Monza memory will increase pressure on beleaguered Ferrari | Formula One

WThe gardens here in Monza and the history of ancient greatness Racetrack no escape. They loom in gorgeous banks and quietly bore below in the stones of an ancient ring that demands attention by the mossy embrace of time. Temple of Speed ​​is celebrating its centenary this year but this weekend Ferrari – Monza team, Italian national team – the present is tense. The weight of history is heavy, with expectations inevitably high at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was built in just 110 days in 1922. Finished in July, its first race was the second Italian Grand Prix in September of that year and established the venue as the world’s only third permanent circuit, after Brooklands and Indianapolis.

The circuit sits so elegantly in its setting outside Milan with such grace that it can be passed on the nearby roads in Lissone without even noticing. However, Monza will salute on Sunday to the roar of engines amid a sea of ​​red-clad fans. However, while fans No doubt enjoying Monza’s rich history, they are here to witness Ferrari’s victory.

The team runs cars with an additional yellow livery this weekend, the color chosen by Enzo Ferrari in honor of Modena where his team was founded, as the background for the dancing horse crest to celebrate Monza’s anniversary. However, what happened on the track was what mattered to Enzo, and it’s possible that a tough weekend is still in store after a season that would certainly have criticized him as not being good enough.

Ferrari opened with two wins for Charles Leclerc in three races: They had the car to beat to end the drought for their title, having been without the Drivers’ Championship since 2007. Leclerc led the Red Bull driver by 46 points after the third round in Australia, a difference. Many believed that it would be difficult for the reigning hero to regain his strength. But Italy is approaching the round of 16, and Verstappen leads Leclerc by 109 points. The title is in the hands of the Dutchman. He could win it in Singapore and Japan, two races after Monza.

Enzo Ferrari (right) at Monza Pit in 1923. Photo: Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

Ferrari faltered after a bright start amid a series of team and driver errors. With their faltering, Red Bull grew stronger. Where Ferrari underestimated this season by bringing just three tires to Carlos Sainz’s podium at the final round in Zandvoort, Red Bull has repeatedly delivered nearly flawless racing. Red Bull’s biggest advantage was the grueling straight-line speed, and at Monza, the fastest track on the calendar, working with minimal downforce and a skinny rear wing, they were probably unstoppable.

Ferrari is only 30 points ahead of Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, which is exceptional given that their car was barely close to the pace Scuderia for most of the season. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes they are heading in the right direction and that stability and time are key. “Right now, we need to find some good results,” he said. “We are still looking for victories and our goal is to win every race, including Monza.”

Leclerc, who took his second win here with Ferrari in 2019to please fans, was trying to remain hopeful as he watched his title hopes dashed away, but was frank that a repeat at Monza was far from likely. “I think it’s going to be a bit of a tough weekend,” he said. “We expect Red Bull to be stronger. The track characteristics are not exactly suited to our car.”

One Ferrari from the start with Sainz starting at the back of the grid with penalties for taking a new power unit. However, with Verstappen also having a five-place grid penalty to mount a new engine, Leclerc will enjoy some advantages. However, Verstappen proved his victory in Hungary And the Spa That starting in the field is not a hindrance, this is his current dominance.

Ferrari had reason for some limited optimism in practice. In the first session, preceded by a minute’s silence held in the pit lane in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, Leclerc was in the lead, but remarkably Verstappen did not set time on the soft rubber. In the second session, Sainz was ahead with Verstappen just over a tenth of a second. However, with the Dutchman’s penalty kick, his team were, ominously, focused on his long-term pace.

Monza has hosted every Italian race except for the first world championship since the start of the world championship in 1950 and Ferrari’s history is intertwined with the history of this remarkable circuit. However, the past may not offer any consolation on Sunday for a team that has promised so much this season, but now it must overcome what are likely to be sighs of disappointment rather than the roar of approval that reverberates around Barco de Monza.