TEN FACTS: The Italian Grand Prix

1024px-Monza_banking_2003The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is home to one of the most historic circuits in Formula 1. With just days remaining before the race start, here are ten facts you need to know about the famous Italian track as the title fight continues in earnest…

1) The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the original circuits from the first world championship in 1950. Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone and Monaco also appear on the 2014 calendar and have been a staple for Formula 1 since its inception.

2) Rather unsurprisingly, Michael Schumacher is the record holder on the Italian tarmac with five victories to his credit in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. The German can also boast three more podiums in his distinguished career in 1992, 2002 and 2004.

3) Aided by their seven-time champion, Ferrari is the most successful team at Monza with 18 wins and an astonishing 45 podiums. Fernando Alonso has secured a podium at the last three Italian Grands Prix and is beginning to show some form in their 2014 challenger.

4) Red Bull and Toro Rosso are tied on victories with one each, both courtesy of Sebastian Vettel. The German won for his current team in 2011 and the Red Bull feeder squad in 2008. This remains Toro Rosso’s only victory to date.

5) In 2003, the Italian circuit played host to the shortest ever Grand Prix with Schumacher winning in one hour, 14 minutes and 19.838seconds. The great German reached a top speed of 247.585 km/h in his Ferrari to claim victory.

6) A year later, Rubens Barrichello set the lap record for a qualifying. The Ferrari completed one full rotation of the modern circuit in 1:20.089, three seconds faster than Vettel’s pole lap last year.

7) Seven of the last ten races have been won from pole position. However, the last man to win from outside pole position was Barrichello in 2009 when he prevented Lewis Hamilton from converting his front row to a victory at the challenging circuit.

8) Monza is known for Parabolica, one of its most notorious corners. This weekend, the turn will not be as challenging as previous years because organisers have replaced the gravel with a tarmac run-off. This will particularly help the drivers during damp conditions.

9) Rain is not likely to affect the race outcome as only two of the last ten Italian Grands Prix have been disrupted by the weather. The 2004 race was won by Barrichello while Vettel climbed through the field to win for Toro Rosso in 2008.

10) You will need to look as far back as 1971 to find the closest Grand Prix finish in history. Surrounded by the picturesque Italian backdrop, Peter Gethin greeted the chequered flag just 0.01 seconds before Ronnie Peterson. As the fastest circuit on the calendar, it is perhaps not a surprise that Monza can produce such tight finishes.

You can watch the 1971 Italian Grand Prix finish here.

To read more about Monza’s illustrious history and a rundown of some of its most famous Grands Prix, see my latest F1Plus column here. 

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