Max Verstappen could set the F1 record for consecutive wins in Monza, but Carlos Sainz starts on pole at Ferrari’s home track.
Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The fastest lap of the year
If you want to know why Autodromo Nazionale Monza is also known as the Temple of Speed, consider these two factors:
- It played host to the fastest-ever F1 race when Michael Schumacher took the checkered flag at the 2003 Italian Grand Prix in a crisp one hour, 14 minutes and 19.838 seconds.
- Two decades on, it hasn’t lost a step. Based on the fastest lap time set at every track in last year’s championship, Monza boasts the fastest average speed from the start to the finish line: 154.213 mph (248.182 km/h). Spa averaged 143.273 mph (230.575 km/h), and Monaco didn’t even break triple digits at 99.658 mph (160.384 km/h).
For more on La Pista Magica, check out Madeline’s full circuit breakdown below.
F1 Italian GP circuit breakdown: How drivers tackle Monza, the Temple of Speed
Ferrari, back in the spotlight at home, dreams of a big weekend
As the only team to have competed in every F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, it holds a special place in the history of the series. In many ways, Ferrari embodies F1.
But recent history at Monza has left the tifosi disappointed. Ferrari has just one Italian Grand Prix victory in the past decade — Charles Leclerc’s 2019 win — and only two in the 16 years since the team’s last drivers’ championship in 2007.
Yet, before this weekend, the prospect of either driver giving the tifosi the victory they dream of at Monza looked remote. 2023 has been a sobering and largely confusing year for Ferrari, which has regressed in its bid to end its championship drought.
“It’s clear that in every single topic and every single pillar of the performance, we have to make a step forward,” Fred Vasseur, Ferrari’s team principal, said last week.
After two impressive days of practice in Italy, Ferrari may have made that step.
Back home at Monza, Ferrari confronts the reality of its path back to F1 glory
Hello and welcome …
… to The Athletic‘s coverage of the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. We’re happy you could join us for what could be a historic weekend in Formula One.
Max Verstappen is aiming for his tenth consecutive victory on Sunday, which would break the mark set by Sebastian Vettel in 2013. But it doesn’t look like the home team, Ferrari, will let him off easy. The iconic Italian team has looked slightly faster so far this weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, known as F1’s “Temple of Speed.”
It should be a remarkable 24 hours. As we await the race, we’ll bring you updates from the track and catch you up on the weekend news.