Hurrah! After months of speculation, the future of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza has been secured. The circuits chiefs announced an extension to their current deal with the sport, making the “Cathedral of Speed” the home of the Italian Grand Prix until at least 2019.
Monza and F1 are a perfect couple. The long straights showcase the sport’s awe-inspiring speed and drivers are often presented with an opportunity to demonstrate their bravery in one of the many heavy braking zones.
The circuit is not without it’s technical challenges as well. The Ascari chicane poses an enormous challenge to drivers – particularly when at the limit of adhesion in Q3 – due to the skinny wings and subsequent low levels of downforce.
One of my favorite Monza moments was when, in 2011 and on his final run of qualifying in Q3, Sebastian Vettel jammed on handfuls of opposite lock through the middle of Ascari on his way to Pole Position. It perfectly illustrated Monza’s challenge and the way it rewards the brave.
As you can tell, I’m a huge fan.
So much so, that my only annoyance with the race is that it is all over far too quickly. A Grand Prix distance is dictated by the number of kilometers covered rather than time elapsed. 305 kilometers is F1’s magic number.
Due to it’s unrivaled average speeds, the Italian Grand Prix is over faster than any other Grand Prix, typically taking the winner between 75 and 90 minutes to complete. It means we get to break for Sunday lunch earlier, but leaves us craving more Monza.
For the obvious reasons such as fuel tank capacity and that little matter of rules and regulations, 53 laps is the most we will get barring a significant change of track configuration.
At least we can continue to thoroughly enjoy those 53 laps for the next few years at least.