1979 Italian Grand Prix

Monza, September 9th

On arrival at Monza the most noteworthy thing to see was the first-class job the Automobile Club of Italy had made of the pits and paddock facilities. By very clever pruning of the existing pits and the wall between the pit road and the track they had effectively made the pit road three cars width in place of the previous two. Openings had been cut in the pit counters to facilitate the passage through the pits into the paddock behind, and the area behind the pits had been totally transformed. A vast clearing out of existing buildings and fences had been replaced by an enormous tarmaced area big enough to house all the team transporters, motor homes, caravans, tents and all the paraphernalia that seventeen teams bring with them to a Grand Prix. Everyone working within the pit area was delighted with the improvements. while out on the circuit the drivers were all delighted with the tree clearing carried out around the Lesmo corners and the run-off areas provided. Until this moment there was a strong undercurrent of opinion to move the Italian Grand Prix to the Imola circuit, near Bologna, but throughout the three days of the Grand Prix this undercurrent subsided and everyone seemed to be saying ”why do we want to go to Imola?”.

The Italian weather man was in good form and blue skies and bright sunshine was the order of the day, though long-distance visibility was restricted by a heat-haze and you would never have known there were rugged mountain peaks some 60 miles north of Monza. On the driver front there was one change and one return: the Ensign team were giving the Formula Two champion Marc Surer, from Switzerland. a try in MN09 in place of Patrick Gaillard. There were works Alfa Romeos entered and the second one was driven by Vittorio Brambilla, making a most welcome return after exactly one year away. It will be recalled that he was involved in the big accident that killed Ronnie Peterson last year. Poor Brambilla was involved through no fault of his own and was a completely innocent party, suffering severe head injuries, while some of those responsible for the multiple pile-up got away scot-free. Brambilla took a long while to recover from the crash and did not test-drive a racing car until a few weeks ago, but was now fit enough to tackle a complete Grand Prix. Carlo Chiti’s Autodelta department of Alfa Romeo had completed a brand new car with the latest V12-cylinder engine, which Bruno Giacomelli was to drive, so they entered Brambilla with the earlier car with the flat-12 engine.

Race Results


Circuit - Monza




Monza, Lombardy


Permanent road course


3.6039 (Miles)


Damon Hill (Williams FW15C-Renault), 1m23.575, 155.239 mph, F1, 1993