This weekend see’s the final European round of the season take place at the historic Monza race track in Italy. Home to Ferrari’s Tifosi and enjoyed by millions world wide as the ultimate theater of speed in a F1 car.
The race takes place this year with added interest as the biggest performance differentiator at the track has changed for 2014. With 75% of the lap at full throttle the power unit will take centre stage and the aerodynamics will be stripped away and teams expect top speeds to be 30 KPH higher than in the V8 era. The parabolica has been tarmacked over which is a real shame reducing the chance of getting it wrong out of the last corner drastically.
However with the new torquey engines, difficult brakes and low down-force the circuit could really prove to be a challenge this year. But its a one off and the teams make a special aero package for the race which is then binned afterwards! With DRS Spa has become more downforce friendly and the calendar could surely benefit from another real high speed raceway to balance a ever increasingly homogenous calendar.
The 19 races on this years calendar see us attend 6 tracks completely designed by Tilke, one he consulted on (Singapore) and three he heavily modified (Red Bull Ring, Hockenhiem and Cataluyna). While he isn’t a bad circuit designer (in fact his best circuit sits gathering dust outside Budapest) he does have things he likes to include in every track and does make mistakes with his layouts, increasingly so as his design work load has increased. But the inclusion so heavily of one designer has seen characteristic tracks disappear from the Calender to be replaced by 4-5 Km tracks with 16-20 corners that include a tight section and a huge straight.
While I’m not suggesting its possible to build a classic every time nor can you replicate the history a little variation would be nice, In an ideal world another power first circuit would do the sport wonders in the US where an Oval could possibly be adapted to produce a similar result requiring the cars to run in a lower downforce configuration.
Alas if not at least enjoy the fact that the calendar this year has seen the return of a classic circuit (Red Bull Ring) and next year the same (Mexico). And maybe just maybe enjoy Monza in its uniqueness – a piece of history amongst a lesson in always moving forward – Gentlemen start your engines!