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Facts and figures - Italian Grand Prix 07 Sep 2006

2004 F3000 International Champion Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Arden International on the old Monza banking. Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, 9 September 2004. World ©  Sutton

The sheer length of Monza’s Formula One history means there is no shortage of fascinating facts to be found about the circuit and the race is has hosted over 50 times. Here are just a few of them…

- The decision to build the original Monza Autodrome was taken in January 1922 by the Milan Automobile Club, to mark their 25th anniversary.

- Work on the track, which originally measured a massive 10 kilometres, was completed in less than six months. After England’s Brooklands circuit and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the US, it was the third permanent race track in existence.

- The original 1922 course had a banked oval section incorporated into its design and was used intermittently for Italian Grands Prix between 1955 and 1961. But as speeds rose the banking was considered too dangerous for Formula One racing and was banned.

- Monza has hosted more Grands Prix than any other venue and 2006 sees its 56th staging of the Italian Grand Prix. Since the creation of the world championship in 1950, only once has the event been held elsewhere - at Imola in 1980.

- Michael Schumacher is the most successful Formula One driver at Monza, having won there four times. Nelson Piquet also claimed four Italian Grand Prix victories, his tally including the 1980 Imola event. Next on the list come Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Ronnie Peterson and Alain Prost, all of whom triumphed three times at Monza.

- Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna have scored the most pole positions at Monza - five each. Jim Clark, John Surtees, Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya have claimed three apiece.

- The Italians call Monza ‘La Pista Magica’, or ‘the magical track’, a name as evocative as the circuit itself.

- The Italian Grand Prix has seen some of the sport's worst accidents, including the horrific crash in 1960 which left driver Wolfgang von Trips and more than a dozen spectators dead after the German’s Ferrari collided with Jim Clark’s Lotus during the opening lap. In 1955 two-time world champion Alberto Ascari died in an accident at Monza during a private practice session - just four days after he miraculously survived crashing into the harbour during the Monaco Grand Prix.

- Ferrari have won the most races at Monza, with 16 Grands Prix victories since 1951. Rivals McLaren have won eight times, whilst Williams have triumphed there on six occasions and claimed nine fastest laps at the circuit - more than any other team.

- Monza is the fastest circuit on the current Formula One calendar. In 1971 Peter Gethin completed 55 laps of the Italian circuit at an average speed of 242.72 km/h (over 150 mph) - a record which stood until 2003 when Michael Schumacher averaged 247.585 km/h (almost 154 mph) over 53 laps.

- The Italian Grand Prix has seen seven drivers score maiden victories. Most notable was Ferrari’s Phil Hill, who in 1960 became the first American to win a Grand Prix.

- In 1958, Monza staged the ‘Race of Two Worlds’, when American-spec Indycars were brought over from the US to race against a mixture of European machinery, in what turned out to be a one-off event featuring famous Formula One names such as Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. Held over three heats, the race was eventually won by American Jim Rathmann.