The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship continues this weekend with round 16, the Italian Grand Prix, taking place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
The Italian Grand Prix, like the British Grand Prix, has been on the F1 calendar since the inaugural 1950 season. It's been held at Monza, located just outside of Milan, every year except 1980, when it was held at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari located at Imola. In recent years, F1 has held additional rounds in Italy to help cover for rounds in other locations canceled due to pandemic-related restrictions.
With the demise of the original track layout of the Hockenheimring in Germany, Monza remains the only historic high-speed track still hosting an F1 race. In the old days, there were no chicanes on the long straights, which made for some incredibly close racing, with dozens of overtaking moves every lap thanks to the slipstreaming effect.
But the Italian Grand Prix is much older than F1, as its first race was held in 1921. Monza was built the following year, making it 100 years old this year, and the circuit hosted its first Italian Grand Prix just a week after its completion.
Autodromo Nazionale Monza, home of the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix
Today, Monza's 3.6-mile track layout consists of a series of straights and some tight chicanes, with drivers typically spending 76% of the lap time and 83% of the lap distance at full throttle. It delivers the fastest average speed of the season and the cars reach more than 200 mph in no less than four sections.
As a result, cars are set up for low downforce to maximize their top speeds. This in turn makes them more dependent on the mechanical traction from the tires to provide grip through the corners. Pirelli has nominated its C2 compound as the White hard, C3 as the Yellow medium, and C4 as the Red soft rubber compounds.
The weather at Monza this time of year tends to be hot, which is good as the long straights mean the tires can cool too much when the weather is milder. The current forecast calls for warm and sunny conditions during both Saturday's qualifying session and Sunday's race, with 82 degrees Fahrenheit expected to be the top temperature.
Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen leads the 2022 Drivers' Championship with 310 points. Second and third places are held by Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc who each have an equal 201 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull leads with 511 points. Ferrari is second with 376 points and Mercedes-Benz AMG is third with 346 points. Last year's Monza winner was Daniel Ricciardo driving for McLaren.