Round 13 of the 2014 Formula One World Championship gets underway this weekend at Italy’s legendary Autodromo di Monza, just outside of Milan. The race track, which hosted the Italian Grand Prix during F1’s inaugural season in 1950, is known colloquially as “La Pista Magica”, and with good reason: the atmosphere is second to none.

The track has evolved over the years and become safer, but its high-speed nature continues to get the pulse racing like nowhere else. The cars exceed 200 mph at four different points on the lap, necessitating a combination of straight-line speed and braking stability from teams.

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The tires are also heavily loaded, especially in the fast corners such as the Curva Grande and Parabolica. For this reason, Pirelli is bringing its two hardest compounds: P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium. Looking at the weather forecast for the weekend, temperatures will be hot and there is a chance of rain for Friday’s practice session.

A single lap of Monza measures 3.6 miles, and with drivers covering some 53 laps during the race, the total distance is about 190 miles. Last year’s winner was Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel.

After the tough race in Belgium a week ago, Mercedes AMG drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will have the added pressure of all eyes on them this weekend. Rosberg currently leads the 2014 Drivers’ Championship with 220 points while Hamilton is in second with 191 points. Given Rosberg’s form this season, it will be difficult for Hamilton to overtake him. Red Bull star Daniel Ricciardo is also catching up and now sits just 35 points behind the Brit. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG sits on 411 points versus the 254 points of Red Bull and 160 points of Ferrari.

In other F1 news, American team Haas F1, which is set to go racing in the 2016 season, has signed a multi-year engine deal with Ferrari. Haas is currently a sponsor of Scuderia Ferrari.


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