Formula 1 – 100 years of Monza: The Temple of Speed.

Formula 1 – 100 years of Monza: The Temple of Speed.

The Italian Grand Prix is arguably the spectacle of Formula 1, with the notorious Monza race track as its stage. IMAGO looks back on its 100th anniversary.

Not many places in the world are home to so much glory and death at the same time. Formula 1 world records, fatal crashes, socialites, rowdy fans, eager photographers, men in tears, and a lot of champagne. 

2022 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the Monza Circuit, home of the Italian Grand Prix since 1949 (with the exception of the 1980 running) and one of the fastest race tracks there is. Built May to July 1922, the historic Formula 1 course near the city of Monza north of Milan is one of the oldest race tracks in the world being the third circuit after Brooklands and Indianapolis solely built for motor racing. 

In 1950, after a troubled early history with lots of fatalities, Monza became host to the newly established Formula 1 World Championship of Drivers. The 1950 Italian Grand Prix was held on September 3, 1950 as race 7 of 7 in the Championship and was won by Italian F1 pilot Giuseppe “Nino” Farina. In 1961, after Wolfgang Count Berghe von Trips’s fatal crash, the famous high-speed banked section of Monza’s oval circuit was never used again and the organizers reverted to a shorter non-banked circuit. However, this did not detract from the fascination of ‘The Temple of Speed.’ In 2003, Michael Schumacher set the record for the highest average speed in a Formula One Grand Prix which still stands today.

1950

The Alfa Romeo team before the start: (L-R) Juan Manuel Fangio, Giuseppe Farina, Felice Bonetto and Emmanuel “Toulo” de Graffenried. Giuseppe Farina became the first Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion. 

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images.

1953

Giuseppe Farina, leads Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio and Onofre Marimon through the cobblestone pavement of the famous Parabolica.

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images.

1961

Wolfgang Count Berghe von Trips in his Ferrari 156. Von Trips and 15 spectators were killed in a horrific crash on the track. Although the accident took place approaching the Parabolica and not on the banking, the Formula One organizers opted never to race on the high-speed section again. 

imago images/Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images.

1965

Race winner Jackie Stewart. The 1965 Italian Grand Prix was a classic duel between the best drivers of the day: Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and John Surtees traded the lead a record 40 times before Stewart overtook Hill on the last lap and secured his first Grand Prix victory.

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch.

1970

Jochen Rindt in the pits with his wife Nina during his last practice session. A few hours later his Lotus crashed at Parabolica. Rindt died on the way to the hospital in Milan. He became Formula One’s only posthumous World Champion after winning five times earlier in the season. 

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch.

1971

Peter Gethin celebrates his victory on the podium. Next to him: BRM team boss Louis Stanley. The 1971 Italian GP was the first and only F1 victory for Peter Gethin, who beat home Ronnie Peterson by just one hundredth of a second. The closest finish in Formula 1 history saw the top five drivers separated by just 0.6 seconds on the finishing line.

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch.

1978

A first lap multiple accident claimed the life of Ronnie Peterson at the start.

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images.

1979

Race winner Jody Scheckter is being interviewed on the podium. It was Ferrari’s 300th start in the World Championship, and Scheckter won the 1979 Italian GP for the Scuderia.

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Ercole Colombo. 

1988

Less than a month after the death of founder Enzo Ferrari, Gerhard Berger won the 1988 GP in Monza for the Scuderia and celebrated on the podium with team mate Michele Alboreto. 

imago images/Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Ercole Colombo. 

1996

Michael Schumacher celebrates with members of the Ferrari team the first of his five victories at Monza.

imago images/Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Ercole Colombo. 

2003

Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari F2003-GA. He not not only won the race but also set the record for the highest average speed in a Formula One Grand Prix with an exceptional 247.586 km/h – a time that has not been beaten since.

imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch.

2004

Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello in the pit lane with his Ferrari F2004. Barrichello set the lap record at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and managed to round the circuit in only 1:21.046. He also won the Grand Prix.

imago images/Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch.

2008

Sebastian Vettel is showered with champagne after his pole position in Monza. Vettel became both the youngest Grand Prix pole position winner (a record he still owns) and the youngest race winner (a record since claimed by Max Verstappen).

imago sportfotodienst
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch.

2015

Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid en route to his second of five victories at Monza in the turbo-hybrid era. Using a new specification of the Mercedes power unit, Hamilton took pole position, set the fastest lap and led every lap of the race.

imago/LAT Photographic
IMAGO / Motorsport Images.

2020

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly became the first French Formula One winner in 24 years. It was the first (and so far only) victory for the freshly rebranded Scuderi AlphaTauri, formerly known as Toro Rosso.

imago images/HochZwei
IMAGO / Motorsport Images.

More from the IMAGO archive:

Formula 1 - 100 years of Monza: The Temple of Speed.
IMAGO / Motorsport Images | Stirling Moss celebrates the first of his three consecutive victories at Monza. 1956.
imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Autocar | Fans enjoy some refreshment as they watch Carroll Shelby, Aston Martin DBR4/250, go past. 1956.
imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images | Spectators watch Phil Hill and his Ferrari Dino 156 leading the field in the high-speed banked section of the oval circuit. 1961.
imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch | Mechanics work on a Matra MS10 Ford. 1969.
imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch | Fans take over a Pepsi advertising billboard to get a better view of the race from outside the track. 1970.
imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images | Grand Prix winner Clay Regazzoni downcast after the deathly crash of Jochen Rindt. 1970.
imago images/Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch | Race winner Emerson Fittipaldi in the pits at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. 1972.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Sergio Del Grande | Austrian driver Niki Lauda in the pit lane. Although Lauda started from pole position, the race was over for him after lap 32 due to engine failure. 1974.
imago images / Motorsport Images
IMAGO / Motorsport Images / Rainer Schlegelmilch | Pole sitter Jacky Ickx, Ferrari 312B beside Pedro Rodriguez, BRM P153 at the start of the race during the Italian GP. 1970.

Written by Nina Güntzel as part of our Formula 1 Series. Find this and more exclusive articles and archive photography in our Formula 1 Zine coming soon. 

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