Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a motorsport race track near the town of Monza, Italy, north of Milan. It is one of the most historic motor racing circuits in the world.
Built in Villa Reale park north of Monza, a woodland setting, the site has three tracks – the 5.793 kilometres (3.600 mi) Grand Prix track, the 2.405 kilometres (1.494 mi) Junior track, and a decaying 4.250 kilometres (2.641 mi) high speed track with steep bankings. Major features of the main track include the Curva di Lesmo, the Curva Parabolica, and the Variante Ascari. The high speed curve, Curva Grande, is located after a slow corner, but usually taken flat out by Grand Prix cars.
The circuit, better known for hosting the Formula One Italian Grand Prix, is notable for the fact that drivers are on full throttle for a higher-than-average percentage of the lap due to its long straights, and is usually the scenario in which the open-wheeled F1 cars show the raw speed they are capable of (372 kilometres per hour (231 mph) during the V10 engined formula). It is mostly a flat circuit but has a notable, though gradual, gradient from the second Lesmos to the Variante Ascari. Due to the low aerodynamic profile needed, with its resulting low downforce, the grip is very low; understeer, and the resulting slide can hurt overall speed - and are more serious issues than at other circuits, however, the opposite effect, oversteer, is also present in the second sector, requiring the use of a very distinctive opposite lock technique. It is said[by whom?] that drivers can set relatively decent lap times from the beginning without much effort, but in order to set competitive times, drivers must make use of all of their skill at every corner and chicane, since both precision and aggressiveness are required, especially during qualifying. Since both maximum power, and minimal drag is the key for speed on the straights, only competitors with enough power at their disposal are able to challenge for the top places.
The Monza circuit has been the arena of some of the most tragic episodes in Formula One racing, especially in the early years of the world championship. Since those times, modifications have been introduced to improve spectators safety and reduce curve speed, but it is still criticised by the current drivers for its lack of run-off areas, most notoriously at the chicane that cuts the Variante della Roggia.