Discover some facts and podium predictions ahead of the Italian GP where history and a curse are intertwined.
A few days after the Dutch GP Formula 1 arrives in Italy. The historical Autodromo Nazionale di Monza will host the Italian GP. It will be the first race in Italy this season, after the cancellation of Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola due to heavy rains.
It’s a home race for both AlphaTauri and Ferrari. Both teams have won in Monza in recent years: AlphaTauri won in 2020 with Pierre Gasly, while Ferrari last win at home was in 2019 with Charles Leclerc in his first year in Rosso Corsa.
As always, the appointment in Monza is one of the most anticipated of the season. All eyes are on Max Verstappen who will try to break the record for most wins in a row. But will he be able to beat the curse? Who will be on the podium?
As the Grand Prix in Italy gets closer, here’s some information about this historical race and the podium predictions.
*Goosebumps* every time Flashing back to @Charles_Leclerc‘s amazing Monza victory in 2019
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) August 30, 2023
The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
The Italian Grand Prix was born in 1921 and this year will be its 88th edition in the Autodromo. Only in five occasions the GP has held in different places: Montichiari (1921), Livorno (1937), Milano (19479), Torino (1948), Imola (1980). It is the third-oldest permanent circuit in Formula 1, after Brookland in England and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the US.
The track is 5.793 k long, has 11 curves, 2 DRS zones and 53 laps to go. Indeed, it is a very technical circuit, with four long straights where the drivers reach more than 300km/h. For this reason, their braking ability is a determining factor. Given this point, teams should focus on having the best aerodynamic setup for what is generally considered the Temple of Speed.
The Monza’s curse.
Fans of Formula 1 all around the world are talking about a curse who targets every winner in Monza. Curiously, in the last three occasions the driver who won the Italian GP couldn’t finish the race the year after his victory.
Charles Leclerc won in Monza in 2019 before a crowd of Tifosi, however in 2020 he had an accident which prevented him to finish the race. Pierre Gasly, at the time an AlphaTauri driver, won that year, but in 2021 he had an engine problem and had to retire from the race. Daniel Ricciardo won Monza 2021 in McLaren, the first victory for the papaya team after 9 years, but in 2022 the curse hit him with an oil leak.
This weekend we will find out if Max Verstappen will join Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo or if even the Monza’s curse can’t stop his climb to success.
Nine successive wins 🏆 Max matches Seb’s record 🤘 pic.twitter.com/pAqRTolRgC
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) August 27, 2023
Monza’s Hall of Fame.
The drivers with the most wins in Italy are the seven time world champions Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. They both have five wins in Monza. Behind them there is Nelson Piquet with four victories. Tazio Nuvolari, Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Ronnie Peterson, Alian Prost, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel have three wins. We have Luigi Fagioli, Rudolf Caracciola, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso to close this list with two victories at the Italian Grand Prix.
For constructors, Ferrari has 20 victories followed by the 11 wins for McLaren, 9 for Mercedes and 8 for Alfa Romeo. Williams has 6 wins, Lotus has 5 and then 3 victories for Auto Union, BRM and Red Bull Racing. FIAT, Bugatti, Maserati, Vanwall and Renault have 2 wins.
Rubens Barrichello also has the record for the fastest lap on the track at the GP of 2004 with a time of 1’21”046.
The last victory of an Italian driver was in 1966 with Ludovico Scarfiotti.
The new quali format is back.
After Hungary, we’ll have the new quali format in Monza as well. This weekend teams will have to use hard tyres for Q1, medium during Q2 and soft for Q3. The number of tyre sets will be 11 instead of the usual 13. The drivers will have seven sets of tyres for Saturday and Sunday, with at least a set of hard and medium tyres for the race. The other four sets will be returned after every FP session. The numbers of wet tyres will be the same: 4 for inter and 3 for full wet.
Last year, Charles Leclerc took the pole, but Max Verstappen was on the highest step of the podium after the end of the race. The Monégasque was second followed by George Russell. This year it seems that no one can reach Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
1- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Verstappen could possibly win his 10th race in a row at the Italian GP, Which would break the current record of 9 wins set by Sebastian Vettel. It would be the ultimate confirmation of his invincibility. The Dutchman is collecting wins and records one after the other this year.
2- Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
Even if his performances aren’t at the same level as his teammate (no one on track is), Sergio Perez could likely be on the podium this weekend as well. It would only consolidate Red Bull Racing dominance this season.
3- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Ferrari’s number 16 could hypothetically redeem the Scuderia after a disappointing weekend in Zandvoort where he had a DNF. Given the configuration of the track, with long straights where the red car seems to have good pace, with the right setup and strategy it could be possible for Ferrari to be on the podium. It could be a chance to celebrate with the marea rossa at their home Grand Prix after a difficult year for the team.