Italy will host the 13th round of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship with the teams making the trip across the Alps to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Coming only a few days after an incident-packed Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, the season moves directly to another classic track for the final European race of the year.
Since the redesign of Hockenheim, Monza has stood alone on the F1 calendar as an ultra-high speed circuit. Low-drag aero packages will be on display as teams set up their cars to go faster than they have before this year. But it isn’t all about the figures at the end of the straight. Sebastian Vettel proved that last year; winning from pole at Monza despite being consistently toward the bottom of the speed traps times. Instead he was able to carry more speed through the chicanes and corners onto the straights.
Monza will see the first driver change of the year with Jérôme d’Ambrosio confirmed by Lotus as their replacement for the suspended Romain Grosjean. The Belgian driver competed for Marussia in the 2011 Italian Grand Prix and qualified 22nd. His race ended abruptly with a gearbox failure in the opening minutes. He has happier memories from Monza in 2010, when he finished the GP2 Series sprint race on the podium.
Fernando Alonso goes to Monza with his lead in the Drivers’ Championship greatly reduced after a first-lap retirement in Belgium. His advantage over reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is down to 24 points. Both men are Italian Grand Prix winners with two victories apiece – though with the grandstands certain to be swathed in Ferrari red, there’s no doubt who the crowd will be supporting this weekend.
AUTODROMO DI MONZA
Length of lap:
5.793km Lap record:
1:21.046 (Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004) Start line/finish line offset:
0.309km Total number of race laps:
53 Total race distance:
306.720km Pitlane speed limits:
60km/h during practice;
100km/h during qualifying/race
Changes to the circuit since 2011
► The wall on the driver’s right approaching Turn One has been moved closer to the track and an additional marshal post provided 150m before Turn One.
► The track has been resurfaced from the exit of the Ascari chicane (turn 10) to a point after the exit of Parabolica (turn 11)..
► The pit wall fence has been renewed.