Monza


track
Track from 2000, 5.792 km.


Track and oval.


Autodromo Nazionale Di Monza
20052 Monza (Mi)
Italy

Tel: +3924821     Fax: +3939320324

Track History

The Monza Autodrome was the third permanent installation built in the world after the English one of Brooklands (1907) and the American one of Indianapolis (1909). It has always been the most important Italian autodrome and one of the most prestigious places for world motor events. Indeed, during more than 70 years of activity, 60 Italian Grand Prix, 40 Motorcycle Grand Prix of Nations and 27 "1000 kms" - Filippo Caracciolo Trophy - for Sport Prototype cars, took place here.

The construction of the Monza Autodrome was decided in January 1922 by the Milan Automobile Club in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Club's founding which was born in 1897 in an embryonic form (in fact it became effective in 1903). The work was supported by the president of the Milan Automobile Club, senator Silvio Crespi, and its director, Mr. Arturo Mercanti, who gave the project to Mr. Alfredo Rossetti, the architect. Works began on May 15th 1922 and were completed in the record time of 110 days: 3,500 workers were employed for the contruction of the autodrome together with 200 waggons, 30 lorries and a narrow-gauge railway 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long.

Info by Fabbi Studio Bologna, Italy


From The Monza Website

Beginnings

Construction of the Monza Autodrome was decided in January, 1922, by the Milan Automobile Club to mark the 25th anniversary of the club's founding in March, 1897, in an embryonic form.

The building of' a permanent, independent installation to be used for motor sports and testing was suggested by the technical and commercial requirements of the various Italian car constructors who, even then, looked toward foreign markets as a step in the development of production.

Another stimulus was provided by the good technical and sporting results of the first Italian Grand Prix for automobiles which had been run in 1921 on the fast but poorly equipped semipermanent circuit of Montichiari near Brescia.

The French driver Goux in a Ballot had established the respectable average of almost 145 kilometres per hour (90 mph) over a distance of 519 kilometres (323 miles) on this track.

The first problem was to find a location worthy of the Italian Grand Prix, which aimed at rivalling the already well-established Grand Prix of the French Automobile Club, founded at the beginning of the century.

Indeed, Monza, the final choice, has been for almost 70 years by now the natural venue for Italy's top automobile racing event.

The need was also felt of having a permanent installation for carrying out tests and experiments on all kinds of motor vehicles.

Segments of the layout were therefore included in the preliminary project which would allow continuous running at the highest speeds attainable at the time, together with segments with a more varied conformation capable of stressing all mechanical parts.

Several possible locations were considered for the autodrome, the most convincing of which were in the "moorland" area of Gallarate, where Malpensa international airport now lies, and the Cagnola district which at that time was on the outskirts of Milan. The draft projects for these two solutions called for a peripheral ring circuit with possible complementary courses inside it. But the final decision fell on the Villa Reale park in Monza which, at that time belonged to the Italian Veterans' Institute.

Monza brought together several ideal conditions with its extensive open area and enclosed park at a short distance from Milan, with which it had good connections.

To build the autodrome, the S.I.A.S, -- (SocietÓ Incremento Automobilismo e Sport - Automobile and Sport Encouragement Company) was set up at the Milan Automobile Club with entirely private capital.

Senator Silvio Crespi was Board Chairman and the company's object was the construction and management of the installation.

The job of drawing up the designs was given to Alfredo Rosselli, architect. Initially it was though to lay out an autodrome including a speed track and a circular road track side by side for a total distance of 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) at an estimated cost of 6 million liras.

The first stone was laid by Vincenzo Lancia and Felice Nazzaro at the end of February, 1922, but only a few days later the first ecological concern began to show up with the intervention of the under-secretary for Public Education, who ordered suspension of work for reasons of "artistic and monumental value and landscape conservation".

As the intricate controversy developed the argument for the absolute necessity of the autodrome prevailed, even though with smaller size than originally planned, and at the end of April official approval was received.

A circuit with features comparable to those originally called for, although with a total length reduced to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), was built on an area of 340 hectares (840 acres).

Work began on May 15th with completion date set for August 15th: 3,500 workers, 200 waggons, 30 lorries, and a narrowgauge railway 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long with 2 locomotives and 80 cars were employed.

The autodrome was completed in the record time of 110 days and the track was entirely covered for the first time on July 28th by Petro Bordino and Felice Nazzaro in a Fiat 570.The circuit conceived by Alfredo Rosselli included a high-speed loop with a total lenght of 4.5 kilometres (2.79 mi) featuring two banked curves on an embankment rising 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) above surrounding terrain.

These curves had a radius of 320 metres (1,050 ft) and made possible a theoretical top speed of 180-190 kilometres per hour (112-118 mph).

They were linked by two straights, each 1,070 metres (3,424 ft) long. The road track was 5.5 kilometres (3.41 mi) long and included a curve with radii varying from 600 metres (1,920 ft) to 90 metres (288 ft) and maximum roadbed width of 12 metres (38.4 ft).

The two straights were connected on the south by the "little curve" with a radius of 155 metres (496 ft) and slightly banked, The road and speed tracks intersected on two levels with an underpass in the Serraglio zone.

The straights were surfaced with tarred mecadam while all the curves were surfaced with concrete, also tarred.

The public was received in two separate areas. The stands enclosure included the central grandstand with 3,000 seats, and six side stands with 1,000 seats each, entirely built of wood and measonry.

The park enclosure included bleachers on the outside of the high-speed curves, the small south curve, and near the confluence of the two tracks.

The track was officially opened on a rainy 3rd September 1922 with Premier Facta present, a race being run with Voiturettes and won by Pietro Bordino in a racing model Fiat 501.

This was followed on September 8th by the motorcycle Grand Prix of Nations with overall factory going to Amedeo Ruggeri on a Harley Davidson 1000 and Gnesa making a brilliant showing with a 2- stroke Garelli 350 in the 500 class.

On September 10th the second Italian Grand Prix for automobiles was again won by Bordino in a 6-cylinder Fiat 804.



Competitions on the original courses (1922-1928)

All the events mentioned were run on the full 10-kilometre track, as they were in the following five years.

The circuit fullfilled its assigned task excellently, both as to its show and testing-ground functions, even though within a very few years competition cars and motorcycles had greatly increased their speed and exceeded the limits provided for by the characteristics of the banked curves.

In 1924 already, and even more in1925, the supercharged Alfa Romeo P2, winner of these first two Grand Prix races, reached speeds better than 220 kilometres per hour (136 mph), and the best bikes of the thirties came close to the fateful 200 km/h (l24 mph) limit.

Apart from the Italian Grand Prix, the most successful shows had motorcycles for their stars.

The Grand Prix of Nations for 1924 was a triumph for the Guzzi 500, a one horizontal cylinder bike with overhead camshaft and four valves, ridden by Mentasti, who gave Italy its first victory in the exclusive world of champion 2- wheelers.

Starting the following season a sort of standardization of mechanical values was established, which predominated over technical factors at Monza.

From 1925 to 1929 the single-cylinder Bianchi 350 with double camshaft initiated a kind of dictatorship in its class thanks mainly to Tazio Nuvolari.

Then the Sunbeam with overhead valves had four consecutive wins in the 500 class ridden by Varzi, Arcangeli and Franconi.

In 1926 the single-camshaft Moto Guzzi 250 made its debut and began setting a series of records difficult to equal and broken only in 1938 by Benelli, which took the first three places in the class.

A similar situation developed in the 175 class due to Benelli.

Minor events were also run on the full 10-kilometre circuit like the Tourism Grand Prix for motorcycles and the Sidecar Criterium, won respectively in 1923 by Rubbietti on a Bianchi, and Cavadini on a Norton; the automobile Grand Prix of the Fair, won in 1925 by Vaghi on a Sam, and in 1926 by the Fiat team; economy runs; and other events.

In the 1928 Grand Prix of Italy and Europe the first and most serious accident in the history of Italian motor racing occured, causing the death of the driver Emilio Materassi and twenty-seven spectators.

This tragic event, caused by a collision on the grandstand straight, had a negative effect on the organization of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, which was temporarily discontinued.



Alternative courses (1929-1938)

In 1929, cars competed only in the Monza Grand Prix which was run exclusively on the high-speed loop for safety reasons.

Varzi in an Alfa Romeo and Alfieri Maserati in Maserati touched 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph) for the first time in their fastest laps.

The same loop was used in 1931 for a motorcycle Monza Grand Prix in which overall winner Taruffi recorded nearly 170 kilometres per hour (105,4 mph) lap average on a Norton.

In the meantime the president of the Automobile Sports Commission Vincenzo Florio, the enthusiastic Sicilian patron, had studied a new course which, leaving the structure of the circuit unchanged, made use only of the road track and the banked curve on the south linked by a short straight and two ninety-degree bends.

The so- called "Florio circuit" with a total lenght of 6,680 metres (4,14 mi) was also used by motorcycles and, in the last race before the war, the 1938 Grand Prix races were run there both by cars and motorcycles.

The full 10-kilometre circuit was used again by cars in the 1932 and 1933 Grand Prix races.

In the latter year Campari, Borzacchini and Czaykowski lost their lives on the southern banked curve due to oil on the track.

This accident with three deaths led to the adoption of a series of alternative layouts, the worst of which must be considered the one adopted in 1934, when segments including the small southern curve, the southern banked curve, the short "Florio circuit" link and half of the grandstand straight with a U-bend to be taken from a dead stop were used.

Two artificial chicanes were inserted in the circuit.

As a result of all this averages were very low, the winners Fagioli and Caracciola in a Mercedes making scarcely 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph).

For the following two years cars returned to the "Florio circuit", full of chicanes, then in 1937 the race was run on the Livorno circuit, and in 1938 there was a final exhibition on the Florio circuit, which was crowned by the splendid victory of Tazio Nuvolari in an Auto Union ahead of the powerful Mercedes team.

For political reason the motorcycle races were transferred in 1932, '33 and '34 to Rome, where they held their Grand Prix on the Littorio circuit.

They reappeared at Monza in a critical year 1935, the year of the Ethiopian war and of econowic sanctions against Italy, taking part in a purely Italian race over the full 10-kilometre circuit.

In that race the twin cylinder Guzzi 500 set a general average of over 170 kilometres per hour (105.4 mph) while the Rondine 500 4-cylinder with supercharger did 172 km/h (107 mph) on its fastest lap.

Having regained its standing as an international classic in 1936 and 1937 the motorcycle Grand Prix made it clear that, on a fast track like Monza, Italian bikes were clearly superior to the finest German products.

In both these events the moto Guzzi 250, with very high averages, higher than those established in the 350 class, easily beat the 2-stroke DKW with supercharger.

In the 500 class the BMW supercharged twins were beaten in 1936 by Tenni on a Moto Guzzi twin, and in 1937 by Aldrighetti on a supercharged 4-cylinder Gilera, who averaged over 177 km/h (109 mph) on his fastest lap.


The 1936 track layout

In 1938 an extensive programme of modifications to the racing facilities was put in effect including resurfacing of the road course, pulling down of the two banked curves on the speed track, construction of a new and more capacious central grandstand of reinforced concrete, new pits and service buildings, and renovation of the score board installations for the public.

Work was begun after the Italian Grand Prix in mid-September and was completed the following year.

On the road circuit the central straight was shifted westward and linked to the grandstand straight by two 90■ bends with 60-metre (646 ft) radii, which were called the 'porphyry bends" due to the stone paving applied.



The single road course (1939-1954)

The new course measured 6,300 metres (3.91 mi) and was used through 1954. The new grandstand with 2,000 seats, a restaurant on the ground floor, and a turret for timers; 30 refuelling pits built of masorny; a monumental track entrance; a number of additional garages; various service buildings added or rebuilt were the main changes made to the facilities just before World War II.

They could be utilized only during a few testing sessions such as those of the untried Alfa Romeo 512 with rear engine and the supercharged 4cylinder Bianchi 500.

The war interrupted all sports activity and while it lasted the autodrome was used for various purposes including that of refuge for the Public Automobile Registry archives, some of the Milan Automobile Club's offices, and even the animals removed from the Milan zoo.

In April, 1945, the grandstand straight was host to a parade of Allied armoured vehicles, which broke up the track.

A little later, large areas were used for storage of military vehicles and war surplus, mainly in the southern part of the circuit.

Besides the track, the pits, buildings and stands also suffered from this situation and little remained that was useable.

At the beginning of 1948 the Milan Automobile Club decided on complete restoration of the autodrome.

Once again, in a very short lapse of time of less than two months, the facilities were restored to their original functionality.

Structures were put back in order and the modifications planned in 1938 and never put in effect were finally applied.

The major Italian events for cars and motorcycles in 1948, which had already been planned, were held on the Valentino circuit in Turin for cars, and at Faenza for bikes.

But that same year the reborn Monza Autodrome held the autodrome Grand Prix on October 17th, a Formula 1 race which was won by the Frenchman Wimille with an Alfa Romeo 158.

One week later the short autumn season ended with last race of the Italian motorcycle championship.

It is difficult to make a technical comparison between the new road course and the last "Florio" with its chicanes prepared for the 1938 Grand Prix.

Whereas the 1938 Grand Prix single-seaters had a swept volume of 3,000 cc, the new ones had supercharged 1,500 cc engines or 4,500 cc, unblown engines.

For motorcycles, supercharging and special fuels had been prohibited.

The 188 km/h (117 mph) fastest lap made by Sanesi with an Alfa Romeo in the automobile Grand Prix, and especially the lap averages made in the motorcycle Grand Prix - 177 km/h for the 125 cc, 144 km/h for the 250 cc, 160 km/h for the 500 cc - showed that the new road circuit had to be considered faster than the "Florio circuit" of 10 years before.

With its renewed facilities the Autodrome was host to all the events between 1949 and 1954.

During this period accommodation for the public was in particular improved with small covered stands on the outside of the second "porphyry" bend and the second Lesmo curve.

Other small stands were installed at the "porphyry" bends while a number of boxes were built for the public on the roof of' the refuelling pits.

The 6,300-metre road circuit witnessed numerous formula changes for Grand Prix cars with the 1,500/4,500 cc Formula 1 up to 1951, the 2,000 cc Formula 2 in 1952 and 1953, and the new 2,500 cc Formula 1 in 1954.

For this reason it is difficult to evaluate the technical and functional developments of these cars on the basis of performance at Monza.

Contrarily, motorcycling results are a clear indication of the increased speed achieved, first by progressively increasing specific power, and second, mainly by having continuously more complete recourse to aerodynamic fairings.

In 1954 general averages rose to 146 km/h (90 mph) for the 125 cc bikes and nearly 180 km/h (112 mph) for the 500 cc class.

In the meantime the activies of the autodrome had been enriched by a number of events including the Inter Europe Cup for Touring cars introduced in 1949, the Autodrome Grand Prix reserved for Formula 2 single- seaters (except in 1953 when it was run with International Sports Cars), and it was sometimes coupled with the Monza Lottery.

In 1954 Lottery prizes were awarded according to the outcome of the Supercortemaggiore Grand Prix, a 1,000 kilometre (620 mi) race sponsored by Italy's major oil company and reserved for Sports category cars up to 5,000 cc.

This race was won that year by Mike Hawthorn in a Ferrari and the second year by Jean Behra in a Maserati.




The new courses: speed loop, parabolic curve, Junior track (1955-1971)

In 1955 it was decided to undertake works which would transform the entire installation, making it more functional.

A circuit with total lenght of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) was put back m use including, like the original 1922 plan, a road section and a high-speed section meeting the new competition requirements and suitable for record attempts.

A loop with two banked curves was built following the 1922 plan except that the track was set back on the south side to allow for an underpass and there was an intersection with the road circuit similar to the original one.

Concerning the road course, lenght was reduced by shortening the central straight and the grandstand straight and building on the south a curve with a single pitch and a slight cross slope.

This curve had an increasing radius toward the exit and was called the "parabolic" for this reason.

It replaced the two porphy- paved curves.

The lenght of this course was 5,750 metres (3.57 mi).

The new high-speed track was 4,250 metres (2.64 mi) long and was built on reinforced concrete structures instead of an earth embankment as originally.

The two big banked curves with radii of 320 metres and superelevation with slope increasing progressively to 80% in the top band were calculated for theoretical top speeds of approximately 285 kilometres per hour (177 mph).

Other improvements to the facilities were the construction of two large towers with luminous scoreboards set at the sides of the central grandstand and fourteen steel towers (seven along the road circuit and seven along the high speed track) to give the race positions along the track, new race control offices, thirty-nine promotion stands, a two-storey press pavilion, and removal of the stand that had stood outside the now obsolete "porphyry" curves.

The full 10-kilometre circuit was used for the Italian automobile Grand Prix races in 1955, 1956 1960 and 1961.

The high-speed track, in addition to numerous record attempts by cars and motorcycles, was used in 1957 and 1958 for the Monza 500 Mile races open to Indianapolis Formula cars and counting for award of the Two Worlds Trophy offered as prize by the Monza City Administration, a first experiment in bringing to Europe the famous American champions with their powerful single-seaters.

The 1957 event was practically deserted by European constructors, and particularly the Italians.

Jimmy Brian with his Dean Van Lines Special won two heats out of three and won the competition with a general average of 257.594 km/h (160 mph) and fastest lap of 282.809 km/h (175 mph).

Italian car constructors showed some interest the following year and entered against the Indianapolis specialists two Ferraris (a 4,000 cc and a 3,000 cc) driven respectively by Luigi Musso and Harry Shell, and a very special Maserati sponsored by the Eldorado icecream company and driven by Stirling Moss.

Musso achieved the best time in practice with an average of 281 km/h and, with the collaboration of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill, the car placed third in the final classification, Moss with the Maserati-Eldorado taking seventh.

Jim Rathmann won with his Zink Leader Gard Spl. at over 268 km/h average.

The lack of experience of the Italian cars was expected, but the American single-seaters had only some tire problems on the extremely fast track with its high banked curves.

Their stout frames absorbed without difficulty the severe stresses caused by centrifugal forces.

But developments were different for the Formula 1 single-seaters, new construction techniques imported from England such as rear engine, monocoque or in any case very light bodies, which were unable to resist the stresses of the banked curves, began to gain acceptance in those very years.

The tragic 1961 Italian Grand Prix run on the full 10-kilometre circuit and saddened by the fatal accident that cost the life, at the entrance to the 'parabolic" curve, of Von Trips in a Ferrari and eleven spectators, marked the end of the use of the high speed track for Grand Prix single-seaters.

But it was used for the Monza 1,000 Kilometre, reserved for the Sports, Prototype and Grand Touring categories, from 1965 to 1969.

The first of these races run on the track without chicanes was won by Parkes-Guichet in a Ferrari 330 P2.

Starting in 1966 there were two permanent chicanes at the entrance to the banked curves and the course was 100 metres longer.

Winners of those races were Surtees-Parkes in a Ferrari 330 P2 in 1966, Bandini-Amon in a Ferrari 330 P4 in 1967, Hawkins-Hobbs in a Ford GT 40 in 1968, and Siffert-Redman in a Porsche 908 in 1969.

In 1970 the 1,000 Kilometre was moved to the 5,750-metre road circuit and the first edition was won by Rodriguez at the wheel of the Porsche 917.

To make better use of the circuit, in 1959, following the growing number of entrants in the junior training formula, which used single-seaters powered by stock 1,100 cc engines (usually Fiat 1100 or Lancia Appia), a track link was created connecting the grandstand straight with the central straight on the north.

This weaving link gave rise to a course which included the parabolic curve and originally measured 2,405 metres.

On this short track were run Junior Formula races and other automobile and motorcycle competitive events.

In 1961 a vast safety works plan was put into effect, involving the entire 10-kilometre combined circuit and including modern protective systems using carefully designed and built reinforced fences as well as guard rails.

In 1963 the pit area was entirely rebuilt, tearing down the existing building which contained twenty-four refuelling pits and twenty-two promotion pits.

The works included the building of a service lane protected by a low wall in front, the rebuilding further back of thirty refuelling pits and eight others for industries while a 3-storey building with bathrooms was built for race control officials.

Meanwhile in 1962, at the request of the Italian Period Car Federation, a pavilion was built behind the garage fence to house motor cars and vehicles of historical interest.

This is a modern building with original architecture, with a rhombus-shaped floor plan and a roof consisting of two domical vaults with a triangular plan.

This pavilion occupies an area of 850 square metres and contains numerous standard and competition models including some rare items which are witnesses to the evolution of vehicle engineering from its beginnings.

On the initiative of the Autodrome, starting in 1964 a new training formula began to take shape, the Monza Formula reserved for midget single-seaters powered by flat-twin Fiat 500 engines.

Starting in 1965 a trophy was set up for these cars with a series of races which took place mainly at night.

To make these races possible the Junior course was equipped with a lighting installation with 218 tungsten floodlights mounted on fifty supporting poles spaced approximately fifty metres apart and beamed in such a way as to avoid blinding.

In this same period works were completed to improve safety condition on the "parabolic" curve, where the embankment which had caused the fatal accident of which the Swiss driver Spychiger was the victim in the 1965 1,000 Kilometre was set back twenty-five metres, while the area between the track and the new, embankment was converted into a deceleration zone with a sand bed.

In addition to events for all categories of cars and motorcycles, a large variety of activities had been carried on at the Autodrome for years.

Starting in 1950, when the track was not being used for races, official practice or exclusive engagements, it had been opened for unrestricted driving by the public for a small fee.

In the internal area were created a camping ground, an olympic swimming pool with auxiliary facilities, a circular track for model cars, all of which offered a considerable attraction to the public.

On the track, in addition to the normal racing activity and numerous record attempts, new models of automobiles were presented, and there were fuel economy runs and technical tryouts of many kinds.

In the large hall under the central grandstand several sports fashion shows were held.

An event inaugurated in 1966 and still very lively, held at the beginning of September at the same time as the major Italian motor events, is the Autodrome Festival.

Its most significant expression is the sports vehicle and accessory show, which is housed in a special pavilion made of demountable structures erected on the lawn between the two main straights, behind the Autodrome village.

Each year, this pavilion is host to cars intended for the practice of motor sports and included in the price list of their respective builders, but single items of particular interest are also on view; at the first Festival was presented the famous Lotus Ford with which Jim Clark won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965, and later there appeared the Hawk Special with which Andretti won the same American classic in 1969.

Racing cars by Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Matra, Ligier and Porsche - to mention only some of the most prestigious names - have been exhibited at this very popular show.

The exhibition of sports vehicles and their accessories was accompanied by other attractions such as a fun-fair, gastronomic shows, production car tests reserved for the public and organised on the track by the manufacturers dragster races and stuntcar events.

Great enthusiasm was raised at the Italian Grand Prix races, by the spectacular exhibitions put on by the Tricolour Arrows, the Italian Air Force's acrobatic team.

The 5,750-metre road circuit inaugurated in 1955 has been the most used in the history of the Monza Autodrome, thirteen times up to 1971 for the automobile Grand Prix races and seventeen times up to 1972 for the motorcycle Grand Prix.

Due to the rather frequent technical formula changes in the cars a reliable comparison of performances and development can only be made for the single-seaters as from 1966, the year the 3,000 cc engine formula was started.

The fastest lap average that year (Scarfiotti-Ferrari) was 224 kilometres per hour, then going to 233.96 in 1967 (Clark-Lotus), 239.3 m 1968 (Oliver-Lotus), 242.95 in 1969 and '70 (Beltoise-Matra and Regazzoni-Ferrari respectively), and finally 247 km/h in 1971 (Pescarolo-March).

The same year 1971 Chris Amon and Matra had exceeded 251 km/h in practice.

The fastest, most powerful 500 cc motorcycles had done the lap at over 180 km/h in 1955 (Duke-Gilera), 190 km/h in 1957 (Liberati-Gilera), and 200 km/h in 1970 (Agostini-MV Agusta).

Agostini also holds the overall motorcycle record for the track with an average of 204.545 km/h in 1971.

In the spring of the same year work was begun to improve accomodation and visibility for the public; there was the construction of a covered reinforced concrete stand with 2,000 seats financed by a Shell contribution outside the entrance to the "parabolic" curve, and the erection of an embankment along the straight preceding the stand and along the entire periphery of the area inside the same curve, with reinforced concrete bleachers providing over 10,000 seats.




Courses and structures adapted to new cars (1972-1981)

In the meantime net safety measures had become necessary owing to the continually increasing performance of the cars, due in particular to the use of wide tyres with compounds having a high adherence coefficient and smooth tread, as well as aerodynamic devices such as the "wings" on the rear and spoilers on the front givig much higher cornering speeds than in the past, and increased engine power.

The general conditions of equilibrium which resulted from these innovations in races had brought to Monza ever more fierce and dangerous competition, grouping continuously more cars in leading positions.

At the same time the cars themselves had become even lighter and more fragile.

In 1969 the Italian Grand Prix came to a close finish.

In 1970 Regazzoni managed to break away from the group, taking the lead a few laps from the end.

In 1971 there was again a close finish with five grouped cars in a space of a few yards.

As mentioned already, these carrousels took place at general averages ever nearer to 250 kilometres per hour.

In relation with this development of cars and in concert with the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association) two chicanes were built in 1972 for the purpose of reducing speed at the entrance to the fastest curves on the course, the "curva grande" (big bend) at the end of the grandstand straight and the "Ascari" curve.

These chicanes had a selective function for cars and drivers; the first was located on the grandstand straight at the Junior cut-off entrance and consisted of an S on the 24- metre width of the track made by means of two consecutive central islands, bounded by guardrails and separated by a passage 9 metres wide.

The second was built at the entrance to the Ascari curve and consisted of an elongated S, made up of a rather tight short-radius left curve followed by a right curve with a larger radius and an approximately 80■ bend, and finally a 52■ left curve leading into the central straight.

On this 5,775- metre circuit the lap speed achieved with the single seaters fell to a little less than 216 km/h.

The highest lap average obtained on this circuit was that of Clay Regazzoni in a Ferrari in 1975.

Other significant events for automobiles were run on the same course, including the 4-Hour for Touring cars, which usually opened the season, and the 1,000 Kilometre, which however had lost its onetime prestige because of an unwise change in its formula and increasing disinterest of car constructors then the Lottery Grand Prix which, after being based on the Formula 2, was reserved for Formula 3 single- seaters, which marked up technical and competitive records of the first order.

In 1973, after the chicanes, a new stand was built at Lesmo of steel and masonry to replace the small stand which had been built in 1948.

The chicanes, however, proved to be a makeshift solution and were responsible for numerous accidents and collisions, although not serious.

And then, just as the cars had done motorcycles, too, at the end of the seventies, adopted large tyres with high adherence-coefficient compounds, later with smooth-treads which, as they let riders lean over further, improved speed in the curves while considerably increasing the risk off alling and hence the number of accidents.

But the motorcycles continued to use the road course without chicanes and, in the first half of 1973, there were two serious accidents on the "big curve".

The first happened in the Grand Prix of Nations; shortly after the start of the 250 class, Renzo Pasolini had a piston seizure which caused many to fall and in which Pasolini himself and Jarno Saarinen of Finland lost their lives.

Forty days later in a Juniores race the "gentlemen" riders Chionio, Galtrucco and Colombini fell and were fata/ly injured at the same point.

From then until 1981 the motorcycle Grand Prix was transferred to another circuit and bikes raced at Monza only on the Junior track for minor championships.

In this sport, too, extremely high speeds were achieved with Pasolini exceeding a lap average of 200 Km/h with a 350 cc a few hours before his fatal accident.

Following the serious situation created for cars, too, by the repeated, if not serious, accidents, which showed the ineffectiveness of the chicanes, in the three years which followed important work was undertaken to replace them with three layout changes or variants to slow down the course.

In 1974 the chicane of the "Vialone" was completely revised, replacing the tight initial curve with a longer one and modifying the subsequent layout; on the continuation of the approaching straight a broad run-off area was created with a sand layer and catch fences.

In 1976, to replace the chicane located on the grandstand straight a variant was created in the section of the same straight after the beginning of the north curve of the speed track, consisting of a succession of two left curves alternating with two right curves with radius and angle such as to reduce speed in that section to about 100 km/A at the inlet and 120 km/h at the end.

Top speed on the approaching straight of the "Big Curve" was thus reduced from over 300 km/h to about 180 km/h.

At the same time another variant was built at approximately 300 metres from the entrance to the first Lesmo curve, consisting of a left curve followed by a right curve and forcing reduction of top speed on the following straight from 280 km/h to 180 km/h.

These two variants was were also given adequate run-off areas with sand layers and catch fences.

The three variants, which brought the length of the road course to 5,800 metres, considerably reduced practicable speeds.

Ronnie Peterson in a March won the Italian Grand Prix that year at 199.749 km/h and recorded a fastest lap of 206.120 km/h a speed improved on by Mario Andretti with a Lotus in 1977 (210.696 km/h) and 1978 (212.562 km/h), and by Clay Regazzoni in a Williams in 1979 (218.410 km/h), while in 1981 bad weather brought the record average made by Reutemann in a Williams down to 214.092 km/h.

From 1979 to 1981 numerous, substantial changes were made to the facilities and track safety installations, required by demands for better operating conditions and comfort insistently made by entrants in the Grand Prix races and to adapt safety conditions to the growing dangerousness of Formula 1 cars.

As we know, the search for the so-called "ground effect" pursued by means of the special form and sealing with side skirts of the lower part of these cars, as well as weight reduction using sometimes unauthorised contrivances, and the nearly complete elimination of Suspension systems, not only further increased cornering speeds but also considerably reduced the drivers control of the car.

Indeed, the driver proved to be practically "driven" by the car proportionately to the virtual adherence given it by these devices and was seldom able to correct changes in motion resulting from his own errors of from external causes.

Hence the need to further increase track safety measures.

As regards facilities, the changes affected in the first place the pit area.

Complying with the request of FOCA (Formula One Constructors' Association) the number of pits was increased from thirty to forty-six.

The entire adjacent area was restructured behind the pits to create a paddock and a scrutineering enclosure of over 9,000 square metres where competitors can move about and work with ease.

The front pit corridor upas broadened from 9 to 12 metres and divided in three lanes In the meantime the press room was made larger, doubling the number of work places for journalists and creating a press office for the organiser and, later, a terrace with a bar.

As regards safety measures, to a number of works completed in 1979 to enlarge the external verges of the "Big Curve" and the Lesmo and Vialone Curves by building up sand bends and installing special tyre barriers at the terminal section of the two latter curves, was added a further enlargement of the external verge in the approximately 300-metre section from the "Big Curve" to the Roggia Curve, consequently shifting the existing Dunlop bridge, and along the last 300 metres of the Parabolic curve, here again installating sand beds and tyre barriers.

In adddition, the kerbs on the inside of all the variants were replaced with new lower ones with a less sharp profile.

This change was made in particular to meet the requirements of motorcycle races, and the safety conditions found during the Grand Prix of Nations in 1981 proved to be quite satisfactory, but the problem remained unsolved for cars without skirts for which these kerbs were not sufficiently deterrent.

Works to improve protective installation in the second Lesmo curve area on the right-band side of the track were carried out by shifting the guardrail and creating a service road for emergency vehicle reaching the Serraglio curve.

The work to improve the safety of the track required the felling of about 400 trees, which have been replaced by 1,200 specimens of select species planted in other areas.

Track activity in this period had been constantly centred on automobile races at all levels, starting with the Italian Grand Prix, which in 1978 was marred by a fatal accident caused by a collision a few hundred metres after the start.

Vittorio Brambilla was badly hurt and was only released from hospital after many months, while Ronnie Peterson of Sweden died shortly after the accident in the hospital.

Races counting toward the Cadet Trophy remain in the forefront with ten events each year involving a very respectable number of entrants, which confirms the validity of this promotional formula.

Motorcycles made their raeppearance at a high level for the 1981 Grand Prix of Nations, a race trubled by bad weather, hence not very significant for appraisal of the capabilities of bikes of various piston displacements.

Italian,Senior and Junior motorcycle championships were also run succesfully in 1979, '80 and '81.

At that time, in its various configurations -- road course 5,800 metres long, Junior course 2,405 metres long and, more rarely, speed course 4,250 metres long - the circuit was used for various other types of motor sport events, regularity competitions, dragster race, gymkhanas, driver's schools, but also non-motor sports such as cycling and running, roller skating, roller skiing, and so on.

Off the track other motor sport were practiced and included motorcycle trials and automobile rallies, as well as various non-motor activities such as plant, animal flower and foodstuff shows, matches and exibitions of basketball, American football, boxing, judo, table tennis, artistic skating and gymnastics.

Italian and international races were held on the special model track.




Renovation and development (1982-1990)

In this period the autodrome has been completely modernized in accordance with a wide-ranging programme that took in the structures related directly to racing as well as those required to accommodate the public and the management.

This vast operation came to a conclusion in the summer of 1990 with the completion of the new pits complex.

The entire renovation of the autodrome's most important facilities -- excluding the track, which remains unchanged - began in 1982 with the construction of the new winners' podium.

Between then and now the following work has been carried out: the enlargement of the paddock by 3,500 sq m (1983); the replacement of all the stands overlooking the central straight on both sides of the central grandstand with new, covered structures capable of accommodating 8,913 people (1983-85); the reinforcement of the crowd control system along the entire length of the course (the erection of an insurmountable barrier aimed at preventing the crowd from invading the track before the end of the race, 1985); the widening of the safety zones at the entrance to and exit from the Junior track link, the construction of a new campsite building complete with reception centre, offices and shop; the resurfacing of 20,000 sq m of paddock, 3,500 sq m of which with ecological paving bricks (1986); the rebuilding of the Lesmo grandstand roof, which had collapsed under the weight of an exceptional snow fall (1987); the replacement of the stands overlooking the south curve with a new covered grandstand able to accommodate 2,500 spectators (1988), the substitution of the catch fences with tyre barriers and the trebling of about 3,000 metres of guardrail have been a major contribution to track protection (1988-1989).

In 1989 work finally began on the most important part of the new installations, i.e. the new pits complex, but this was possible only after long and extenuating deals with the town councils of Milan and Monza (the owners of the Park) and the Lombardy Regional Council regarding the granting of the necessary permits.

The extension of the pits and the improvement of press facilities that FISA and FOCA had been demanding for some time, represented two essential prerequisites that had to be fulfilled if the Monza autodrome was to continue as the venue for the Italian Grand Prix.

In the late spring of 1989 it was possible, at last, to begin the job of renovating these particular facilities.

The new pits complex has about the same length as the old pits building; it is a two-storey structure measuring 196.30 metres m length and about 12.90 metres m width.

The first floor has a practicable terrace-roof. The basic principle of the design derives from a constructional system made up of a series of steel uprights set at 24 metre intervals and capped by recticular steel girders to which the horizontal structural elements are suspended.

The image is therefore one of a high-tech construction whose appearance gives an impression of remarkable visual lightness.

Perhaps the most detective feature possessed by this construction is its trapezoidal section.

The slant of the wall facing the track fulfils three important functions: it prevents the sun's rays onto the track and thus the dazzling of the drivers, it helps reduce heat transmission towards the interior; it affords a better view of the pit lane cars.

The choice of a building projections was dictated by the desire to create an ordered element within a fairly inorganic context and by the necessity to avoid the creation of volumes too conspicuous in respect to the environment.

The ground floor, which measures a total of 2,532 sq m, is entirely taken up by the pits.

The pit system is made up of 48 modular units, each having a 4 m frontage and a 12,9 m width.

These units can be combined, thanks to the movable wall panels, to form 16 pits of 3 units each, suitable for 16 formula one two car team.

This composition can be modified according to the number of cars of every one team.

Each three units pit is equipped with toilet facilities and each has a safety exit through the overhead doors towards the paddock, and a rolling gate towards the track, The fire resistence will be of 120 minutes for the entire structure and of 180 minutes for the pits, The first floor measures 3,505 covered sq m including a two steps standard measuring 658 square metres along the entire side facing the track.

An open corridor measuring 724,5 sq m along the paddock side gives access to the first floor rooms.

On this floor there is a press room, suitable to accommodate more than 300 journalists, with relative offices, rooms for telephones, telex and fax services, and, along the track side, a press stand.

On the first floor there also offices and rooms to cope with the requirements of organisation, hospitality and other services.

The first floor roof-terrace is reserved as hospitality area and relative services, and photographic laboratories.

To serve the pit complex new technological systems have been installed in the paddock, partially underground designed to serve also other users in the autodrome (offices, race control, restaurant).

These systems provide the production and distribution of hot and chilled water for the air conditioning in the press room and the public relations and hospitality rooms, as well as hot water for all services, including the mechanics' showers.

The water is heated by exploiting the excess heat generated by the refrigeration plant and the compressor (installed to provide all 48 pits with compressed air).

In 1989, among other interventions to improve technologycal systems the existing electrical transforming stations were extended and restructured while a new transformer room able to convert medium voltages into low voltages was installed in the paddock.

The total power available was boosted from 400 to 2300 KVA, These improvements, together with the secondary electrical, telephone and data processing control board and installations, complete the technological equipment of the pit complex.

Concerning the services related to the events a part of the central grandstand formerly occupied by the press stand is now equipped with 36 soundproofed booths for TV and radio commentators, increased by 9, on a temporary structure, in major events.

As to medical services the medical centre has been enlarged and is now equipped with 3 first aid rooms and 2 intensive treatment units.

As to track service, the race control offices have been restructured and soundproofed, The scope of the renovation work was also extended to the new offices for the management.

These are now housed in the two buildings formerly used as press room, which have been suitably reconstructed, interconnected by a prefab used as reception office.

An office, with adjoing terrace, for the CSAI (Italian Sports Commission) has been created on top of one of the abovementioned buildings.

The old management offices, also reconstructed, have been rented to a sponsor for use as hospitality centre.

Additional work has also been carried out in old garage area to transform a service building into hospitality rooms, rented to a second sponsor.

Renovation work has included also improvements and/or extensions of other technological installations.

Among them, the most outstanding items is an integrated system devised by the Digital electronics company for the measurement, processing and transmission of data as well as for the remote control of the closed circuit television system and for the connection of track telephone sets, with the renewal of related equipment, This is an vanguard system that, thanks to a number of check points and a cables lines (broadband and other cables) running alongside the track, is able to supply in real time all the data regarding the cars involved in the race (instant positions, the maximum speed of each car, lap by lap analyses of times) and even to monitor the physical condition of the drivers.

The whole system is managed by a powerful central computer usable also for the informatic management of other internal autodrome services.

The operation of the all system is controlled by a control and supervision centre using digital technology, which can print out or display information regarding current status and malfunctions, if any.

This allows not only a correct energetic management but also an analysis in real time of defects and location of faults.

Another innovation has been the installation of a network (1,500 m long for distribution of methane and the consequent adaptation of old apparatus and equipment formerly run on others fuels.

The Italian Grand Prix was the greatest attraction for the public during this period, an event that has always been held -- in recent years at least -- on the road circuit, the layout of which has been unchanged since 1976.

The fans' enthusiasm has been steadily kindled by the struggle involving Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, and other famous teams.

The turbocharged engines have determined a notable increase in specific power output and, therefore, a considerable increase in average speeds.

Ferrari pulled off a notable win in 1988 when Berger and Alboreto took the first two places, a feat that was made easier by the fact that Ayrton Senna in the McLaren, who had led the field earlier on, was forced to slow down in the closing stages.

On that occasion, great expectations regarding the performance of the Ferrari attracted a record crowd.

As far as the 1990 event was concerned, the winner Senna scored, during practice, the best lap time outright with 1'22"533 (average of 252.990 km/h = 157.205 mph).

Delays in the construction of the new pits, caused by difficulties encountered in obtainig the various permits, forced the organizers to cancel the 1989 Caracciolo Trophy, a Sports Prototypes race, a direct successor of the old 1000 Kilometres, a classic Monza event.

This race found its way back onto the FIA calendar in 1990, still an event in the World Sports Prototypes Championship, but in a reduced 481 kilometres version as required by the new regulations.

During this period this race has been steadily dominated by the Porsche, although the Jaguar won in 1987 and 1988 and the Mercedes in 1990.

Other important dates in 1988 and 1989 were the races valid for the international F. 3000 championship, a genuine proving ground for those hoping to break in to Formula 1 competition.

The Monza Lottery Grand Prix has also acquired considerable technical importance, on account of the progress made by the Formula 3 cars, and particularly by those of Italian manufacture.

However in 1990 the race was not run in combination with the popular lottery, which was linked instead with the World Cup finals, Italy being the host nation that year.

Other outstanding annual appointments include the Mario Angiolini Trophy and the Leopoldo e Arnaldo Carri Cup for touring cars; the InterEurope Cup, which attracts ever larger numbers of historic cars, the Autodrome Rally, i.e. a rally held on the track, an unique event, the Agip Cadet Trophy for F. Panda and the Lombardy Trophy for F. Fire, which are fought out exclusively at Monza in 10 races; Italian Formula Alfa Boxer Championship, Formula 2000 and national sport Prototype races and the Madunina Trophy for historic Formula cars.

In recent years motorcycles have also returned to Monza, both for that most classic Italian event, the Grand Prix of Nations, a race valid for the World Championship, (in 1983, 1986 and 1987), as well as for events valid for other titles.

As far as the upper capacity classes are concerned, the predominance of Japanese teams or their European representatives has been confirmed, with the half-and quarter-litre machines recording best lap times in excess of 190 km/h.

However, the European flag was kept flying by Italy's Garelli 125s, and during the 1988 Grand Prix winner Fausto Gresini set a lap record of almost 168 km/h.

The autodrome calendar included other numerous motorcycle events in recent years: these ranged from the Swiss Speed Championship to the World endurance Championship, from the Italian Sport Production Championship, to the European Championship, and from promotional events to several 2nd cat. rallies.

In 1990, the road circuit also hosted a world level motorcycle event: the World Superbike Grand Prix, Among other activities and events connected with the specific functions of the circuit the following are worth mentioning: car and motorcycle 2nd category rallies, handicappeds' competitions, slaloms, gimkanes, omologation tests by Traffic Control Authority, electric car tests by the Milan Technical High School, safe driving schools, The Autodrome has also continued to fulfil his function as important centre for leisure and non-motorized sports, In this connection many such events took place in this period: non-competive "Formula One" foot race that has become a regular date for over 20,000 runners every spring; the multi-sport Festival that features a wide variety of sports disciplines, the yearly sports cars and accessories Show; model-cars and bicycle races, automobile auctions.

When the track is not being used for practice or racing, people, as usual, have been able to use it in their own cars or motocycles, or covert a couple of lips on their bikes, on foot, even roller skates or roller-skis.

Much attended the olympic swimming-pool, as well the campsite that has continued to attract a growing number of campers even when no race figures on the calendar.

Last but not least, the Autodrome was the daily destination of tourists from Italy and from abroad.

For the Italian GP in 2000, the track was modified, with the Variante della Rogia chicane being moved back and lengthened, and the prima variante being made into a sharper right-left chicane. This lengthened the track from 5.770 km to 5.792 km, and was designed to prevent cars straight-lining them.


1978 - An alternative venue?


In 1978, the Monza track had been threatened with closure, so an alternative venue was sought. The planned new track looked remarkably like the original Monza track, but it was never built after the political problems were "solved", and the Monza Autodrome continued.