Italian Grand Prix - One of the Formula 1 evergreens
Italian Grand Prix is one of the most important races not only in Formula 1 calendar but in the world of motorsport.
Legendary race at legendary track
This is one of the oldest and most prestigious races in the world. Since the beginning of Formula 1 World Championship in 1950, Italian Grand Prix is one of only three races that were held every year. Legendary Monza Circuit or Autodromo Nazionale Monza is the official name of the venue, was always the host of the race, except in 1980 when it was held at Imola.
Racing was always extremely popular in Italy and the various races were held across the country. Even before World War II Monza was a popular place for racing but establishing of the new competition after the war was the beginning of the new era.
The 1921 Italian Grand Prix was held at Brescia. In 1929 and 1930 the race wasn’t held but it was revamped in 1931 and dominated Italian and German drivers and cars, like Alfa Romeo and the Auto Union. After WWII, Italian Grand Prix was held in 1947, in Milan. Next year, it was held in Valentino Park in Turin and finally in 1949 returned to Monza.
First Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix was held in 1950
The winner of the first Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix was Giuseppe Nino Farina who was driving an Alfa Romeo 158. The local crowd was ecstatic after another Italian driver won the race in 1951 and 1952 – it was legendary Alberto Ascari in Ferrari. Italian drivers supremacy was ended in 1953 when Juan Manuel Fangio triumphed driving an Italian car – Maserati. The same car was the winning one in the following year too, but with Stirling Moss behind the wheel.
After the 1954 Italian Grand Prix, Monza circuit was completely renovated and modernized but still it was one of the fastest and most popular tracks in the world. Fangio and Moss were still dominant in the late 1950s, and in 1960s Phil Hill in Ferrari and Jackie Stewart managed to win more than once. During the 1970s Ronnie Peterson won the race thrice – twice with Lotus and once driving a March, while Clay Regazzoni twice grabbed the laurels.
Video – 1952 Italian Grand Prix
Piquet won four times in eight years
Nelson Piquet was the master of Italian Grand Prix. This Brazilian was the winner on four occasions – twice driving for Brabham, including a victory at Imola in 1980, and twice with Williams. In the 1990s the competition was fiercer. Ayrton Senna won the race twice in three years. He was succeeded by Damon Hill who won two races in a row and finally Michael Schumacher who won the race thrice, driving a Ferrari.
Famous German continued his stream of good results at the Italian Grand Prix during the first decade of the new century. He added another two wins on his account but, interestingly, Rubens Barrichello was the man who marked the 2000s with three wins. After 2010, only two drivers were privileged to win the race at Monza – Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
Video – Barrichello wins 2002 Italian Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher has most wins
Concluding with 2015 Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver with five wins at the Italian Grand Prix. Nelson Piquet has four victories, while Fangio, Moss, Peterson, Alain Prost, Barrichello, Vettel, and Hamilton were victorious thrice. The same number of victories have Tazio Nuvolari, but all of them were before the WWII. Ascari also won thrice but one of his wins happened before Formula 1 championship was formed.
Interestingly, many Formula 1 champions and aces never won the Italian Grand Prix – Jack Brabham, Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button are just some of them. Some drivers, like Peter Gethin and Ludovico Scarfiotti, were lucky enough to grab their sole F1 wins at the Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari is the most successful team
With 19 wins, Ferrari is the most successful constructor in Italian Grand Prix. McLaren has 10 wins, Alfa Romeo has eight wins but the last one was in 1950. Mercedes and Williams have six wins each while Lotus cars were the winners in five races.
Facts you probably didn’t know
Here are some interesting facts and figures about the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix:
- The winner of the Italian Grand Prix started from pole position in 23 races
- The lowest starting place (11th) had Peter Gethin who won the epic race in 1971. That was the closest time difference between the winner and runner-up, only 0.010s
- The biggest time difference between the winner and runner-up was in 1954 when Fangio was one lap ahead of Mike Hawthorn
- The best jump made Ron Flockhart who started from 24th position and finished 3rd in 1956 race
- Believe it or not, Ludovico Scarfiotti was the last Italian driver who won the Italian Grand Prix and it was in 1966!