2011 Italian Grand Prix
Historic Monza positively oozes atmosphere.
And with its long straights and the highest average speed lap on the calender, this is one of the most dramatic places to see F1 cars in action.
It adds up to a ‘must-see’ race for any Formula 1 fan. Here’s what F1 Fanatics who’ve been to Monza have to say about the race.
Thestig84 sums up the race’s unique appeal:
For atmosphere and just the feel of the place it’s a must for any F1 fan. I’m so pleased I made the effort. Good luck and enjoy it.
Graham ventured to Monza to see Rubens Barrichello’s victory in 2009 on his own – he tells of an “awesome atmosphere”:
I had three-day tickets for Section 26A of the grandstands (pit straight). I was in line with rows five, six and seven of the grid and had a great view of the Brawn and Force India pits as well as a giant TV screen just to my left.
I thought the race and atmosphere were awesome, I was awed by the history of the place. Monza is one of my favourite circuits so to be there was mind-blowing.
I went on my own and found this okay as there are usually a few other people who do the same thing. I met people over the weekend who I buddied up with on the Friday and Sunday, did my own thing on the Saturday.
If you are going on your own, a lot of comments suggest that the majority of fans at Monza are open and welcoming in sharing their love of Formula 1, so don’t be shy!
With advice on photography and also enjoying Brawn’s dominance in the 2009 Italian Grand Prix – Mystic Pizza:
I was at the Ascari chicane for the 2009 race. For any budding photographers, forget it – the cars are too fast and the fence is too high but although it was incident-less this year you could see a fair chunk of tarmac.
You can take in your own food and drink as these were pricey inside the circuit e.g. €6 for a large beer, €2 for 500ml bottle of water. There are a couple of local supermarkets that were cheaper but remember the Sunday trading laws and stock up earlier in the week.
If you have a grandstand ticket, the pit walkabout on Thursday was excellent and most of the drivers were signing autographs if you were prepared to be crushed. Said ticket allows roaming on Friday so for fairly good photos, aim for the grandstand opposite the end of the pit lane so you can get them when they are doing practice starts.
Be sure to have a look at Jamey Price’s article from last week on Photography. Despite Mystic Pizza’s thinking that it will be difficult to get many pictures, the camera is still worth taking in case you bump into a famous face on Thursday.
If you have a three day grandstand ticket, do go on the Thursday. I promise it’s worth it! You get to see the pitlane (though finding your way into it for the first time isn’t as simple as you’d think), the teams and the drivers much closer than you otherwise would. If there’s a particular driver you want to catch, loiter outside their garage.
Often it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time – I managed to run into Nico Rosberg, Rob Smedley, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo while just wandering around. The pit lane entrance is a good place to hang around to meet drivers coming back from their track walks.
Although many fans recommended walking the circuit, Rabs reckons he’s found the best General Admission vantage point:
Get there early and go to the inside of the Parabolica – entry or exit is your choice.
I went there in 2004 and did a walk on Saturday looking for where to watch the race from and found this to be best for General Admission.
When you’re not at the track, Coefficient has advice on where to sample some fine Italian food:
I went to Monza in 2005 and stayed in Milan. The trip to the circuit is pretty bad because of the congestion but it’s worth it to take in a bit of the city in they evenings.
I recommend Ristorante Rigolo and a place called Biffi which is in La Galeria. Very nice food and wine.
Another traditional feature of the Grand Prix at Monza is the post-race track invasion and podium celebration. Thestig84 witnessed this first-hand:
I chose Parabolica for the track invasion. Just before the end of the race get your stuff ready and head for the gate it looks like people are going for. It’s amazing, every race should have it.
I sprinted down the main straight and just made it in time to hear the British national anthem playing for Brawn. The atmosphere is incredible, so much fun.
Finally, you must find time during your visit to see the daunting old oval circuit, as Carlos explains:
The atmosphere at the “Parco di Monza” is superb, as long as this is one of the most beautiful parks in Europe.
So don’t hurry and take your time to do a walk round the park when there’s no activity on the track. You can easily see the “walls” of the old oval circuit in the middle of the trees. Awesome.
If you’re going to Monza this year, find other F1 Fanatics who are going and read about Jamey’s experience of being at last year’s race:
- 2011 Italian Grand Prix discussion
- Monza – spectators’ experiences
- Jamey Price watches the Italian Grand Prix at Monza
We’ve got a special guide for fans who are planning to take pictures at the race:
2011 Italian Grand Prix
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- 2011 Italian Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
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- Ferrari: Alonso admits “the title is gone”
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- Renault: Senna claims first points finish
Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty Images, Renault/ LAT