FIA Italian Grand Prix preview

© FIA, 5 September 2012
© Allianz

Italy will host the 13th round of the 2012 Formula 1 world championship with the teams making the trip across the Alps to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Coming only a few days after an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, the season moves directly to another classic track for the final European race of the year.

Since the redesign of Hockenheim, Monza has stood alone on the F1 calendar as an ultra-high speed circuit. Low-drag aero packages will be on display as teams set up their cars to go faster than they have before this year. But it isn’t all about the figures at the end of the straight. Sebastian Vettel proved that last year; winning from pole at Monza despite being consistently toward the bottom of the speed traps times. Instead he was able to carry more speed through the chicanes and corners onto the straights.

Monza will see the first driver change of the year with Jerome d’Ambrosio confirmed by Lotus as their replacement for the suspended Romain Grosjean. The Belgian driver competed for Marussia in the 2011 Italian Grand Prix and qualified 22nd. His race ended abruptly with a gearbox failure in the opening minutes. He has happier memories from Monza in 2010, when he finished the GP2 Series sprint race on the podium.

Fernando Alonso goes to Monza with his lead in the drivers’ championship greatly reduced after a first-lap retirement in Belgium. His advantage over reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is down to 24 points. Both men are Italian Grand Prix winners with two victories apiece – though with the grandstands certain to be swathed in Ferrari red, there’s no doubt who the crowd will be supporting this weekend.


© Allianz
Length of lap: 5.793km
Lap record: 1:21.046 (Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.309km
Total number of race laps: 53
Total race distance: 306.720km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice; 100km/h during qualifying/race

► The wall on the driver’s right approaching Turn 1 has been moved closer to the track and an additional marshal post provided 150m before Turn 1.

► The track has been resurfaced from the exit of the Ascari chicane (turn 10) to a point after the exit of Parabolica (turn 11).

► The pit wall fence has been renewed.

► The Italian Grand Prix is one of only two ever-present races on the Formula 1 world championship calendar, the other being the British Grand Prix

► The 1971 Italian Grand Prix won by Peter Gethin is regarded as the closest contended finish in F1 history. Gethin beat Ronnie Peterson by 0.01s. François Cevert was third at 0.09s, Mike Hailwood at 0.18s and Howden Ganley at 0.61s. In 2002, when F1 had moved to a timing regime with three decimal places, the gap between Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher at the end of United States Grand Prix was timed at 0.011s, Ferrari staging a formation finish.

► Ferrari have dominated the Italian Grand Prix with 18 F1 world championship victories. They are one of four Italian teams to have won, the others being Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Toro Rosso.

► The race has been held at Monza every year except 1980. That year the Italian Grand Prix was held at Imola. The decision to move the race stemmed from safety work being done to improve Monza in the aftermath of the terrible first-lap multi-car crash of 1978.

► Winning at Imola gives four times Italian Grand Prix winner Nelson Piquet (1980, 1983, 1986, 1987) the distinction of being the only driver to win the race on two different circuits.

► Michael Schumacher has one more win that Piquet, having won the Italian Grand Prix five times (1996, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006). Behind them on three wins come Juan Manuel Fangio (1953, 1954, 1955), Stirling Moss (1956, 1957, 1959), Ronnie Peterson (1973, 1974, 1976), Alain Prost (1981, 1985, 1989) and Rubens Barrichello (2002, 2004, 2009).

► Alberto Ascari and Tazio Nuvolari also have three Italian Grand Prix victories. Ascari’s wins in 1949, 1951 and 1952 straddle the eras before and after the creation of the world championship. Nuvolari’s (1931, 1932, 1938) came much earlier.

► Since 1922, when the original circuit was constructed, racing has taken place in the Royal Park at Monza. The early F1 years were characterised by the race switching between the road course – the forerunner of the track used today – and the full circuit, including the high-speed sections of track, incorporating Monza’s famous banking.

► 1961 saw the race last run on the full circuit, with Phil Hill taking his second of back-to-back Monza victories. Moss and Fangio have the distinction of having won on both the road course and the full circuit.

► Since the 1950s the road course has undergone many changes – almost all of them related to improving safety: a series of chicanes have been installed to bring speeds down; the long, sweeping curves have been tightened to allow for the creation of gravel traps and, most recently, gravel has given way to asphalt run-offs around some parts of the track.


Gerd Ennser
Dr Gerd Ennser has successfully combined his formal education in law with his passion for motor racing. While still active as a racing driver he began helping out with the management of his local motorsport club and since 2006 has been a permanent steward at every round of Germany’s DTM championship. Since 2010 he has also worked as a Formula 1 steward. Dr Ennser, who has worked as a judge, a prosecutor and in the legal department of an automotive-industry company, has also been a member of the steering committee of German motorsport body, the DMSB, since spring 2010, where he is responsible for automobile sport. In addition, Dr Ennser is a board member of the South Bavaria Section of ADAC, Germany’s biggest auto club.


Silvia Bellot
Silvia Bellot began marshalling in 2001 at the age of 16. Despite her youth Bellot has been permanent chairman of stewards for the European F3 Open and Spanish Endurance Championships, as well as Permanent Steward of the GT Open International and Andorra Ice Championships, among other national series. A native of Barcelona, Bellot has sat on the stewards’ panel at a wide range of championships, including the World Rally Championship, GP2, GP3, BMW Europe, DTM and World Series by Renault. In 2001, she started her collaboration with Catalunya’s automobile club, the RACC, and in 2008 she joined the Spanish Assembly and the Circuit the Catalunya officials’ committee. A year later, Bellot took part in the FIA trainee stewards’ program for GP2 and F1. In 2011 she sat as an FIA steward at the Turkish and Italian Grands Prix.


Emanuele Pirro
During a motorsport career that has spanned almost 40 years, Emanuele Pirro has achieved a huge amount of success, most notably in sportcar racing, with five Le Mans wins, victory at the Daytona 24 Hours and two wins at the Sebring 12 Hours. In addition he has won the German and Italian Touring Car championships (the latter twice) and has twice been American Le Mans Series Champion. Pirro, enjoyed a three-season F1 career from 1989 to 1991, firstly with Benetton and then for Scuderia Italia. He subsequently spent four years as a test driver for McLaren. Pirro’s debut as an FIA Steward came at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


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