Formula One lap times at Monza will fall by over a second as a result of the changes planned to the circuit for next season, according to the architect who has designed the changes.
The home of the Italian Grand Prix will remove the Rettifilio chicane at the beginning of the lap, leaving a straight run to a revised sequence of bends replacing the Curva Grande.
Monza’s new turn one will be taken flat-out by Formula One cars according to Jarno Zaffelli of Studio Dromo who designed the alterations to the circuit. The track then falls three metres, obscuring the approach to the new chicane at turns two and three which returns the cars to the existing layout.
The turn one run-off will be designed to allow drivers who run wide to rejoin the track at the third corner via the existing Curva Grande.
With the track configuration unchanged for the rest of the lap, the removal of the slow Rettifilio chicane will lead to a reduction in lap times. According to Zaffeli simulations have shown Lewis Hamilton’s 2015 pole position time of 1’23.397 would fall to 1’21.894 with the same cars.
The designers simulated potential lap times as low as 1’18 to assess the safety features they have put in place.
The remodelling of the circuit will require the felling of around 400 trees, something which has proved an obstacle to past renovations at Monza. To compensate for that Zaffeli’s team propose to reinstall a greater number of trees in other locations around the park.
Rettifilio and Curva Grande
The removal of the Rettifilio chicane and the changes to Curva Grande are being made to create a track configuration which is suitable for both cars and bikes, and also improve other aspects of the circuit.
Zaffelli took inspiration from the Les Combes sequence of corners at Spa-Francorchamps in designing the new sequence of bends. The run-off area will use a combination of asphalt and light-eight aggregate, similar to gravel, to discourage drivers from cutting the corner while also providing a clear route to rejoin the circuit if they leave it.
The spectator stands which previously stood at the Rettifilio will be relocated to this section of the track. A new service road (not shown in the diagrams) will also be built. This should improve the day-to-day operation of the circuit by making it easier to recover stranded vehicles without the need to interrupt proceedings by stopping a session.
Removing the Rettifilio chicane will increase the length of Monza’s pit straight to 1.4 kilometres, roughly as long as the back straight at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Della Roggia, Lesmo and Ascari
The current track layout will be unchanged at the Variante della Roggia (the second chicane) and the two Lesmo corners. Limited run-off at the outside of Lesmo make it necessary for the Roggia chicane to be retained.
However there will be minor alterations to the track at these points. At the Roggia the run-off area at the exit of the corner will be extended and more gravel added.
At Lesmo 1 the barrier on the inside of the corner will be moved further inside to improve visibility around the corner. Similar changes will take place at the second right-hander.
The Ascari chicane will also see only minor alterations, mostly to the run-off areas.
Parabolica gravel to be restored
Two years ago much of the gravel run-off area at Parabolica was replaced with asphalt. This was prompted by complaints from some drivers that it reduced the challenge of tackling the famous, high-speed corner.
Under Dromo’s plans for 2017 much of the gravel would be restored. “The Tarmac in Parabolica would be replaced with gravel,” Zaffelli confirmed to F1 Fanatic.
The reasoning behind this is that asphalt is a preferred run-off surface in the event that a driver attempts to make the apex of a corner, but gravel is preferred if they are going straight on due to some kind of failure, such as last year’s crashes involving Carlos Sainz Jnr’s at Sochi and Nico Hulkenberg at the Hungaroring.
This is an approach Dromo have used on their other track redesign work including the Misano World Circuit in Italy.
Complete new Monza layout for 2017
Dromo’s plans for Monza can be examined in full above. Whether they can be realised, and whether F1 will remain at Monza beyond the end of this year and get to race on them, remains to be seen.
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year