Monza keen to restore races on oval circuit

Jon Wilde
Monza banking

Monza banking

Monza officials are seeking government funding to not only preserve their place on the F1 calendar, but potentially redevelop their old oval circuit.

The home of the Italian Grand Prix has a deal in place with Formula 1 until 2024 and will celebrate its centenary anniversary in 2022.

Reports in Italy, and referenced by The Race, indicate that Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI), wants funding to help renovate the historic circuit in time for those 100-year celebrations.

Plans are said to include new grandstands and to make the F1 circuit faster by removing one of the chicanes and reprofiling the second Lesmo.

Sticchi Damiani is reported by The Race to have called for “extraordinary resources” to be granted “not only for a restyling and a polish but to modernise the track and ensure it can face another 20 years”.

But in addition to those developments aimed at ensuring the Italian Grand Prix remains at Monza amid potential competition from other venues – Mugello and Imola have both staged F1 races during a rejigged 2020 schedule – another plan could be afoot.

Monza banking
Monza banking

Namely, that is to renovate the banked circuit that can be seen beside the current track so that it could stage non-F1 races in the future.

The ACI president is quoted as saying he is “convinced it would be very nice to recover the high-speed track” so that races could be organised rather than leaving the circuit to be “industrial archaeology”.

The 30-degree Monza banking is a popular historical site within the grounds of the Royal Villa in which the circuit is set, but Sticchi Damiani considers it a “blow to the heart” to see it in its current condition.

The banked layout was used for four Italian Grands Prix between 1955 and 1961, but in the last of those years German driver Wolfgang von Trips and 15 spectators were killed in a crash following a collision with Jim Clark’s car.

The banking continued to be used in sportscar racing until 1969 and while there was a threat to demolish it in the 1990s, part of it is still driven in the Monza Rally which this year will be the final round of the rejigged World Rally Championship calendar early next month.

This season’s Italian Grand Prix provided a first F1 victory for Pierre Gasly and a second for AlphaTauri, the previous win having also been at Monza while the team were named Toro Rosso when Sebastian Vettel triumphed 12 years earlier.

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