JANUARY 17, 2000
Changes ahead for Monza
THE Autodromo Nazionale at Monza is going to make big changes to the layout of the circuit in an effort to keep up with the constant need for more safety in Formula 1. Monza has particular problems as environmentalists make a major issue out of cutting down trees in the parkland around the circuit and so any changes have to be incorporated into the existing space available. At the moment there is a problem of insufficient run-off area at the Curva della Roggia (the second chicane). This cannot be increased without cutting into the trees and cannot be reprofiled as the circuit boundary runs right beside the track at that point. The only way to solve the problem is to slow the cars at the previous corner and that means that there have to be changes as the Variante del Rettifilo (the first chicane). This is also rather short of run-off area and so the plan is to move the first part of the chicane up the track slightly and tighten it up - making it two sharp corners. This can be done fairly simply as part of the original circuit is still there and so there is no need for major foundation work to be done. The second part of the first chicane will disappear but the loss of momentum through the new corner will reduce speeds all the way through the Curva Grande and della Roggia chicane.
The second chicane will itself be opened up which will mean that overtaking will become more difficult but there will be fewer clashes between cars and thus less need for extra run-off. This will mean that cars will arrive in the first Lesmo slightly faster than is currently the case but there is no shortage of run-off there. While some critics feel that this will make overtaking less likely, the new first corner will probably increase overtaking possibilities at a track which has seen a series of processional races in recent years.
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