The Italian Grand Prix, or Gran Premio d’Italia, is the longest running grand prix in Formula 1 Championship racing, and its regular circuit, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, or Monza for short, is the most enduring track in grand prix history. The very first Italian Grand Prix, decades before the establishment of the Formula 1 series, was held in the city of Brescia in Northern Italy, in 1921, but the circuit at Monza was built the very next year and saw more motor sport than any other circuit in the world in its lifetime.
There is a lot of history connected with the Italian Grand Prix, such as the participation of Count Louis Zborowski in 1923. Zborowski is most famous for creating the Chitty Bang Bang cars, which were used engines of WWI aeroplanes and inspired the books and films, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but showed up at the 1923 Italian Grand Prix driving Harry Miller’s American Miller 122. The next year, also at the Italian GP, Zborowski died during the race, colliding with a tree.
Zborowski wouldn’t be the only fatality of the Italian GP through the years, which would result in modifications in the circuit and the track’s reputation as one of the most challenging, demanding and validating course in the F1. Drivers find they are on full throttle for most of the lap, more so than on other circuits, and even spectators seated wherever their Italian Grand Prix tickets will allow them can tell that it’s the fastest circuit in the championship, without having to be told that the track’s total length is 5.79 km.
The list of winners at the Italian Grand Prix is surely a long one, as this GP is the one of the few GPs to make the distinction of regularity, held every year at least from its inception in the Formula One championship series in 1950. The only other GP with this distinction is the British Grand Prix. Over 82 Italian drivers have participated in their home race, and, at least in the early years, many became legendary with multiple wins, including two-time winner Luigi Fagioli, and three-time winners Tazio Nuvolari and world champion Alberto Ascari. Ironically, Ascari would also be killed in Monza in 1955 but in a private testing exercise, not during the grand prix itself.
Alain Prost, Stirling Moss and Nelson Piquet would also do well at the Italian Grand Prix, as did Michael Schumacher, who won at Monza five times in ten years. It was at the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, after his win, that Schumacher announced his retirement from auto racing at the conclusion of the 2006 championship.
Monza is a bit north of Milan, so most Italian GP participants stay there during the events. There are a few hotels in Monza that are just as posh, and where the Ferrari team usually opts to stay. Smaller hotels can be found in the surrounding towns for those on a budget. There is also the option to camp around the circuit, particularly just outside the second chicane, although be prepared to not get much sleep as these camping expeditions become a lively outdoor party for the fans.
Fans and teams fly into Milan’s two airports, although it is the Malpensa airport that handles more international flights; it is also Malpensa’s train that offers the quickest and most hassle-free trip to Milan. To get to Monza directly, take the train to Monza station, where several shuttle buses are reserved specifically for the circuit.
Many would not recommend the grandstands at the Lesmos curve and the second chicane, despite good deals on tickets. If you want prime seats, opt for Italian Grand Prix tickets around Curva Parabolica, Variante Ascari and the first chicane. As with other Formula GP tickets, prices are divided into three categories. Adventurous fans usually opt for general admission tickets, claiming that there is always a great view to be found at Monza every year.