Italian Grand Prix
Race sponsor: None
Date: 5 - 7 September 2014
The Italian Grand Prix at Monza is usually the shortest race of the year, but it is always one of the most anticipated races of any Formula One season.
Monza, located just a few miles from the industrial city of Milan, is a cathedral of speed and one of the most historic circuits in the world – indeed, only two, Brooklands and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, were built before work started on Monza in 1922.
The famous Autodromo, still the quickest circuit on the calendar in terms of average speed, lies in Monza Park, which is jointly owned by the cities of Monza and Milan. It is operated by SIAS, the Automobile Club of Italy’s dedicated motorsport promotions division. The majority of SIAS is owned by the club, with 30 per cent in the hands of an estate agency.
Monza was built, in just 110 days, in 1922. After a break for World Wars, the circuit resumed activities in 1948, with the high speed banked oval – as dangerous and challenging a test as Grand Prix motor-racing has had. Thrilling slipstreamed finishes were the order of the day. By the late 1970s, however, the long straights and sweeping curves has been interrupted by chicanes.
The chicanes themselves have now been tweaked, most recently in 2000 when the Rettifilo, the first chicane, was remodelled. Newer pit buildings have also been added over the years, to ensure Monza’s place on the calendar is not called into question. Officials have generally got the balance between adding modern facilities yet retaining the unique Monza atmosphere just right. It is one of the most anticipated events of the season, especially if a Ferrari driver remains in world championship contention by the time Monza’s traditional September date comes around.
Although the number ebbs and flows with the Italian economy, up to 14,000 guests are catered for in hospitality areas at the Italian Grand Prix each September. At the other end of the scale, the parkland surrounding the circuit has 34,000 square metres of space for camping.
The president of the circuit is Carlo Edoardo Valli, while the day-to-day management of the annual Formula One race is in the hands of the experienced Federico Bendinelli. In July last year, Bendinelli said he was confident about Monza’s Formula One future, saying of Bernie Ecclestone. “I only know that he abides by contracts, always, and ours runs up to and including 2016.
“I’m also not worried in any major way about the future, as we are already in negotiations to extend the contract.”
Monza is believed to pay a significantly lower fee than many Formula One venues, even those in Europe. Thanks to the Ferrari link and the magnificent atmosphere, the Italian Grand Prix adds plenty to the Formula One brand each year.