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25 Interesting Facts about Italian GP



25 Interesting Facts about Italian GP

1921 Italian Grand Prix – 25 Interesting Facts about Italian GP

The first ever Italian Grand Prix was held in 1921 on a 10.7 miles (17.3km) long circuit near the northern Italian city of Brescia.

The purpose-built circuit in Monza had only finished construction a year later. Back then, it’s only the third permanent autodrome in the world alongside Brooklands and Indianapolis Speedway.

Up to 3,500 workmen were brought in to complete construction at a vigorous pace, with 300 wagons, 200 trucks and even a three-mile temporary railway laid out among the trees. Astonishingly in just 110 days, the entire complex was completed as promised for the 1922 Grand Prix.

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is being profoundly honoured as the ‘Temple of Speed’ and has been on the Formula One calendar in all but one year since the inaugural 1950 season.

In 1980, Imola took its place as Monza underwent major changes to improve safety standards thus Brabham’s Nelson Piquet became the only driver to win an Italian GP not held in Monza.

The only driver to have had hat-trick of wins at the Italian GP was quintuple world champion Juan Manuel Fangio between 1953 and 1955.

Alfa Romeo was the first constructor to take victory at the Italian soil with Nino Farina behind the wheel who also clinched the inaugural drivers’ championship that day on 3rd September 1950.

The Italian team was the most successful outfit before the world championship began in 1950 with seven wins.

The closest ever Formula One finish was recorded at the 1971 race with Peter Gethin taking the chequered flag just 0.01 seconds ahead of Ronnie Peterson, Francois Cevert, Mike Hailwood and Howden Ganley. The top five were separated by just 0.61 seconds.

Monza’s old banking was used in the world championship only four times in 1955, 1956, 1960 and 1961. The use of iconic oval in Formula One ended in 1961 when Wolfgang Von Trip’s Ferrari collided with the Lotus of Jim Clark and went airborne killing 14 other spectators along with the German himself at the high-speed Parabolica curve. And Red Bull in 2011 and 2013, he could become only the second driver in history to triumph at Monza with three different constructors this weekend – the other being Sir Stirling Moss.

Remarkably his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen has never won at Monza despite managing to achieve fastest laps on a record-equaling three times in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have enjoyed successes twice each.

In the last four years, the Italian GP winner went on to become world champion thrice. But odds are stacked against Lewis Hamilton as there has never been a back-to-back winner since Damon Hill in 1993 and 1994.

In contrast to the stop-and-go nature of Monza that facilitates overtaking, the last ten years saw eight races have been won from pole. But until 2004 history suggests that the pole-sitter had only 20% chances of winning.

Lewis Hamilton’s 2014 victory was the first for Mercedes in Italy as a constructor since they quit Formula One in 1955 after the Le Mans disaster.

Renault have the fewest combined victories of any manufacturer with eight(two as constructor and six as engine supplier) since it started participating in 1977.

Three of Rubens Barrichello’s 11 career wins came at Monza. In one of his two victories with Ferrari, he went on to secure an unbeaten lap record with a time of 1:21.046 in 2004. His last F1 victory also came at this fabled track in 2009 with Brawn GP.

Only three Italian drivers stood on the top step of the podium along the way. Apart from Alberto Ascari and Nino Farina, Ludovico Scarfiotti remains as the last to win at home in 1966.

Juan Pablo Montoya holds the record for the highest ever average lap speed in the first part of qualifying for the 2004 Italian Grand Prix behind the wheel of Williams FW26 at a whopping 262.2kph (162.9mph).

The Colombian registered a speed of 372.6kph (231.5mph) during the 2005 Italian Grand Prix driving for McLaren. It stands as the highest speed every recorded on a Formula One race weekend.

The shortest ever F1 race came courtesy of Michael Schumacher at the 2003 Italian Grand Prix. He reached the full race distance in a staggering 1h 14m and 19.838s while averaging the highest ever race speed at 247.6kph (153.8mph).

In 2006, Kimi Räikkönen achieved the highest ever speed recorded during a F1 race at 370.1kph (229.96 mph). But the race was won by Michael Schumacher (his penultimate career win) who immediately announced his first retirement from motor racing at the end of the season.

Double world champion Alberto Ascari was killed during private testing in 1955 driving a Ferrari 750 Monza. In his honour, the Vialone chicane was re-named after him as the Ascari chicane.

Jochen Rindt was awarded the F1 world championship posthumously in 1970 following fatal throat injuries suffered due to a high-speed crash in qualifying by swerving off the track at Parabolica in his Lotus. Triple times Monza winner Ronnie Peterson also perished at the same track in 1978.

Most wins by a constructor: Ferrari with 18 ahead of 10 victories for McLaren and 6 for Williams. Lotus have won five times (four of which came in the ‘70s)

Most wins by a driver: Michael Schumacher 5 (1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006); Nelson Piquet 4 (1980, 1983, 1986, 1987) (Suren M)


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