Ever since it was first opened in 1922, the Monza race track has been synonymous with speed. The first lap of honour was given to the heroes of the moment, Pietro Bordino and Felice Nazzaro, aboard a Fiat 750. The greatest drivers, such as Antonio Ascari, winner of the 1924 Italian Grand Prix, and Gastone Brilli-Peri, the first World Champion in 1925, have all fought it out on the Monza circuit since then. In 1933, Monza proved fatal for Giuseppe Campari, Ascari’s teammate, at the entrance to the famous banking that is one of the wonders of modern motor racing.
In 1950, the race track witnessed the victory of Nino Farina, the first Formula 1 World Champion, in his Alfa Romeo, and in 1955 it sealed the fate of Alberto Ascari, who went off the track during a test lap in a Ferrari. The history of the race track is closely intertwined with the long career of Juan Manuel Fangio, who also used it as a set for a film with Amedeo Nazzari and, many years later, to celebrate both himself and the Pirelli Cinturato in a series of Caroselli commercials for Italian television. Monza also starred in a splendid photo shoot by Federico Patellani in 1950, with the mechanics-tyre fitters wearing their Pirelli overalls and caps in the pits. The history of Monza is also one of broken records on two wheels: one photograph that remains in the annals shows Gianni Leoni in November 1948, down on his “Guzzino”, “after almost fifteen hours of racing in weather conditions that were by no means favourable”, and pointing at the Pirelli advertising billboard, as he strives to conquer another record.
When Pirelli abandoned racing in 1956, it did not sever its historical links with the Monza race track. The experimental return to Formula 1 in the 1980s and, especially, the great years in the various Touring championships often took Pirelli radials back to the “world’s most famous asphalt”. And racing continues to this day, with record-breaking tyres on a circuit that is the stuff of legend.