2012 Italy GP at Monza – Classic F1 Speed With Italian Flair

The site of the next Formula 1 Gran Prix, the GP of Italy at Monza, is one of the fastest & most favored tracks on the F1 Circuit.  It is revered almost as much as Spa, where the Belgium GP took place last week.

FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO SANTANDER D'ITALIA 2012Our SAF1C (San Antonio F1 Club) Race Watch Party will again take place at the Lion & Rose Pub (in Alamo Heights).  What will be different is our start time, thanks to the beginning of the NFL Football season (meh – not a fan).  We will be watching later, starting at 3:00PM!

Italian GP themed Formula 1 track edgeHere’s some visual history of the banked oval portion of the old Monza circuit…

James Garner, straping into his Grand Prix racer

One of my first memories of Formula 1 interest was seeing the classic racing film Grand Prix, starring James Garner (above).  One of the scenes I remember most vividly is the side-by-side racing around the signature banked oval at Monza.  Now, whenever I watch the Italian GP at Monza, I always look for glimpses of that old, abandoned banking.

The decaying drama of the old Monza track banking...

Here’s a video overview of the 1956 Italian GP at Monza, with historic mentions of Juan Fangio & (Sir) Stirling Moss.  This really gives you a good flavor of the original circuit format & challenge of the over 6 mile (10km) track!

The old & new tracks, sadly, co-exist today, with the old lying fallow…being ignored to fade away in memories past.  At the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, the death of 15 spectators was caused by out of control Ferrari driver Wolfgang von Trips.  This was only on the 2nd lap.  Formula 1 organizers saw the banked oval section speeds increasing to those no longer considered safe, for both drivers & their equipment.  That was it for F1 racing on the banked oval section.


Today the modern Monza circuit (Autodromo di Monza) is about 3.6 miles (5.8km) in length.  It’s a very high speed circuit, and is referred to by many Italians as ‘La Pista Magica’, the magic track.  You will see many of these same Italian fans wearing a lot of red – these are the Ferrari fans, well known as the Tifosi.  They will be in great attendance.

It should be a good Formula 1 contest.  Let’s see if more of the drivers can complete the first lap without a race start mishap like at Spa a week ago!




About Dan Scanlon

This is the website home of the F1 Club for Formula One fans located in San Antonio, Texas. F1 racing is coming to Austin, Texas, less than 90 minutes away! Let's organize together for local F1 race watching parties!
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