Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monza

Formula 1 Grand Prix Monza 2014, by Packing my Suitcase

The Monza Circuit is one of the oldest in the Formula 1 calendar, since 1950 every year the big event happens on it’s tracks, which is located in the Monza Park, part of both Milan and Monza. This last weekend I was there for the 2014 Italian Grand Prix and I am going to tell you all about it, and give you some advices in case you go there someday for a race.

Quick facts about the circuit:

Circuit’s official name: Autodromo di Monza

Build in: 1922

First Grand Prix: 1950

Driving direction: Clockwise

Number of laps: 53

Length: 5.793 Km

Race distance: 306.720 Km

Formula 1 Grand Prix Monza 2014, by Packing my Suitcase

This was the 4th Grand Prix I have ever been to in my life, and as all the previous ones, it was again an amazing experience and different from the others. This time I had a 3-day ticket, from Friday to Sunday and I my place was at 8a (Prima Variante Esterna/ Variante del Rettifilo) on the first turn of the race, as you can see below at the circuit’s map:

I cannot imagine another better place to sit at the circuit. This turn will give you all the action you are looking for when watching a Formula 1 race. As it is the first turn after the start, the cars arrive at high speed and have to break as much as possible, which results in many drivers’ mistakes, just like these ones:

The Prima Variante is also where take overs happen throughout the entire race. My place was very high and the view was great, I found it better than sitting at the lower rows. In front of the stand there is also a screen, which makes easier to follow what’s going on. As they open the tracks for the public at the end of the race, for those wanting to watch the podium ceremony closer, here is your chance!

Β The dilemma of getting there…

Trains to Monza from Milan, by Packing my Suitcase

There are different options for you to get to the Monza Circuit from Milan (if you decide to stay there as I did, since there were no more hotels in Monza), however, I am sorry to inform you that none of them will get you there in less than 2 hours, so its up to you to choose what fits you better:

By car: Monza is only 22 Km away from Milan, and if you Google it, it will tell you that in 30 min you get there! Huh, sorry to tell you that no such thing will happen on a F1 weekend, traffic will make you lose a lot of time, not to mention that you have to find a place to park, which is not even that hard in the “Biassono” area. Of course, on the Sunday it will take you longer to get there, as most of the streets near the circuit are closed by the police. That is when your GPS will be your best friend!

By train/bus:

On Friday and Saturday: you need to take a train from Milan to Monza Central Station, and from there you either change to a bus (which will cost you 4 EUR both ways), to another train to go to the Biassono train station, or you can walk some kilometers until you reach your entrance.

The bus takes longer than you think, as it get stuck in traffic too, besides, it will be packed; if you choose to go with the train you will have to wait a bit at the Monza Central Station, and depending on which entrance you have to go, you might need to walk a bit; and if you choose to walk, be prepared in case if it’s a hot day.

On Sunday: there is a special train leaving every half hour from Milan Central Station that goes directly to the Biassono Train Station and from there you walk to your entrance, this is the most simple option. However, I may warn you that the trains might be packed.

By taxi

I wouldn’t choose this option; it will cost a fortune and you will be stuck in traffic as everyone else. Probably the only good thing about it is that the driver will drop you at your entrance, which means not much walking involved.

***Apart from these most viable options above, you can also get there by bike (in case you are staying nearby Monza, or by helicopter, which is not a bad idea – just kidding – even though I believe that’s how all drivers get there, otherwise they would be late for the race – kidding again.

My impressions of the circuit: the reality

It is not doubt that watching a race in Monza is beyond exciting, however, in comparison to all other circuits I have been before, the Monza Circuit is definitely not my favorite one, and here are my reasons to think that, problems I didn’t find in other circuits so far:

The hassle to get there: it took me 2 hours to get there from Milan every day and 2 more to go back (as you can notice from the “Getting there” section above), not practical at all, a bit chaotic I would say.

Bad infrastructure: the bathrooms are horrible and disgusting, lack of toilet paper was common.

Dirty: ALL the trash bins were always full and no one replaced them (on Saturday there was still garbage from the day before) so garbage was all over the place!

Long lines: you will always find them when trying to buy something to eat/drink.

Parking: it costs 20 Euros to park your car around the circuit, and it might be that this place is 3 Km or more away from your entrance gate.

Walking and walking: I really don’t mind walking, I run 5 Km everyday, but walking is all you do to get to watch the race in Monza, everything is far, so choose your shoes carefully!

Highlights

The place from where I watch the race couldn’t be better, every important thing that happened during the Grand Prix was there: Alonso stopping his car, Kyvat going straight ahead in high speed 2 laps to the end, Rosberg making a mistake, which lead Hamilton to take over and win the race, and several take overs and drivers’ mistakes.

At the end of the race, the track was open to the public and some people took advantage to bring some “souvenir” back home:

Formula 1 Grand Prix Monza 2014, by Packing my Suitcase

A bit of advice

  • If you are going only for the race, stay as close as you can to the circuit;
  • If you also would like to explore a bit of Milan, stay longer and spare a few days only to visit the city itself;
  • On Friday and Saturday, the trains leaving to Monza are not frequent, so try to find out the one you want to catch before you go to the station, and be there early, otherwise it will be packed!
  • Bring paper, as I said lack of toilet paper is common in the bathrooms;
  • It is possible to find free parking, but it will be far from the circuit.

I hope this little guide to the Monza Circuit is useful to all of you planning to go to a Formula 1 Grand Prix there in the next few years. I wish I had found some more information about the reality of the circuit before I went there, so I would have prepared myself better or at least be aware of what I was going to see. Having said that, I hope that all information given here helps you when you need it!

Tickets Sales: Bookf1.com

Have you ever been to a Formula 1 race in Monza? If yes, how was it? Would you go again? If not, are you planning to go?

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • I have seen this race too! About 8 years ago. Sorry it was not such a great experience for you. However..the park itself is very nice. (Not the area of the race – – just the actual park). Anyway…enjoy Milano!!!

    • Ohh really? How nice Diana… are you a F1 fan too? πŸ˜€ the race itself was amazing, but getting there was really very stressful, in other circuits I’ve been to was totally different, I think they should improve this, especially since its one of the oldest circuits, which means they have a lot of experience with the event. But you are right, the park is amazing, during the breaks we always went to sit on the grass and eat something, veeery relaxing πŸ˜€ thank you for the comment!

      • Actually…well…I am kind of a fan….hubby’s company gave us free tickets….so it was a first for me…but VERY fun! Now you have me wanting to go to other races in other parts of the world πŸ™‚

        • Awesome, another girl fan of F1, I love that πŸ˜€ how awesome, free tickets for the F1 its a great opportunity!! You should go to more races, there are so many here in Europe… Barcelona is a great option, we are thinking about going next year! Budapest is awesome too… but so far, my favorite one was in Abu Dhabi πŸ˜€

  • That is definitely good seats that you have! I usually don’t like front row or first few row seats as there will be heads blocking my view straight ahead. Sitting behind, you get a higher view. And wow, that F1 in Monza looks so packed πŸ™‚ So much action on the track, I bet you all weren’t too bored. One of the days look very hot and sunny – and no one is holding umbrellas! If I was sitting there in the sun all day, I would have gotten sunburnt. Have you gotten sunburnt at an F1 race? πŸ˜€

    • Yes Mabel, it wasnt boring at all πŸ˜€ I was very happy with our choice! And I must say it was pretty hot in there, we were wearing sunscreen all the time, and during the breaks we went somewhere with shadow hahaha… but I didnt want to complain about the sun, as here in Munich the summer is already gone πŸ™ And no I never got sunburnt in a F1 race, only snorkeling in the Maldives hahaha but it wasnt that bad.

      • Lucky you, didn’t get sunburnt at the F1. These events tend to be open-aired under the sky, so I bet you had a hard time finding a shady place πŸ˜€ Thanks for writing about another F1 experience. I’m definitely planning on going to the F1 in Melbourne this year, and I’m sure parts of it will be similar (like expensive food, lots of people…)

        Oh no, I hope autumn and winter won’t be too cold for you. It’s spring here in Melbourne but it’s still cold πŸ™

        • hahaha yes, thank God πŸ™‚ There were many shady places around the park under the trees, so it was pretty good to sit there and eat something πŸ™‚
          You’re welcome, I hope you go next year and tell me all about it for when I go one day!!
          Oh no still cold in Melbourne? Here the autumm started earlier than we expected, it rained the entire month of August and there was almost no sun… I hope winter won’t be so hard! And as for you, I hope you summer is full of sunny days πŸ˜€

          • Oh yes, I will tell you all about the Melbourne F1 when I go next year. Looking to buy the tickets end of the year, three months out. So I’m sure they’ll be plenty tickets still up for grabs πŸ™‚ It is a very popular event with Australians and people overseas too.

            Oh no, not much sun for you! Just wear an extra layer of clothes if you feel cold πŸ˜€ It’s a bit warmer this week in Melbourne but raining!

          • That sounds great!! Remember to take a look at the F1 website to see the tickets, they might start selling soon πŸ˜€
            Here was also like that, warm but raining all the time! Until it became too cold for a summer… oh well, crazy weather!

  • Nice post. Very complete and honest (which is very important for those who are considering to go for such a trip).

    • Thank you Gi πŸ™‚ yes, one need to be honest about it, it helps other people… it makes things easier. I wish I new half of this before I went there! But still it was Formula 1 and I had a blast during the race πŸ˜€

  • Go Lewis! I watched the highlights on TV. I could have spotted you πŸ™‚ Such a great, informative guide.

    • hahaha you sound like my mom, she also loves Lewis πŸ˜€ what can I say, I like him too!! hahaha you probably could have!! Thank you, yes I tried to write this little guide for people considering watching the race there, its always good to be aware of things, it saves you time and money πŸ˜€

  • F1 is not really my thing, but my hubby would definitely be excited to attend a race… though maybe not at Monza. Wow, it sounds so disorganized and dirty. Eww that garbage situation sounds really gross πŸ™ but glad the races were good at least!

    • Hi Shelley!! Yes, I was a bit disappointed with the organization πŸ™ I expected so much! But if your hubby don’t go to Monza, there are many other amazing options, Ive been to one in Budapest, SΓ£o Paulo and Abu Dhabi πŸ˜€ loved all of them!! Next year there will be more!!

  • Who did the sketch for your header photo? It’s amazing! My logo should be launched this month!

    • Thank you Jessica, its very pretty isnt it? The girl who did it does an amazing job! She had a blog, called Chicks and Heels… her link is on the footer of my blog πŸ™‚ ohhh really? Im curious to see how it will look like!! πŸ˜€

  • Sha

    Hmm, I’ve been on the actual racetrack in Singapore, will that count? Although seeing as it’s our normal traffic roads, I would say that it’s pretty common to be on it..haha…but that time, it was a few days before the race started so they had yet to stop people from crossing the barriers and we sneaked in just to see what it was like…:)

    • hahaha really?? Thats awesome!! You should go once, its pretty awesome (says who is a crazy fan of F1) hahaha. I really hope to go one of these years. I have to visit Singapore during the F1 race, so I do all at once and even meet you in person πŸ˜€ I dont know if it will work out next year, the race always happens in September and in October I have to be in Brazil, so Im guessing it will be in 2016 πŸ™

      • Sha

        Lol, well I didn’t really think much of it then but it is just a normal road to us when it’s not F1 period..haha…but I’ll keep a lookout for you..who knows, I may end up at your doorstep way before you manage to get here…:)

        • Yes, the circuit of Singapore is like the on in Canada and Monaco, on the streets! I like that πŸ˜€
          OHhhh I would love this surprise πŸ˜€ so I guess we might be seeing each other sooner than I thought!!

          • Sha

            You never know….I may be motivated enough to visit europe next year instead of korea…hahaha…:)

          • Ohhhhhhh that would be awesome!!! Have you ever been to Europe? πŸ˜€

          • Sha

            Nope! It’s a bit far for me so I’ve mostly been going around asia and australia…:)

          • I understand, Asia is the same for me πŸ™ but next year I will go to Asia for sure, just dont know which country yet, just know that it might involve diving πŸ˜€
            I do hope you come to Europe sometime!!

          • Sha

            Eventually, yes…:)

          • πŸ˜€ yaaaay!!

  • My husband and son watched this on TV. They would love to go to a formula 1 race (anywhere!) but there first choice is Monaco (because you race through the streets). I’ve been to the Japanese one years ago and can’t say I understood that much. Lots of noise, and cars going around.

    • Ohh yes, Monaco is my dream! Though, its the most expensive one πŸ™ so I have started saving already! The best thing is that the race there is always on my birthday month, maybe one day it will be my gift πŸ˜€
      If you thought it was loud, now you would like it, they changed the car engines so its not as loud as it used to be πŸ™

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  • Impressive, I wouldn’t know the car racing already existed in 1922 – I meant that circuit is quite old already – I guess it was used as car racing circuit? – Gosh I am totally clueless about car racing thingies – sorry!! πŸ˜€ Great photos, you did have a good seat this time!

    • hahaha dont worry!! I guess only crazy people for F1 like me would know such things, most people have no idea.

      In 1922 they already had races, with very old cars and very slow ones haha… during the 2nd World War nothing was happening as we may imagine, but then in 1950 the Formula 1 we know nowadays began and Monza was included in the race calendar since then πŸ™‚
      And yess, thank God we had a better seat this time… if you ever go to a F1 race, dont choose the general admission option, even if the seats are more expensive, it will be worth it, you will see better and you dont have to worry about getting there too early! πŸ˜€

      • I will keep in mind! Hope someday I will make it a racing, sounds an interesting event! πŸ™‚

        • Yes me too! Hope you go and see how its like! There is one not far from you, the Spa Francorchamps circuit near Liege in Belgium πŸ™‚ isnt the cheapest one, but its one of the best πŸ˜€ Budapest is the cheapest one I have been to so far!

  • Great write up. Very detailed and lots of advice. I have been watching F1 ever since I can remember, since the days of Hakkinen and Schumacher…where Alonso retired in 2014 was where Hakkinen foolishly threw away a victory in 1999 (I wasn’t there I was too young :P). I wish I can go to a Grand Prix one day…

    • Thank you πŸ˜€ glad you liked it!! Awesome, is always good to meet people who also like F1!! I hope you can go to a GP one day, you wont regret, its an amazing experience πŸ˜€

  • My major goal: to watch a GP in Monza! All my family are into the racing thing, so I’m a F1 big lover! my cousin use to race at the English F3! Now he’s a F-Truck racer in Brazil and also a kart coach! Nice, loved the post and the advices!

    • Really?? How amazing! Lucky you, I dont have anyone of my family on the racing world, but since I was a child Im a huge fan of racing πŸ™‚ I hope you can make it to Monza one day, its an incredible circuit πŸ˜€ Thank you for the comment, glad you liked the post! Beijos πŸ™‚