Preview | Will Verstappen look for momentum or will there be a Monza grid penalty?

08-09-2021 09:05 | Updated: 08-09-2021 10:48
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Preview | Will Verstappen look for momentum or will there be a Monza grid penalty?

We have arrived at the last race of the Spa-Zandvoort-Monza triple header. The Dutch fans created a party-like atmosphere in the Netherlands, and now the Tifosi will try to entertain the Formula 1 world as they look to keep their status as the best fans in the world. Read all about the upcoming Grand Prix in this preview from GPblog.

Autodromo Nazionale di Monza

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, or more commonly known as the Monza Circuit, is an iconic track on the Formula 1 calendar. Here, it is not the tight or spectacular corners that make the difference, it is the straights that impress. Enzo Ferrari was a fan of a powerful engine, and for that, a suitable track was designed.

Monza was first used for the Italian Grand Prix in 1922, and although the Curva Grande is no longer in the current layout, Monza is still a classic on the F1 calendar. The circuit has hosted Italian Grand Prix every year since the official start of the Formula One championship in 1950, except in 1980 when the honour went to Imola. Monza is also the circuit where most F1 races have been held.

Italian Grand Prix

The first Italian Grand Prix was held a year earlier in 1921. At that time, Montichiari was used as a circuit and in 1922 Monza received the honour. The Italian GP was also held in Livorno, Turin and Milan. From 1950, the Italian GP was on the F1 calendar every year.

As mentioned, the Monza circuit was designed for cars with fast engines, because according to Ferrari, people who started thinking about aerodynamics were just not good at building a good engine. At Monza, it had to be about the speed of the engine, and that is reflected in the list of honours of the Italian GP.

With 20 wins, Ferrari is in fact the team that has won most often at Monza. They have twice as many wins as the second best team on that list, namely McLaren. If you then look at the engine manufacturer who has won the most here, it becomes even more clear. Indeed, here a Ferrari engine won 21 times, and a Mercedes engine 14 times.

From 2014 to 2018, it was won five times in a row by Mercedes, with four wins for Lewis Hamilton and one for Nico Rosberg. In 2019, Charles Leclerc won on behalf of Ferrari. In 2020, it was madness at Monza, with Pierre Gasly and AlphaTauri eventually winning. Max Verstappen hasn't had much luck here yet. His best result is a fifth place in 2018. Red Bull have won twice at Monza with Sebastian Vettel, in 2011 and 2013.

Formula 1 in 2021

Yet there is light at the end of the tunnel, because in 2021 the fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is more exciting than ever. Verstappen will start the Italian GP as the leader in the standings, but has a lead of only three points.

It's a back and forth between the two teams of Mercedes and Red Bull Racing, which makes it difficult to make any prediction. Traditionally Mercedes, with their power unit, would be the favourite for this Grand Prix, but in France, Austria and Azerbaijan it was clear that Honda have made a big step forward in 2021 and is at least very close to Mercedes.

Weather forecast

The weekend in Zandvoort was beautiful in terms of weather, and for the Italian Grand Prix we can expect nice summer weather as well. According to Weather.com, the chance of rain during the entire weekend is less than 10%. It will also be warm, with a predicted temperature of 28 degrees on Friday and Saturday and 29 degrees on Sunday; it will be a hot race at Monza.

Prediction for the GP

Looking at the 2021 Formula 1 season, one can't help but label Mercedes as favourites for the Italian Grand Prix. Monza is not a driver's circuit, so Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton should be able to harness their power and finish ahead of Red Bull Racing's drivers. In the race, Verstappen might be able to do something, but the question is whether he has the speed on the long straights.

A lot will also depend on Red Bull Racing, who may also want to put a new engine in Verstappen's car at some point. Monza is a great opportunity to take a penalty for a new engine because overtaking is fairly easy here on Sunday. Overtaking during the sprint race on Saturday will not help, as the grid penalty applies to the race and not the sprint race.

Timetable Italian Grand Prix 2021

Friday

First free practice: 13:30-14:30

Qualifying: 17:00-18:00

Saturday

Second free practice: 11:00-12:00

Sprint race: 15:30-16:00

Sunday

Race: 14:00-16:00

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