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F1 - Italian Grand Prix Preview

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credit: Mario Renzi

The Temple of Speed returns to the F1 calendar once again, a circuit that’s both a fan and driver favourite– one which is beloved by everyone for its traditional layout whilst remaining as one of the quickest circuits on the entire calendar. Formula One returns to one of the most iconic circuits in motorsports, and a jewel in the F1 crown.

The Curse

Whilst many will expect Max Verstappen to likely continue his very dominant display of racing at Monza, it may not be entirely straightforward for the “Flying Dutchman” as there is something of a “Monza Curse” which has recently plagued members of the F1 grid. It was first experienced when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, to the absolute delight of the Tifosi and Italian crowd. However in 2020, Leclerc would not finish the Grand Prix after a pretty hefty crash at the final corner. Pierre Gasly did go on to take an extraordinary Maiden Grand Prix Victory in 2020 at Monza, but would later go on to crash out of the race in 2021. Daniel Ricciardo went on to win that year, after the 2021 championship titans, Verstappen and Hamilton, took each other out of the race at the first chicane after the pit stop phase of the race.

However, Ricciardo would not finish the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, during which Verstappen took another victory last season at Italy. So, with this curse dating back a few years, perhaps Verstappen will have the misfortune of a DNF in 2023, if this curse is to be believed. While all of this is purely superstitious, Verstappen might still have a more difficult fight on his hands in 2023. Despite the Red Bull car being vastly superior, especially with the DRS (Drag Reduction System), there may well be a situation where if Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, or even a McLaren or an Aston Martin, can remain within the DRS range, they may be able to stick with the Red Bull’s, as the DRS is extremely useful and effective on this track.

Credit: Andrej Isakovic

Therefore, this might end up being one of Verstappen’s most difficult weekends, purely because of the DRS trains, slipstream, and battery saving. Red Bull will definitely be in the best position, but it might be difficult to stay out front without challenge, because people will be pushing very hard in the early laps to just stay within one second of Verstappen for the first few laps before the DRS is activated.

However it must be stated, if Verstappen wins on Sunday, he will break the record for most consecutive wins in a single season, something which, no matter how many races in a season, cannot be overlooked, as it will become one of the toughest and most impressive achievements in F1 history. And it would be particularly poetic to achieve this incredible feat at Monza - one of the most historic circuits in Formula 1.

The Circuit

Credit: Formula One

Monza is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, with 77% of the lap full-throttle and just 11 corners, some of which can be taken absolutely flat out. It’s historic, it’s iconic, it’s utterly spectacular and it is a circuit which proves year upon year why it’s so beloved by the entire F1 community. It has witnessed so many historic moments, and even recently we’ve had a number of iconic F1 moments. Who could forget Gasly’s 2020 victory in the AlphaTauri, or Leclerc’s 2019 victory in front of the Tifosi crowd.

There are plenty of opportunities for overtakes on this track, like into the first chicane whilst having used the DRS for most of the straight. Or perhaps heading out of turn three’s “Curva Grande” and down into the second chicane. Another great place for overtaking is into the “Ascari Chicane” after another long straight and DRS activation zone. And of course, the final corner is another one coming after a long straight but without DRS, and it means that most of the time, the cars are actually side-by-side heading into the corner. The “Parabolica” (the final corner) has been a great overtaking zone throughout history, and is arguably one of the more entertaining ones. Drivers are trying to play “DRS Chicken” with each other, with the DRS detection zone being right on the Parabolica corner, and they want to set themselves up for the main straight heading into the first chicane.

Qualifying Craziness!

If there’s one thing we might be able to count on this weekend, it’s that there will almost certainly be some qualifying craziness, because each driver is fighting very hard to get a slipstream from other drivers for most of the lap. Even if that means hanging behind a car by roughly one second, you still pick up a slipstream, and this certainly assists in driving a great and fast lap, considering the numerous straights.The end of the third qualifying session from 2019 is especially unforgettable, during which so many drivers held each other up; so much so that nearly half of the drivers weren’t quite able to do their final lap.

Owen’s Predictions!

Well, I predict that we will see yet another Verstappen victory, and a record-breaking tenth consecutive win, which would further add to the story of one of the most dominant seasons ever. Red Bull have won every single race thus far in 2023, and there really isn’t any reason why they can’t win the Italian Grand Prix either. I think Sergio Perez will take P2 because Red Bull are just so powerful at the moment, that he should also theoretically bring it home to cement a Red Bull 1-2. However, his main focus should be holding a great qualifying position, as this has been one of his main weaknesses this season. And to round out the podiums, I think we will have a rather poetic Carlos Sainz podium with Ferrari. It would sweeten what has been a thoroughly disappointing season so far for the Italian team. I’m also expecting that the Mercedes powered cars may struggle to perform, however the main Mercedes Factory team will likely be contenders for the podium. The Aston Martins and McLarens have struggled a bit more at power-related circuits in past races this season, so I’m expecting that they might be fighting each other throughout the race.

That’s all for our preview of the Italian Grand Prix 2023 - but let us know your thoughts and predictions down below!

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Aug 31, 2023

Perez to win, possibly after ignoring team orders. A disgruntled Max follows him with Albon completing the podium 🙂.

Replying to

An Albon podium would be absolutely spectacular for sure!

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