The 2015 Formula One World Championship continues this weekend with round 12, the Italian Grand Prix, which once again is taking place at the legendary Monza race track. Monza is home to some of the most passionate fans in F1, most of them loyal to local team Ferrari, and this creates an atmosphere that’s second to none. It’s why the Italian race is one of the real highlights of the season.

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Then there’s the history to soak in. The Italian Grand Prix was first held during F1’s inaugural 1950 season and has been on the calendar ever since. And the track itself is impressive. Drivers typically spend over three-quarters of the lap at full throttle, delivering the fastest average speed of the season and top speeds of over 211 mph down the main straight.

A single lap measures 3.6 miles, and the cars exceed 200 mph at four different points, so the combination of straight-line speed and braking stability is the key for race engineers and drivers. The numerous fast straights and tight chicanes also demand the lowest downforce settings of the season.

But the lack of downforce increases the work for the tires considerably under acceleration and braking, because with less force pushing down on top of the car it’s the rubber that’s providing all the mechanical grip. Pirelli has nominated its medium and soft compounds for the race, as these are said to offer a good balance between durability and performance.

Weather around Monza at this time of year tends to be hot and sunny. The outlook for the weekend looks good, though there could be some wet weather during Saturday’s qualifying session.

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Going into the weekend, Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 227 points. His teammate Nico Rosberg is second with 199 points and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is third with 160 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 426 points followed by Ferrari with 242 points and Williams with 161 points. Last year’s winner of the Italian Grand Prix was Hamilton.

In other F1 news, Williams has confirmed that its current driver pairing of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will continue into next season. Force India has also confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will continue with the team for the next two seasons, ending speculation that the German was set to join another squad, possibly the new American effort led by Gene Haas.


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