As Formula One heads to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, we take a look at one of the unique quirks of the Temple of Speed
Every circuit on the Formula 1 calendar has character. But as one of the most historic Grand Prix circuits - having held a championship round every year in the sport’s history except 1980 – the unique quirks of Monza make it a firm favourite in the hearts of fans, teams and drivers alike.
There are few more historic features of any racetrack in the world than Monza’s High-Speed Oval layout - the location of the Italian Grand Prix of yesteryear. Running alongside the current layout of the circuit, this intimidating wall of concrete quietly lurks in the background – barely visible when driving around Monza except when accelerating along the Curva del Serraglio, where the two tracks meet as old runs over new.
The story of Monza’s old banking began in 1955 when it was constructed with the desire to push performance to a higher level. Built on concrete architecture, the track was the home to four Italian Grands Prix as part of the 10-kilometre high-speed track, which saw wins for Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Phil Hill.
Following the 1961 race, it was decided that the speeds generated on the high-speed track – partly composed of the present Grand Prix layout – were too high. As such, the circuit was quickly abandoned by Formula 1 and, by the end of the decade, was soon forgotten.
Left in a decaying state, the oval was saved from demolition in the 1990s, and while racing no longer takes place on the layout, it still remains part of Monza as echoes of the sport’s past still remain.