F1’S FASTEST LAP
The racing is non-stop at this relentlessly high-speed classic event
The Italian Grand Prix is one of the longestrunning events on the F1 calendar. It shares that honour with the British Grand Prix, these being the only two races to have been held every year since 1950 – although for seven years the race in Italy was known as the European Grand Prix. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza has hosted the Italian Grand Prix for all but one of those years (when the race was held at Imola) and this year, once again, it will be the last grand prix in Europe. It’s the quickest race of the year, with long straights interspersed with slow chicanes and few challenging corners. This means cars require high engine power, low drag and efficient brakes to be quick around here. Many teams therefore used to run special Monza-spec aerodynamics here but with the more recent changes to aero regulations, this is less common.
Monza is one of the hardest circuits on brakes, primarily due to the large braking events after the long straights, so good brake management is paramount. Braking into the rst chicane is the best chance of overtaking anywhere on the circuit, and can cause reworks at the start of the race; cars sometimes cut across the rumble strips when they can’t make the chicane.
Strategy involves a low number of stops, often just one, due the large time lost in the pits compared to being on the track. That rst stop is critical, and teams will try to go as early as possible to undercut opponents, but not so early that their tyres can’t make the end of the race.
Qualifying is important because of the lack of overtaking opportunities and the scarcity of pitstops. In fact the race is likely to be decided by qualifying and pitstops rather than on the track. As a nal caveat, though, the demands on the new power units will be different from qualifying (where maximum power over a lap should be achieved by all) to the race (where energy and fuel management are likely to play a bigger part). This could lead to interesting racing with cars qualifying out of sync from race-pace order.