looking well matched on high-speed circuits, this weekend’s race is set to be a thrilling battle right at the limit of what 2017’s supremely quick cars are capable of.
AUTODROMO NAZIONALE MONZA
Length of lap: 5.793km
Lap record: 1:21.046 (Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)
Start line/ﬁnish line offset: 0.309km
Total number of race laps: 53
Total race distance: 306.720km
Pitlane speed limits: 80km/h in practice, qualifying, and the race