Spectators watching F1 at Monza are spoiled for choice with a surprisingly varied array of views around what is a track consisting mostly of long straights split up with chicanes. There’s no clear winner in the general admission verses grandstand debate with good views for all and a general sense that you get what you pay for.Many of Monza’s intrinsic charms however lay in elements of the experience not related directly to how good the views are. The atmosphere and the history; these are things that you can enjoy from just being in the place and with general admission tickets for Monza being some of the most affordable in Europe it’s a clear winner for many.
Best Grandstands at Monza
Grandstands at Monza are for the most part steel or concrete bleacher style seating, and not renowned for their comfort. Get up for a stretch often and if you’re a bony bum, bring a cushion.
Grandstand 6c (Prima Variante – turn 1)
Grandstands on the interior of turn 1 just have the edge over Grandstand 8, benefiting from a broader view of the braking zone on the approach to the chicane giving a better chance to see the complete move. Grandstand 6C, closest to the apex is the most sought after view but 6A and 6B at a slightly lower price point are worth considering.
Grandstand 15 and 16 (Ascari)
There’s little to choose between these two grandstands. Each have excellent views of Ascari – a fast sweeper of a chicane towards the end of the lap. Grandstand 15 allows a better view of the entry, though it’s still really too distant to be of any real value and Grandstand 16 is a better vantage point to see cars exit onto the straight, kissing the rumble strip as they do so.
General Admission Experience at the Italian Grand Prix
Monza has a rambunctious crowd and frankly it’s worth the general admission ticket price for the chance to be among the tifosi. General admission offers some worthwhile viewing options with paths winding their way through the trees around the circuit and views from just about every angle.
There are a number of small grandstands erected for general admission or you may find yourself pressed against the perimeter fencing. The spectator experience is not the best for unobscured fence free photographs but it is at least close to the action.
Regular veterans of Monzas general admission take the best spots very early on, putting down sleeping bags and even roping off entire sections. It’s a bit of a free for all so just get the best spot possible whether that means climbing a tree, scaling the roof of a service building or just jostling like hell for position.
My pick for the best general admission spot has to be the second chicane – the Variante della Roggia. This is a common place for overtakes, braking hard after the Curva Grande – an action packed piece of asphalt, particularly on lap one. The position benefits from a superscreen and is also close to the two Lesmos making a strategy of hopping between the two areas during the latter stages of the race a great way to get a change of scenery.
Other hot spots include Variante Ascari – there won’t be much in the way of overtaking but it’s worthwhile to see the F1 car’s mesmerisingly fast change of direction in what is one of F1’s most underrated corners.
Turn one is always likely to see the most action and is a prime location for the stampede to the podium once the gates are opened after the race (see boxed text).
The Obligatory Monza Track Invasion
Monza has arguably the best podium of the season, jutting out over the start finish straight in iconic fashion. Bagging standing room under it is the place to be come champagne time. Track invasions are commonplace at circuits these days but Monza has been doing these since the days before other circuits were even a twinkle in Herman Tilke’s eyes.
There are access points around turn 1 and at the other end of the straight near the Parabolica, though from these areas it is still quite a run to the podium area.
A better option are openings in the fence near Grandstand 1 opposite the podium and a short distance back from the podium near a tall glass paneled tower that hosts TV commentators. These are the closest access points and you’ll need to be reasonably nimble to jump the waist high barrier and advertising hoarding onto the track.
Wherever you are on the circuit you’ll be able to get onto the track after the race once the track marshals open the gates and you’ll have ample time to explore, but if you want to get a taste of the winners champagne it’s worth taking this into consideration when choosing where to watch the race from.