The Italian Grand Prix at Monza offers something unique for F1 fans. As the oldest race still on the calendar, there is history in abundance. This can be witnessed taking a walk around the outside of the current track and taking in the now defunct steep banking of the old circuit. As well as being the oldest race, Monza is also the fastest and on top of that, there is also a very special passion that you can feel as the famous Tifosi swarm the circuit and surround you in a sea of red, vigorously cheering every passing Ferrari car.
We had groups staying in Cosmopolitan Milan, around a 30-40 minutes coach transfer away, and also in beautiful, tranquil Como around an hour or so from the circuit. As is often the case, we were blessed with some warming late summer sun both days at the circuit despite a freak hailstorm shower on the Saturday morning!
The majority of our guests arrived on Friday and had some time to take in the sights before joining us for welcome drinks in the evening to meet with the rest of the tour and our reps and ask those all important questions ahead of the weekend. On Saturday, we witnessed Hamilton take pole closely followed by Raikkonen and Vettel, so local favourites Ferrari were looking to chase down the Mercedes the next day with Rosberg having qualified 4th. The Tifosi were going wild!
On race day, Raikkonen stalled on the start line and moved from 2nd to last before the first corner! Hamilton was superb and dominated from the front much to the delight of the masses of Brits cheering him on. We also had late drama as Rosberg’s engine blew only two laps out from the finish, just as he was chasing down Vettel’s Ferrari for 2nd; cue loud cheers from the sea of red.
Outside of the racing, our guests in Milan found time to explore the famous Duomo cathedral and surrounding areas and enjoyed Milan’s famous fashion and shopping scene. Meanwhile, in Como, some time on a boat exploring the lake was in order for some as well as taking the funicular up into the Old Town to enjoy the fabulous views. In the evenings (as you would expect) fabulous Italian cuisine was enjoyed by all as well as the odd glass of wine (maybe a few more than just the odd glass!).
History, speed and passion just about sums up Monza and with Milan and Como offering great entertainment away from the circuit, the Italian GP remains a great choice for an F1 weekend.
Worryingly during the weekend rumours were circulating that Monza may lose its place on the calendar with 2016 being the final year if contracts are not renewed. Hopefully Ferrari and F1 fans in general will rebel to ensure this special place remains on the calendar for many years to come…