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The first Formula One race included a jazz musician, a Swiss baron and a Thai prince amongst its international array of drivers. Since then, the sport has grown into a global event spanning 34 countries. Yet do you know the one track synonymous with the sport?

Few tracks have the pedigree of Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix. Read on as we give you essential Italian Grand Prix facts and the history of Monza. 

Where Is Monza?

The Monza Circuit is located north of Milan, Italy, close to the city of Monza. In Italian, it is known as the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Except for 1980, the Italian Grand Prix has been hosted there since 1949.

The track itself resides on the ground of the Royal Villa of Monza. This places it in a unique position beside the Lambro River. In existence since the 18th century, it is a Hapsburg palace built during the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. 

monza rack track diagram showing max speeds

The Classic Layout

Part of the track's appeal is that it has had very few changes since it was created. Built-in 1922 it took only 110 days to complete. This included the full road course and banked oval section. 

The banked oval is no longer part of the track. Three chicanes have been added since then to slow the cars slightly. The current layout has been in use since 1957. 

Is Monza the Fastest F1 Track?

Monza is one of the most exciting F1 tracks as it is the fastest. Part of this is down to its layout.

Featuring long straights and wide corners, drivers can push their vehicles to full speed for around 75% of the course. Cars regularly reach over 350 km per hour.

The fastest recorded lap came in 2004 and was reached by Juan Pablo Montoya. His average speed came in at 262.242 km per hour. This high speed also means it is one of the shortest Grand Prix races averaging a time of 75 minutes. 

The Black Day of 1933

Part of its fearsome reputation comes from its close association with death. Luckily, no drivers have been killed at Monza since 1978. But before then, it had a history of being the last place many would want to race. 

The Black Day of 1933 is one of its saddest moments. Three drivers died during the Italian Grand Prix. Giuseppe Campari, Baconin Borzacchini, and Stanislaw Czaykowski all perished in the main race and supporting Grand Prix. 

This led to one of the few changes the track ever had. However, this new layout was deemed too slow and it reverted to the original in 1935.

Several other drivers lost their lives on the circuit. Jochen Rindt, Ronnie Peterson, Alberto Ascari and Wolfgang Von Trips all fell victim to the unforgiving course.

The Close Finish of 1971

The finish of the 1971 Grand Prix is still one of the closest Grand Prix finishes ever. Peter Gethin would cross the finish at what seemed like the same time as rival Ronnie Peterson. Only 0.01 seconds managed to separate the pair.

Even more astounding was the closeness of all front runners in the race. A mere 0.61 seconds separated the first five cars. 

Ferrari Ends Mclarens Streak

In the 1988 season, Mclaren was on an almost unbeatable winning streak, claiming every race in the season except one. Ferrari would end their run on the track, which was the first Grand Prix since the death of founder Enzo Ferrari. 

Driver Alain Prost was absent from the race due to engine issues. Legendary driver Ayrton Senna was leading up to lap 50 until a collision with Jean Louis Schlesser. This allowed Ferrari to claim a first and second place win. 

When It Rains It Pours

Wet races are few and far between at Monza, with the weather usually being sunny and warm. Yet when it does rain, it makes for some of the most interesting races in the whole season. 

In 2008, future world champion Sebastian Vettel would seal an unexpected wet track victory. High profile drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen had suffered early exits in qualifying. He would romp home to victory to become Formula One's youngest Grand Prix winner, though this record would later be beaten by Max Verstappen. 

Lewis Hamilton Has the Most Wins

Arguably one of the most famous drivers to grace F1, Lewis Hamilton has had some of his most amazing moments at Monza. He has the record for the most wins on the track. 

2018 saw him gain his fifth title on the course. This rivalled the previous record set by Michael Schumacher. 

Many Brazilian drivers have also found success on the track. Nelson Piquet managed to win four times during the eighties. Rubens Barichello achieved three wins, while two were gained by Ayrton Senna. 


With such a straight and fast track, it pays to get ahead in qualifying when driving in the Monza Grand Prix. This is because there are few opportunities for aerodynamic adjustment on the long flat track. Winning often comes down to sheer power. 

It is possible to overtake at Monza, but most wins come from starting on pole position. On average, around seven out of ten winners start on the track in the top position. 

Italian Grand Prix Facts

Now you have these Italian Grand Prix facts and know the history of this illustrious circuit, you can enjoy them during the race. Don't miss this event, steeped in rich automotive history. 

What is even better is to visit the event yourself. Grand Prix Adventures can take care of your whole trip, from hospitality tickets to hotel bookings. Contact us here and get a quote from our expert staff. 

ferrari car on display


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