The Monza circuit from the grandstands: behind the photographic lens

The Monza track is the one where I have witnessed the greatest number of GP F1 cars, and other car races, such as the Monza 1000 Km, Endurance Series, Ferrari Challenge and much more. Its history and its charm are linked to speed, an element that distinguishes it from all the other circuits that hosted a race of the F1 World Championship. Therefore, many fans call it "the temple of speed".

It was 1982 when I saw the first F1 race at Monza. The strong desire was to see Gilles Villeneuve live in action with his Ferrari, but fate had already delivered him to history a few months earlier. In any case, the drivers that lined up at the start of that GP, are all part of the magnificent history of F1.  It is enough to name someone to understand what I mean: Mario Andretti, Renè Arnoux, Michele Alboreto, Nigel Mansell, Keke Rosberg. The list would be long. In all these years I have learned to know the circuit in its features, in its grandstands, in the changes made to improve safety and the show, both by being part of the public and as a journalist.

On the history of the circuit, its protagonists and the epic races, you can read a lot, both on the web and on the printed paper. Those that, generally, cannot be read, are the information on how to "use" the circuit to the fullest, to obtain maximum advantage and maximum satisfaction during the presence at the Italian GP in Monza. Above all, what are the best points from which to see the Grand Prix, especially for passionate photographers. Obviously, these are opinions related to personal experience.

Looking at the map of the circuit, for this type of information is the best thing to do.

First of all, two basic considerations. Seeing the GP from the Central Tribune Area of the circuit (from 1 to 5 and from 23 to 30), as well as being very expensive, risks not returning the show and the desired entertainment. Of course, you can see the deployment at the start, the first laps are exciting because the cars are still all close. But then, during the race, the cars pass very fast, the pitlane is, definitely, far away and without the presence of some max-screen, the moments to be enjoyed are really few. Maybe only the Ferrari fans' shows, and the public at the end of the race, under the podium, can make this choice. And then, the Friday tickets allows to attend the Free Practice 1 and 2, from each grandstand, without any limitation. On Saturday and Sunday, the public is required to respect the assigned place. Keep these two considerations in mind.

That said, the first useful information is relative to the positioning of the sun, with respect to the circuit. In the morning, it is positioned behind the Variante Ascari and the Parabolica. Until 9.30 am / 10.00 am the track is not fully lit, and the pitlane is completely shaded until noon. In the early afternoon, the sun, in its path, moves behind the Prima Variante and the Rettilineo Box.

So, in the morning, the best grandstands from which to see and photograph the cars are those positioned in the internal area of the circuit. Practically, in the Prima Variante internal (the grandstands 6, and the 6C is the best, in the high positions) and in the Seconda Variante (the grandstands 9 and 10). They are the two slowest points in the circuit. Even the Parabolica (21, 22) offers a good show, but the cars arrive very faster.

In the afternoon, starting at about 2.00 pm, the funniest grandstands are the one at Prima Variante Esterna (8), and those at the Variante Ascari (from 12 to 20, but the best are the 15, 16 and 18).

From all the points reported, it is convenient to use a reflex camera, to "see what you want to photograph", and perhaps practice the "panning" technique. Having a 70/300 telephoto lens is a good compromise.

Together with these technical notes I sent some images taken at Monza from the marked points to the Amico Valerio. However, do not hesitate to ask further questions and ask for advice.

I am here!

Author: Piero Savazzi

Journalist and expert in communication and business organisation, Piero has a great passion for car racing, especially Formula 1, Endurance series, takes interest in the history of motorsports, and since 1982 has never missed an edition of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.


Apr 19, 2018