Italian Grand Prix 2014 Preview: Start Time, TV Times, Weather, Schedule, Odds

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2014

Italian Grand Prix 2014 Preview: Start Time, TV Times, Weather, Schedule, Odds

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    The Italian Grand Prix will be the 13th round of the 2014 Formula One season.

    One of the sport's oldest races, the venue will once again be the historic Monza circuit, close to Milan in the north of Italy. It will be the 65th Italian Grand Prix of the world championship era, and the 64th held at Monza.

    The most successful driver at this event is Michael Schumacher, with five wins. Of the current drivers, Sebastian Vettel has the most Italian victories with three.

    Qualifying has proved key at Monza in recent years. Seven of the last 10 races have been won from pole, with only one winner in that time coming from lower than second on the gridRubens Barrichello, from fifth in 2009.

    With their superior pace on both Saturday and Sunday, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are strong favourites.

    But could Daniel Ricciardo once again spoil the Mercedes party?

    Read on for a full preview of the weekend ahead, including current standings, a track map and circuit guide, tyre and DRS information, weather forecast, odds, session times and TV times.

Current Standings

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Nico Rosberg has a 29-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' championship.

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo is third, with Fernando Alonso fourth. The current top 10 (data from Formula1.com) are:

    PosDriverTeamPoints
    1Nico RosbergMercedes220
    2Lewis HamiltonMercedes191
    3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull156
    4Fernando AlonsoFerrari121
    5Valtteri BottasWilliams110
    6Sebastian VettelRed Bull98
    7Nico HulkenbergForce India70
    8Jenson ButtonMcLaren68
    9Felipe MassaWilliams40
    10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari39

    Mercedes have a huge lead in the constructors' championship.

    The most interesting battle is between Ferrari and Williams for third.

    PosTeamPoints
    1Mercedes411
    2Red Bull254
    3Ferrari160
    4Williams150
    5McLaren105
    6Force India103
    7Toro Rosso19
    8Lotus8
    9Marussia2
    10Sauber0
    11Caterham0

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

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    Neil James

    The Autodromo Nazionale Monza has a history stretching all the way back to 1922. It was built to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Milan Automobile Club, and it took 3,500 workers just 110 days to complete.

    The circuit has changed little since then.

    The banked oval was put out to pasture many years ago, but the "road course" on which the Italian Grand Prix is held today is almost identical to the one laid down by those workers almost a century ago.

    Simple, beautiful and very, very fast, Monza is and always will be a favourite among fans and drivers alike.

     

    Turns 1, 2 and 3

    A lap begins on the wide section of the pit straight with a long run down to the Variante Rettifilo chicane (Turns 1 and 2). The cars brake from speeds in excess of 350 kilometres an hour to just 70 in less than 150 metresthe heaviest braking event of the year.

    The first half of the chicane is a tight right, the second an equally slow left.

    We'll almost certainly see some drivers forced across the tarmac here on the opening lap as they take evasive action, and if everyone gets through with their front wings intact the whole field will deserve a round of applause.

    It's full throttle after the exit and into the long, sweeping right-hander of Curva Grande (Turn 3). Though little more than a curved straight for modern machines, it remains a great corner to watch the cars accelerating through.

    Strictly speaking, it hasn't officially been called Curva Grande since 1927, but that's the name everyone in the English-speaking world uses. The corner's real name is Curva Biassono.

     

    Turns 4 and 5

    Coming out of Curva Grande the cars are doing more than 310 kilometres an hour, and they add another 10-15 before another hard braking zone for the Variante della Roggia chicane (Turns 4 and 5).

    The first part is a left taken at around 100 kilometres an hour and is followed by a slightly quicker right as the drivers attempt to get the power down as early as possible on the exit.

     

    Turns 6 and 7

    A short straight follows, before light braking for the first of the two Lesmos (Turn 6). This medium-speed right-hander has slight but useful banking, allowing the cars to carry a little more speed than might be expected.

    It's very easy for the cars to run a touch wide here on the exit.

    The second Lesmo (Turn 7) follows almost immediately, another medium-speed right, but the apex here is sharper and speeds are slightly lower.

    A good exit from this corner is crucial, because it leads out onto a longish straight.

     

    Turns 8, 9 and 10

    The straight features a tiny left-hand kink before heading downhill into a slight dip.

    The track passes under the old oval and rises out of the dip, then it's braking for the medium-speed Variante Ascari (Turns 8, 9 and 10).

    Laid out like a three-part chicane, this complex stretch is more like a series of three proper corners. The first is a left-hander taken at around 170 kilometres an hour, which is followed by a longer, near-full-throttle right.

    The final part is a full throttle left-hand kink, which the drivers exit at close to 250 kilometres an hour as they head onto the back straight.

    The kerb on the outside is quite nasty to discourage running too wide, but everyone will use it as they seek the best possible line.

     

    Turn 11

    At the end of the straight comes braking from around 330 kilometres an hour for Monza's finest corner, Parabolica (Turn 11).

    The drivers brake hard and turn in to the early apex, then feather the throttle for a second before planting it to the floor as they sweep around the rest of the corner.

    It's not unusual to see a car drift slightly wide as they near the exit and plumes of dust used to be a common occurrence.

    We won't see it anymore, because tarmac has replaced the gravel, but running wide should still compromise a driver's exit and in turn, his speed onto the long pit straight.

    The timing beam is early on the straight, close to the bridge.

     

    Pit Lane

    The pit lane entry is on the right just after the final corner, and the exit is on the pit straight before Turn 1.

Tyres and DRS

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Monza has few corners but a lap still puts the tyres through a lot of stress. Low downforce levels mean the cars slide more in the corners, and the two huge braking zones generate massive amounts of heat in the rubber.

    Three significant acceleration zones harm the rears, and the long, long corners like Curva Grande and Parabolica will put the left-fronts (and rears) under plenty of strain.

    The tyres also take a pounding on the kerbs at the chicanes.

    To cope with the unique challenges Monza presents, Pirelli are supplying the white-marked medium and orange-marked hard compound tyres.

    Last season's winning strategy was a one-stopper; if it stays dry, there's a good chance we'll see the same in 2014.

     

    DRS

    There will be two DRS zones at the Italian Grand Prix.

    The first will have its detection point between Turns 6 and 7 (the Lesmos), and an activation point just before the left-hand kink on the straight between Turns 7 and 8 (Ascari). It will end with braking for Turn 8.

    The second will have a detection point just before the entry to Turn 11 (Parabolica). The activation line will be just before the start-finish line, and the zone will end with braking for Turn 1 (Rettifilo).

Weather Forecast

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    Michael Cooper/Getty Images

    Monza lies in northern Italy, in a region with a humid subtropical (wet Mediterranean) climate. Septembers tend to be mostly warm, with rain on average once every five days.

    The forecast for the Italian Grand Prix weekend is for mostly warm and dry conditions, but a shower or two is possible on Saturday, which may affect qualifying.

    BBC Weather will have the latest for Milan (approximately 20 kilometres away).

Italian Grand Prix Odds

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    Jonathan Short/Associated Press

    Lewis Hamilton is, for the 13th time in 13 races, the pre-qualifying favourite to win the Italian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg is second-favourite, with Daniel Ricciardo third.

    The top 10 favourites are:

    Lewis HamiltonEvens
    Nico Rosberg15-8
    Daniel Ricciardo14-1
    Valtteri Bottas20-1
    Sebastian Vettel28-1
    Fernando Alonso33-1
    Felipe Massa40-1
    Kimi Raikkonen66-1
    Jenson Button150-1
    Kevin Magnussen200-1

     

    Selected Others

    A Safety Car appearance (4-5) is considered slightly more likely than no appearance (evens).

    Sauber are still pointless. They've never gone so far into a season without scoring before, and Adrian Sutil is 25-1 to break their duck. Esteban Gutierrez is 33-1.

    And curiously, Romain Grosjean is favourite to be the first retirement, at 10-1. The usual pick, Pastor Maldonado, is 16-1. Maybe they got them mixed up.

     

    All odds sourced from Oddschecker.com, and correct at the time of publication.

TV Times and Session Times

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    Luigi Chiesa / Wikimedia Commons

    As always, the Italian Grand Prix weekend will consist of three free practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

    The session times are as follows:

    Practice OneFriday10 a.m.
    Practice TwoFriday2 p.m.
    Practice ThreeSaturday11 a.m.
    QualifyingSaturday2 p.m.
    RaceSunday2 p.m.

    All times are given in Italian local time (CEST). Formula1.com has a handy one-click tool on the right-hand side of the homepage to convert them to your own timezone.

     

    TV Times

    In the United Kingdom, live coverage of all sessions will be provided by Sky Sports F1 and BBCs One and Two. Their broadcast times (BST) are as follows:

    SessionDaySession StartSky StartBBC Start
    P1Friday9 a.m.8:45 a.m.8:55 a.m. (Two)
    P2Friday1 p.m.12:45 p.m.1 p.m. (Two)
    P3Saturday10 a.m.9:45 a.m.9:55 p.m. (Two)
    QualifyingSaturday1 p.m.12 p.m.12:10 p.m. (One)
    RaceSunday1 p.m.11:30 a.m.12:10 p.m. (One)

    In the United States, live coverage of selected sessions will be provided by NBCSN. Coverage of second practice will be shown on Friday at 8 a.m., qualifying will be at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Live race coverage starts at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. All times EST.

    Enjoy the weekend!

     

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