Google+ Jack Leslie F1: 2016 Italian Grand Prix Preview

31 August 2016

2016 Italian Grand Prix Preview

The 14th round of the 2016 Formula 1 season takes place at the historic Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. 
© Octane Photographic
Following the action-packed and dramatic Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps, the sport now heads to another classic track for the final European race of the season.

Set in the stunning parkland of the Royal Villa of Monza, the area is steeped in motorsport history with the modern Monza circuit running just metres away from the classic oval that hosted the Italian Grand Prix decades ago. 
© Octane Photographic

This year’s event will be the 67th Italian GP to appear on the F1 calendar and the 66th time the race has taken place at Monza, with Imola hosting just one Italian Grand Prix in 1980.

It is one of four circuits – along with Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and the Circuit de Monaco – to have been included on the calendar for the inaugural Formula 1 season back in 1950.

Ferrari has won the Italian Grand Prix 18 times, more than any other constructor. However, it is chasing its first victory at Monza since 2010. Meanwhile Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver at the Italian Grand Prix, having won the event five times.

A lap of the 3.600 mile circuit begins on the long start/finish straight, with the pitlane entry and exit to the right. The first two corners make up the Variante del Rettifilo chicane, which is approached at well over 200mph. 

The heavy braking zone and location of the DRS makes it the best overtaking spot on the track, but it is notorious for first lap crashes and is tricky to master. Traction and drive out of slow corners is crucial at Monza to set drivers up for the long straights.
© Octane Photographic

After the flat-out Curva Grande, the long, sweeping bend is followed by the Variante della Roggia chicane.  

The challenging left-right section is the first corner in the second sector and features unforgiving kerbs. 

A short burst of power leads to the famous Curve de Lesmos. The first section of the two-part corner is a slightly banked right-hander, with the second being slightly faster. A good exit here is important for the long run to the Variante Ascari. 

The straight – which is where the second DRS zone will be - features a gentle left-hand bend and briefly dips downhill, before heading back uphill for the eighth, ninth and 10th corners. 

The braking zone for the first part of the Variante Ascari section is bumpy and tricky, as the drivers pass under the famous banking of the old oval track. 

The first part is a medium-speed left-hander. Turn 10 was previously taken flat-out and there is plenty of run-off area on the exit of the left-hander. Getting the entry to the first part right is essential to carry momentum through the next two corners and onto the next long straight. 
© Octane Photographic

The iconic Parabolica hairpin is approached at around 210mph, with a heavy braking zone for the entry. Speed gradually builds during the long final corner, providing a sling-shot onto the start/finish straight.

The majority of the teams will bring Monza-specific, low downforce front and rear wings to the Italian Grand Prix. Aerodynamic efficiency, engine power and braking stability are all crucial ingredients for a fast lap around the circuit. 

As the long straights are broken up by tight chicanes, brake management is an important factor during the Italian GP. Meanwhile the gearbox and power units will come under huge amounts of stress as well.

The medium, soft and super-soft compound tyres will be taken to the event by Pirelli. Mercedes is the team to beat once again and those with the German manufacturer’s power unit will be at an advantage.

But that gap has been cut this season. Ferrari could well challenge, while Red Bull may struggle more on the long straights. The track may suit Williams and Force India, but Toro Rosso and Renault could find things tough.

Italian Grand Prix Fact File: 

Location: Monza, Italy 
Track Length: 3.600 miles 
Direction: Clockwise 
Turns: 11 
Laps: 53 
First race: 1950 
Lap record: Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004, 1m21.046 
Tyre compounds: Medium, soft and super-soft
2015 race winner: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes 
2015 pole position: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m23.397
2015 fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m26.672
Live on: Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4

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