Monza's proposed new first turn and chicane will be used for cars and not just bikes after all, if plans submitted to the Lombardy regional government come to fruition. The new high speed turn one would bypass the Curva Biassono (commonly known as Curva Grande) but would also see the removal of the finickity Rettifilio chicane on the front straight altogether.
The idea of using part of the abandoned Pirelli test course to form a new first corner and chicane complex drew adverse comment from many fans when it was first floated earlier this year. Fears were expressed over the potential loss of Curva Biassono with a feeling that such changes would inevitably lead its use by Formula One and other car races - points refuted by circuit sources when the plans first came to light in Gazzetta dello Sport in January.
But now a document published on the Lombardy regional government's website* under environmental planning laws shows no differences between the layouts for car and bike use, with the current Curva Biassono set to disappear under asphalt run-off.
The plans, penned by Italian circuit designer Jarno Zaffelli's Dromo company, are intended to bring Monza up to both FIM Grade A and FIA Grade 1 status (currently it has only the latter) ahead of the resumption of World Superbike (WSBK) races at the historic venue in 2017. Described as a "discussion document", the papers describe how a variety of options were considered before settling on the proposed solution, quoting Zaffelli as saying that it would allow for a "proper revamping of the track, both for cars (F1 included) and bikes, with particular attention for WSBK."
The new section of track would also lead to a reduction of speed into the Variante della Roggia chicane and allow the use of lower curbing favoured by the motorcyle racers, with revisions to run-off areas, kerbing and barriers also proposed at the Lesmo, Variante Ascari and Parabolica. These have been carefully calculated using Dromo's specialist DroCAS system.
The plans also talk of an innovative system of warning lights being built into the track surface at various points to warn riders and drivers of dangers ahead, while a new service road would aid the quicker removal of stranded vehicles following collisions. A new CCTV control system would also allow race directors to detect when competitors cut corners, as is frequently the case at the current chicanes.
It remains to be seen if permission is granted (around 400 trees are thought likely to need to be felled) or indeed if F1 ever runs on the revised course - negotiations for Monza to continue on the calendar beyond this year are continuing, with the major sticking point likely to be raising the finances necessary to extend the current deal.
* A hat tip to F1 Fanatic for the link to the documents on the Lombardy website.