The track at Monza is the closest you’ll get to NASCAR as a Formula 1 fan. Straight line speed is second only to braking power here, so buckle up and read ahead to better understand the ins and outs of the 94-year-old circuit.
Though Monza boasts 11 corners spread throughout its 3.6 mile circuit, there are really only 4 distinct sections to cause problems to an otherwise wide-open course.
The first section is the Variante Del Rettifilo, a chicane that follows the main straight. Turns 1 and 2 here are largely important on lap 1, as drivers should be expected to fight for positioning. The tight nature of this corner could spell disaster and an early exit for those not on pole, unless it’s the silver arrows, at which point everyone must be careful.
A clean exit from the Variante leads to a good run on turn 3, the Curva Biassono or Curva Grande. This is a sweeping right-hander that teams with power (See: Mercedes) are likely to use to their advantage.
Turn 3 leads down to the second critical section, another chicane of Monza, turns 4 and 5 of the Variante della Roggia. No clue how this translates to English and too lazy to Google it, but I do know this corner requires precision braking and nerves of steel. Time can be made up here, but only for those daring enough to test the braking zones.
Drivers then throw their cars into turn 6 and 7, the pseudo-double-apex of the Curve di Lesmo. A missed apex or poor exit here can spell disaster in terms of race positioning. There is a huge run-off section here for the overzealous, but poor execution will most definitely lead to being overtaken on the long straight down to Variante Ascari, our next sketchy bit of Monza.
Variante Ascari, or turns 8, 9, and 10, is the infamous section of Monza that took the life of Alberto Ascari in 1972 after he came in too hot, ultimately careening off the track. This corner is another chicane that has been stretched out to accommodate the high speeds that drivers experience on the run up to the corner.
After drivers successfully complete this section, they will be privy to all their engines have to offer; full throttle, 8th gear pinned, approaching 360kmh as they head down to the final turn, the Curva Parabolica. I’m no scientist, but I think it resembles a parabolic curve. Aptly named, this corner offers a sharp turn in with a long accelerating right hand exit to the finish line straight.
This weekend at Monza promises high speeds, intense braking, and engine failure flirtations as drivers will push their cars to their upmost limit.