Formula 1 arrives at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, 16th stage of the 2022 season of the top category of world motorsport. The race on Italian soil is usually a big party for the “tifosi”, the fanatical Ferrari fans.
In a new phase in its relationship with the public, Formula 1 attracted new fans through its presence on social media and through the documentary “Drive to Survive”, produced and made available by Netflix.
+ Formula 1: see schedules for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend
But for those who don’t consider themselves an expert on the category and want to watch this Sunday’s race (11), we brought you some topics to feel more familiar with Formula 1 and the Italian GP.
Monza: the temple of speed
The Italian circuit of Monza has a long history in Formula 1, a track where high speed has always been present. In the 1950s and 1960s, the circuit used a section with banked curves, as in the oval tracks in the United States, which allowed drivers to go around the curves at high speeds, without releasing the foot of the accelerator. This section of the Italian track was immortalized in the 1966 film Grand Prix. Check it out:
For safety reasons, banked corners were abandoned and are no longer used, although they still exist within the circuit.
The Italian track is also part of Brazilian history in Formula 1. It was there that Emerson Fittipaldi won the first of his two world titles (1972 and 1974), becoming the first Brazilian to become world champion in the category aboard a car from defunct Lotus team.
Monza’s high speeds also cost some drivers their lives during the 1960s and 1970s, a period when safety in the category was precarious. In 1961, German Wolfgang Von Trips was touched by Scotsman Jim Clark and his car took off towards the crowd, causing the death of the driver and 14 more fans. Von Trips, who was fighting for the title that season, was the first great German driver to stand out in Formula 1, which would only happen again in the 1990s with Michael Schumacher.
In 1970, Austrian Jochen Rindt lost his life after his Lotus ran out of brakes during practice. Leader of the championship, Rindt was not reached by opponents in the remaining stages and became the only posthumous champion of the category.
And in 1978, Swede Ronnie Peterson died at the start of the Italian GP. The race marked the start of the traffic light to signal the start (before the race had started with a green flag), but the race director activated the green light before the cars at the end of the grid were stopped, which caused them to arrive at speed. bigger in the first corner, tangling all the cars. In the confusion, Peterson was thrown against the guardrail, causing his Lotus to explode. In addition to the burns, the Swede had fractures in his legs, and died the next day from an embolism caused by injuries to his lower limbs.
For many years, the Formula 1 maximum speed record was obtained at Monza, with marks above 370 km/h, but the current record was obtained on the long straight of the Bakku track and belongs to the Finnish Valtteri Bottas, in 2016, who reached 378 km/h. But Monza will continue to bring top speeds close to these marks.
Formula 1 has always been known for its excellence in the development of new technologies. Turbo engines, carbon brake discs, gearboxes with gearshifts on the steering wheel, among other technical innovations, appeared in the category.
Virtually everything that happens inside the Formula 1 car is monitored by the teams in the pits. Engine data, brake temperature, tire pressure and temperature, and electric motor settings are transmitted in real time to the pits. And yes, today’s Formula 1 car has two engines, a combustion engine like your car, and an electric one, fueled by energy generated by the brakes and heat from the exhausts.
Although the technology already exists for the team to change some machine settings with them accelerating on the track, this is prohibited by regulation. So the teams, when noticing a problem in the cars, are able to instruct the drivers to make these changes through the car’s steering wheel, which has more than 20 buttons and a screen.
High tech is often very expensive and top teams have spent as much as $400 million a year to fight for titles and wins, which has led to a big difference between structures supported by big automakers and smaller teams. To try to reduce this difference, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) stipulated a budget ceiling of US$ 145 million. That is, theoretically no team can spend more than this amount in 2022.
Best technical level of pilots in all history
While the most nostalgic love to say that in the 1980s and 1990s there were good drivers and good disputes, in fact Formula 1 has never had such a high level in relation to drivers.
The Formula 1 of recent years has brought together drivers with achievements and titles in the basic categories and used to winning. One of the first in this sense was the British Lewis Hamilton, who had his career since karting supported by McLaren, where he won his first title in the category in 2008. In 2013, Lewis moved to Mercedes to win six more world titles (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). In total there are 103 victories and 103 pole positions, which makes him the biggest name in the history of the category.
But that hegemony has been threatened by a Dutchman, who was signed by Red Bull when he was just 17 years old. Max Verstappen has all his time in Formula 1 linked to the energy drinks team, which gives full priority to the driver. The result of this was the thrilling title won in 2021 in a race to the last corner of the season against Hamilton. This year, the Dutchman has dominated the season and has everything to secure his second world title.
And young drivers full of talent are present in almost every team. Ferrari is betting its chips on the Monegasque Charles Leclerc, McLaren on the Briton Lando Norris, Mercedes also has another Briton with enormous potential, George Russell.
Against this trend is the veteran Fernando Alonso, two-time champion of the category (2005 and 2006), who currently races for the Alpine team and has already secured two more years in Formula 1 by switching to Aston Martin from 2023.