In the summer of 2022, I had a mind-blowing experience. Visiting the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the Temple of Speed, was something that I didn’t even dream of. I chose to call it an exhilarating experience, even though the word “exhilarating” doesn’t quite do justice to how incredible it was. Monza has hosted the most Grands Prix of any circuit around the world, with Monaco and Silvestrone being the only others coming close. It’s a relic of history, while also being modernized.
Please be sure to visit the Autodrome if you do visit Italy. It’s especially accessible if you’re visiting Milan, which is only half an hour away from the Circuit itself. That’s exactly what I did – I visited Monza along with visiting Milan.
When visiting the circuit, I took the Tour Experience and the Track Tour. They can be booked from the official website of the Monza Circuit (monzanet.it). Now I will begin with the entire experience in chronological order.
The Media Centre and Briefing Room
Unfortunately, I was late to the experience, since the car park outside the circuit is a LONG walk (at least 20 minutes) from the meeting point where the tour begins. The experience began with the VIP Room, but I arrived in time to visit the Media Centre. The Media Centre was one of the most exciting parts of this tour for me. Since I aspire to make it into the Media Centre as a journalist one day, it was surreal to see the same room where journalists gather during press conferences to ask the drivers questions. The room was fairly massive and can hold hundreds of journalists at one time. It is located in the hospitality building, which is the building above the pitlane and the garages.
From the Media Centre, we moved to the Briefing Room. That is the room where the race director conducts a mandatory briefing for the drivers to explain the rules and regulations for the race weekend. Back in 2017, F1 used to publish videos of the F1 Driver Briefings for some races. Unfortunately, they don’t do that anymore. Since the briefing room is quite small, the briefings were switched to the large Media Centre because of COVID-19 regulations.
After the briefing room was one of the most fantastic moments of all. I got to stand on the podium of the Monza Circuit. This podium is more than just iconic. It’s known for being unique because it’s actually above the track itself. The podium finishers get to absorb the moment by seeing thousands of fans right before them.
Martin Brundle, who is one of the F1 commentators, described it as “the finest podium in the world.” I can only imagine what it must be like with the Tifosi on the track. It really brought back memories from when Charles Leclerc celebrated his win in Monza on the very same podium.
At the 2022 Italian GP, we got to witness the Tifosi in full force once again. As the drivers prepared and cooled down before the podium celebrations, the Tifosi ran onto the pit straight and hoisted their flags. During the podium ceremony, we saw many Ferrari and Italian flags and banners being held up with pride by the Tifosi. And when Charles Leclerc went on the podium and the crowd roared, I felt overjoyed knowing that I stood on that very same podium.
We didn’t just get to walk onto the podium, we also got to hold a trophy, which made this even more memorable. The view of the track, the stands, and the hospitality building are fantastic from the podium. Before the bridge leading to the podium, there are 2 rooms – the cool-down room, and the flags room. The cool-down room is where the drivers go to cool down before the podium celebrations. The flags room, I suppose, is for the flags of the podium finishers to be displayed. Nowadays, however, they don’t use physical flags anymore in F1; they display the flags on the screen that’s behind the drivers on the podium.
Race Control is a crucial part of Formula 1. It’s something that F1 cannot run smoothly without. Race Control monitors and supervises all on-track sessions. The Race Director and their staff sit in Race Control with the responsibility of making sure that everything is safe, legal, and running on schedule. As you can see in the image above, there are screens all over the room. This allows the Race Control unit to see all drivers’ onboard cameras and all parts of the circuit.
The FIA Race Director works with their team and with the stewards, along with being able to communicate with personnel about the safety car, medical facilities and marshal posts. The Race Control unit deploys the safety car and also relays important instructions, such as when a driver has a penalty. When a driver has committed an offence, Race Control can locate and identify it, and accordingly, penalise the driver.
As you can see, the Race Control room is quite large at the Monza Circuit. There were many screens, and it was more than up to standard. The extraordinary reach and interconnectivity that this room provides are beyond belief. Unfortunately, Race Control’s decisions towards the end of the 2022 Italian GP weren’t very popular with the fans. That’s something that we’re going to analyse in our upcoming review of the latest race at Monza!
The Pitlane and Track Tour
After Race Control, we had the opportunity to spend time in the pitlane. We also got to see the box where the chequered flag is waved at the end of the race. We went on the circuit as well and got to walk on the finish line. However, our tour guide called us back to the pitlane, in order to make our way down the pitlane and to the bus for the track tour. Walking down the pitlane, the difference astonished me. It was so different during the race weekend. The pit boxes, the driver names, and all of the colours and intricate preparations we see during the race weekend were not there. That shows that before the race weekend a lot of prep is done at the circuit.
After walking down to the pitlane we went back to the original meeting point, and then got on the bus for the track tour. The video of the track tour is embedded above. It was fantastical going around the very same circuit that I have raced on so many times in the F1 game. The very same circuit where Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Charles Leclerc and more have won for Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton is the most successful at Monza in recent history, with 5 wins in Monza to his name. Seeing the tire tracks, the notorious kerbs, and the circuit as a whole is something I hadn’t even dreamed of.
Overall, it was a mind-blowing experience, and I definitely recommend that you go and check it out if you get the chance. See you in the next post!