Monza Shouldn’t Abandon Its Plan To Revive Its Historic Banking

Photo: Massimo Bettiol (Getty Images)
Photo: Massimo Bettiol (Getty Images)

For most racing drivers and fans, the banking at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is a traditional stop for photos during any race weekend, but the 1969 1000km of Monza was the last major race to use the track’s two steeply banked turns. There has been serious interest in bringing the banking up to modern standards for potential events. However, funding issues might have derailed the surreal project.

While international motorsport abandoned circuits with high-banked corners in the 1960s, there has been a shift in recent years towards reviving banking in a very limited capacity. Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands modified its final corner to feature 18-degree banking as a part of renovations for the revival of Formula 1’s Dutch Grand Prix in 2021. Luyendykbocht, named after two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, is lined with SAFER barriers and catch fencing like an American oval.

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The project relied on funding from the Italian government, and the money seemingly never came, likely due to the pandemic. The modernization effort will have to take place at some point soon. The contract to host the Italian Grand Prix expires after the 2024 race, and Formula 1 might leave for green pastures if facilities aren’t upgraded.

While F1 might not be willing to take on the unique challenge, smaller series in slower cars wouldn’t hesitate to race on the 30-degree banks. Racing seems set on finding unique spectacles to draw attention that has amounted to a glut of new street circuits in exotic locations with obscenely high speeds. It would be incredible for one of the world’s oldest circuits to remain a marquee venue.

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