THE ITALIAN GP
THE MAIN EVENT
An F1 season without Monza is unthinkable – so much so that such a state of affairs has come about only once. Anyone who dismisses the notion of a circuit having an atmosphere should come here and soak up the ambience of the passionate tifosi and, yes, the whispering trees…
Initially built as a banked oval within the royal park, the circuit hosted very few successful events featuring the layout as originally intended, and the focus shifted to the simple but fast and demanding road course. Chicanes now disfigure the purity of that design but add greatly to safety, while adding overtaking opportunities. To see a modern Formula 1 car brake from over 200mph to 30mph in less than 100 metres at Turn 1 is to be amazed and thrilled.
Acceleration and top speed are the key differentiators for the cars here, while finesse and guts under braking separate the great drivers from the merely good. Another skill is to negotiate the first corner after the start without getting involved in a pile-up – easier said than done.
CLASSIC RACE: 1953
The last world championship race run to F2 regulations, this was a typical Monza slipstreamer. A four-car train of the Maseratis of Juan Manuel Fangio and Onofre Marimón, and the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina, did battle until Marimón dropped back. However, by the last lap he was again running with the three leaders, albeit four laps down, as was the lapped fourth-placed man, Luigi Villoresi. As all five came to the last corner Ascari and Farina were side-by-side and ahead of Fangio, only for Ascari to spin. Farina took evasive action, Ascari was hit by Marimón, and Fangio came through the chaos to win from the recovering Farina, with Villoresi third.