What F1 Fanatics say about… Monza

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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Make sure you hang around for the podium celebration

Historic Monza positively oozes atmosphere.

And with its long straights and the highest average speed lap on the calender, this is one of the most dramatic places to see F1 cars in action.

It adds up to a ‘must-see’ race for any Formula 1 fan. Here’s what F1 Fanatics who’ve been to Monza have to say about the race.

Thestig84 sums up the race’s unique appeal:

For atmosphere and just the feel of the place it’s a must for any F1 fan. I’m so pleased I made the effort. Good luck and enjoy it.

Graham ventured to Monza to see Rubens Barrichello’s victory in 2009 on his own – he tells of an “awesome atmosphere”:

I had three-day tickets for Section 26A of the grandstands (pit straight). I was in line with rows five, six and seven of the grid and had a great view of the Brawn and Force India pits as well as a giant TV screen just to my left.

I thought the race and atmosphere were awesome, I was awed by the history of the place. Monza is one of my favourite circuits so to be there was mind-blowing.

I went on my own and found this okay as there are usually a few other people who do the same thing. I met people over the weekend who I buddied up with on the Friday and Sunday, did my own thing on the Saturday.
Graham Maltby

If you are going on your own, a lot of comments suggest that the majority of fans at Monza are open and welcoming in sharing their love of Formula 1, so don’t be shy!

With advice on photography and also enjoying Brawn’s dominance in the 2009 Italian Grand Prix – Mystic Pizza:

I was at the Ascari chicane for the 2009 race. For any budding photographers, forget it – the cars are too fast and the fence is too high but although it was incident-less this year you could see a fair chunk of tarmac.

You can take in your own food and drink as these were pricey inside the circuit e.g. ??6 for a large beer, ??2 for 500ml bottle of water. There are a couple of local supermarkets that were cheaper but remember the Sunday trading laws and stock up earlier in the week.

If you have a grandstand ticket, the pit walkabout on Thursday was excellent and most of the drivers were signing autographs if you were prepared to be crushed. Said ticket allows roaming on Friday so for fairly good photos, aim for the grandstand opposite the end of the pit lane so you can get them when they are doing practice starts.
Mystic Pizza

Be sure to have a look at Jamey Price’s article from last week on Photography. Despite Mystic Pizza’s thinking that it will be difficult to get many pictures, the camera is still worth taking in case you bump into a famous face on Thursday.

If you have a three day grandstand ticket, do go on the Thursday. I promise it’s worth it! You get to see the pitlane (though finding your way into it for the first time isn’t as simple as you’d think), the teams and the drivers much closer than you otherwise would. If there’s a particular driver you want to catch, loiter outside their garage.

Often it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time – I managed to run into Nico Rosberg, Rob Smedley, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo while just wandering around. The pit lane entrance is a good place to hang around to meet drivers coming back from their track walks.

Sebastian Vettel rounds Parabolica

Although many fans recommended walking the circuit, Rabs reckons he’s found the best General Admission vantage point:

Get there early and go to the inside of the Parabolica – entry or exit is your choice.

I went there in 2004 and did a walk on Saturday looking for where to watch the race from and found this to be best for General Admission.

When you’re not at the track, Coefficient has advice on where to sample some fine Italian food:

I went to Monza in 2005 and stayed in Milan. The trip to the circuit is pretty bad because of the congestion but it’s worth it to take in a bit of the city in they evenings.

I recommend Ristorante Rigolo and a place called Biffi which is in La Galeria. Very nice food and wine.

Another traditional feature of the Grand Prix at Monza is the post-race track invasion and podium celebration. Thestig84 witnessed this first-hand:

I chose Parabolica for the track invasion. Just before the end of the race get your stuff ready and head for the gate it looks like people are going for. It’s amazing, every race should have it.

I sprinted down the main straight and just made it in time to hear the British national anthem playing for Brawn. The atmosphere is incredible, so much fun.

Heikki Kovalainen checks out the Monza banking in 2006

Finally, you must find time during your visit to see the daunting old oval circuit, as Carlos explains:

The atmosphere at the “Parco di Monza” is superb, as long as this is one of the most beautiful parks in Europe.

So don’t hurry and take your time to do a walk round the park when there’s no activity on the track. You can easily see the “walls” of the old oval circuit in the middle of the trees. Awesome.

If you’re going to Monza this year, find other F1 Fanatics who are going and read about Jamey’s experience of being at last year’s race:

We’ve got a special guide for fans who are planning to take pictures at the race:

And if you shoot any good videos during the weekend, be sure to let us know (by email or using Twitter).

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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    Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty Images, Renault/ LAT

    51 comments on “What F1 Fanatics say about… Monza”

    1. I remember reading in a book (possibly by Murray Walker) of how the author went on a stroll around the old banking and noticed a small flower growing through a gap in the road. He picked it and thought “Nuvolari raced here”, taking it home and pressing it in a book.

      That says everything about Monza for me.

      1. I would love to visit Monza purely because of history such as this. It’d be great to take home a souvenir such as that flower, which seems so silly, but would mean alot to many F1 fans.

      2. Awesome story.

        I want to see these historical events above all. Spa, Monza, Silverstone and Monaco is the four places I definitely want to check out. Add the Ring to that.

        I’ve never been to an F1 race apart from my two occasion at the Hungaroring as it is my kind of home track. I was fun – but I believe nothing comes to the atmosphere of these venues with such a rich history.

      3. One of the best F1 stories I’ve ever read. Thanks Icthyes for that.

        1. Agreed it’s a good one.

      4. gee, thanks for that anecdote Icthyes, that really give the essence of Monza (and Ferrari being at home there, off course)

    2. More than a great track for motor sports, it’s a venue where passion is all over. From delighted drivers to die hard F1 fanatics.

    3. i seem to remember that the changes made to silverstone made it the circuit with the highest average speed, overtaking monza. Does anyone know if this was the case last year?

      I believe that with the DRS this year, monza will defenitely have the highest average speed.

      1. i seem to remember that the changes made to silverstone made it the circuit with the highest average speed, overtaking monza. Does anyone know if this was the case last year?


        2010 British Grand Prix facts and stats

      2. You could well be right there – I apologise if I made a mistake. I can’t confirm, but I found this from last year… which suggests you may be correct.

        1. Looks like Keith’s find is more conclusive than mine!

    4. Historic Monza positively oozes atmosphere.

      Did anybody else read that in Murray Walker’s voice?

      Monza is the Grand Prix I’d like to go to more than any other. That isn’t just because I’m a Ferrari fan – it’s because it’s a time capsule of motor racing itself. The history, the atmosphere, the layout, the setting – everything about it makes it special, even compared to other historic venues.

      If I could (badly) like circuits to the human body, Monaco would be the head, Spa would be the muscles and Silverstone the reproductive system. Monza – absolutely – is the heart.

      1. Agree with every single bit of that comment Dan (as per)

      2. Although if there is such thing as a soul then that should be Interlagos perhaps?

          1. Hmmm, wonder what part Valencia would be?! ;)

            1. The man nipple. Why is it there?!

        1. I’d go with that!

          1. So then, the old Nurberg ring would have been the underworld… heaven would be something to hope for: perhaps somewhere in Texas?

      3. Did anybody else read that in Murray Walker’s voice?

        I consider that praise of the highest order.

    5. running down the track and being part of that sea of tifosi is a MUST!

      I was a part of that last year with Fred and Filipe on the podium, and will never forget! walking the track and the oval afterwards is just icing on the cake!

      if you’re going, enjoy it :) it’s absolutely fantastic!

    6. I went to Monza in 2004 when I was on my honeymoon. The weather wasn’t great, the wife wasn’t impressed and the food wasn’t up to much.

      It goes without saying that this didn’t matter to me, I loved it. What was odd was that we were trying to locate tickets when we were staying in Milan. It was like a treasure hunt! I have no idea but we had to trek to some small office up some stairs in a remote corner of Milan. I couldn’t believe that they weren’t selling them in the centre of town, more people would have been there.

      Getting there and back was easy on the train, crowded but very straightforward.

      If I went again I would spend more on the ticket and get a seat as I have done when in Silverstone.

      1. Very brave to honeymoon at a Grand Prix with a wife who, by the sound of it, doesn’t particularly like F1.

        Well done.

        1. No worries…I know a great lawyer. ;)

        2. Guess the wife’s idea of a romantic time in Italy did not include seeing an F1 car set the fastest ever lap at Monza and do the fastest ever race!

          But it might be consolation for you though! Hope you made up for that race together and are now joking about it ;-)

          1. Actually I think the fastest ever race was in 2003 – it was damp at the start of the 2004 race.

            1. Hm, yes, seems I got confused there with the race speed, must have been the speed :-)

              But 2004 did give us the fastest lap of the current track layout during the weekend as well as the fastest race lap.

    7. I went to the 2005 Italian GP with my Dad, attending all sessions Friday to Sunday. Raikonen got pole but had a grid penalty because of an engine change so that promoted Montoya who went on to win. It was also one of JBs best quali sessions of the year, achieving 4th on the grid which just happened to be right in front of my seat. It was also the year that Montoya set the highest average speed if I recall correctly.

      I also remember a young guy by the name of Nico Rosberg battling from somewhere like 12th on the grid right into the fight for the win with Jani and Pantano in the GP2 race.

      On the Friday morning we arrived nice and early and found our seats. The first session was yet to start and then the engines started to fire up. We couldn’t see into the garages from our position but I could tell who was coming out for a run because the crowd began to roar and sure enough, moments later the red nose of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari emerged from behind the pit wall and I had goose bumps fom head to toe. Amazing.

      It was my Dad’s first car race but not mine. It took him a while to get to grips with following the timing etc and it was in the middle of the GP2 qualifying that it dawned on him how quickly the cars could lap the track. He was staggered when I told him that the F1 cars would be qualifying about 15 to 20secs quicker.

      Something really striking about this track is you can hear the cars approach parabolica from our seat on the Start/Finish straight but what was really unbelievable was the fact that the cars were back on full power, foot to the floor before you saw them emerge from Parabolica. Jaw dropping!!

      Staying in Milan was very convenient for access to the National Park which contains Monza and if you ever go I’ll recommend a couple of Restaurants. Ristorante Rigolo which is a small family place, great food, hospitality and some serious Barolo! The other was called Biffi and was situated in La Galeria. Great Gnocchi!

    8. I know it’s off topic but I’ve just seen the FOM SPA 2011 race edit an can say that Jenson Button is one hell of a lucky guy that he didn,t get hit by the wall of debris.

    9. Question for my fellow Fanatics, is there any special place in Brighton where a bunch of you are meeting up to watch the Grand Prix? I’ll be in the area for the weekend and it would be cool to watch it somewhere other than the hotel :p

    10. It was the first layout of my Aurora HO slot car set that I got for Christmas in 1965 I think… Monza, Monacco, Spa, Suzuki and Interlagos are everything to F1.

      1. And how could I forget Silverstone!

    11. BBC’s Sarah Holt summed up Monza nicely in a tweet yesterday:

      “I’m already thinking about the late summer sunshine filtering through the trees of the royal park as the cars burst out of the shadows..”

      No finer way of putting it (assuming it’s a dry race!)

      1. Icthyes is giving you a run for your money with his post… both are fantastic!

        1. Both descriptions are very nice and give you a feeling that motorsport really is a passion at Monza.

    12. I would like to hear more about the challenge of the old banking. What was it like, how fast were they through the corners and what is left of it today. Is there access to it nowadays? Who knows ???

      1. Here is a picture of Tonio Liuzzi on the old banking. It shows just how steep the banking is.

        In fact, read this article on the official F1 website. It covers quite a lot of what you want to know.

      2. I also just read an article at Speedhunters which suggests there was an average speed lap of 177mph at one point.

    13. am of to monza fri, going on my own just wondering is there alot of english there. not 1 of my pals likes f1 enough to pay to go italy.

      1. From what I’ve been reading, the atmosphere around the circuit is brilliant and many English and English speaking people also attend on their own. People’s postings suggest that the majority of spectators are very approachable and happy to talk to you, point you in the right direction, or even tag along with you.

        1. nice 1 pal guna be a good first grand prix.

    14. I went in monza a couple of time. once as a guest to a trackday where i managed to do 3 laps as a passenger in an F40 (amazing), and the second time we were driving by and heard the superbike race about to start. we actually climbed a wall that surround to circuit and ended up right above the gravels of “curva grande” with a few other bike fans. amazing view, for free…

    15. All this very much whetting my appetite. Cant wait till tomorrow when i fly, and look forward to soaking it all up :)

      1. Have a great time!

        And, I can’t say this enough, do check out the banking. Also keep an eye out for any evidence of this strange ‘part-road, part-oval, plus lots of chicanes’ configuration from the thirties:


        1. Already on it Keith, the banking is a priority of ours!

    16. Hi,

      I’ve been to Monza 3 times now, driven there twice and flew to Bergamo once as the flights were super cheap.

      The first time I saw Lewis Hamilton take the GP2 world championship and was paid for by work as a prize!, the second I was 20 feet from Kimi Binning it on quali at Ascari, and the third saw the amazing Rubin win in the brawn….

      I love the atmosphere, location and the views looking top down on the cars at the higher parts of the track around the back straight. Its cheaper to get in to that the UK, more atmospheric and simply wonderful.

      Everybody should go to Monza!!


    17. SouthPawRacer [Stealthman]
      7th September 2011, 3:29

      If you go to http://the-fastlane.co.uk/racingcircuits/, you can find all configurations Monza used throughout its history, as well as all the layouts of every other F1 circuit ever used.

    18. Monza, Spa and Silverstone the dream tracks fans would love to be at. I’m one of them.

      For those who have been there, I envy you.

      1. As of this weekend I will have been to 2/3 :D

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