After the orange-covered stands of the Dutch GP, in which home driver Max Verstappen won and returned to the championship lead, Formula 1 is now heading to Italy, where the Ferrari red should dominate the stands. Not so intensely, as the public will be limited to 50% of the Monza Autodrome’s capacity.
Last year, the Italian GP was one of the most unusual of the year, with a red flag changing the history of the race, won by Pierre Gasly with the AlphaTauri. In 2021, the Italian race is one of three that are being used as a test for the sprint format, like what happened at Silverstone and will also be held at the São Paulo GP in November.
This means that the time-taking session will be on Friday, after just one free practice. It will set the grid for the sprint, an 18-lap 100km race, with no mandatory pit stops, held on Saturday. It is the sprint that sets the starting order for Sunday’s race.
How to follow the Italian GP:
Friday September 10th
Free training 1, from 9:30 am to 10:30 am: BandSports
Classification, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: BandSports
saturday september 11th
Free practice 2, from 7am to 8am: BandSports
Sprint, from 11:30 am to 12:00 pm: Band/BandSports
sunday september 12th
Race, from 10 am: Band and BandNewsFM (broadcast starts at 9:30 am)
Running record: 1min21s046 (Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)
Number of laps: 53
DRS – 2 zones
Zone 1: after turn 7
Zone 2: straight from the pits
Available tires: C2 (hard), C3 (medium) and C4 (soft)
Result in 2020
Pole position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 1min18s887
1st Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri) 1:47:06
2nd Carlos Sainz (ESP/McLaren) +0s415
3rd Stroll Throw (CAN/Racing Point) +3s358
Monza track features
The confusion of the final moments of last year’s qualifying, when every driver tried to avoid leading the line and thus take the vacuum from a rival – which ended up causing almost no one to make it past the finish line before the timer resets -, was proof of how much is gained from following another car closely in terms of lap time at Monza. This year, it should be less intense because the grid will be sprint-defined, but we can still see riders trying to take the vacuum in Friday’s qualifying.
It’s a different track, where mechanical grip ends up speaking louder than aerodynamics, since teams use special packages, with low downforce. That’s because it’s more important to be fast on the straights, so these settings offer the least drag – that is, the least air resistance possible.
In addition, power units also speak loudly in Monza, which is often a chosen lane for changing components, as using an engine with low mileage is advantageous. Even with the sprint format, engine penalties are paid on Sunday.
Despite being a circuit where overtaking is more common than on most championship tracks, starting from pole position and driving in clean air is very important. Since 2000, when the current configuration began to be used, pole position won in 15 of the 21 races disputed. By the way, the driver who won out of the back in the configuration currently used was Pierre Gasly last year. The French started in tenth.
Curiosities about the Italian GP
The famous Parabolic curve, which precedes the pit straight, will be renamed this weekend in honor of Italian driver Michele Alboreto, who died in an accident during a test 20 years ago. Alboreto raced in Formula 1 in the 1980s and 1990s, drove for Ferrari and won five races in 200 starts.
Formula 1 will be running the 102nd race in its history on Italian territory, which represents almost 10% of the total GPs in the category’s history. The races took place on four different circuits: Monza hosted 71 races, while Imola received 28. There was also a race on a street circuit in Pescara and last year Mugello made its debut as the venue for the 1,000th GP of the Ferrari, owner of the circuit.
It was in Italy that Brazil won its last victory in Formula 1, in 2009, with Rubens Barrichello, from Brawn (a team that would become Mercedes from the following year). Barrichello was the only Brazilian representative in that race, even though the season had started with three Brazilians on the grid: Felipe Massa was recovering from the accident at the Hungarian GP, and Nelsinho Piquet had been fired from Renault just over a month before that stage.