Monza is regarded by many as the embodiment of Formula One racing. It is not only a fantastic example of a track that combines speed with skill, it also has a heart and soul all of its own. It has seen some of the finest races of all time, but also home of the sport's worst accidents.
The original track at Monza was built between May and July 1922 by 3,500 workers and was financed by the Milan Automobile Club. The initial form was a 3.4 sq km area with 10 km of macadamised road, comprising a 4.5 km loop track, and a 5.5 km road track. The track was officially opened on 3 September 1922, with the second Italian Grand Prix held on 10 September 1922.
Monza saw its most tragic racing accident to date, at the 1928 Grand Prix with the death of driver Emilio Materassi and 27 spectators. For the next three years Grand Prix races were confined to the high-speed loop. The 1933 race was marked by the deaths of three drivers, subsequently the track layout was changed, with two chicanes added and the longer straights removed.
Major rebuilding works took place between 1938 and 1939 constructing new stands and entrances. The track was redesigned, resurfacing and portions of the track were moved and two new bends added. The resulting layout gave a Grand Prix lap of 6.3 km. Due to the Second World War, racing at the track was suspended until 1948 and much of the circuit degraded due to lack of attention. It was renovated over a period of two months, and a Grand Prix was held on 17 October 1948.
Uncertainty has grown over the future of Monza as host of the Italian Grand Prix as Rome had signed a deal to host Formula One from 2012. However, on 18 March 2010 Bernie Ecclestone and the Monza track managers signed a deal which meant that the Grand Prix will be held at this historic venue until at least 2016.