2015 Italian Grand Prix Preview


Formula 1 rolls into Italy this weekend for the final European round of the season at the famed Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the outskirts of Milan.

The days of racing around the famous banking may be long gone, but Monza still remains one of the most fearsome and unique challenges on the F1 calendar thanks to its high-speed straights and challenge corners such as Parabolica and the two Lesmos.

In spite of its history, the future of the Italian Grand Prix has come into question over the past year. The sport’s pursuit of new markets has left many of its traditional homes playing catch up, leaving Monza in the lurch.

Nevertheless, a booming crowd will make the visit to the track this weekend, with the majority set to sport the scarlet red of Ferrari. At its home grand prix, the team’s loyal Tifosi fan club will create an atmosphere rivalled by few other races.

On-track, Lewis Hamilton will be chasing his third victory at Monza this weekend. Following his dominant display in the Belgian Grand Prix, the Briton remains the man to beat, now enjoying a 28-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship with eight races to go.

Here is our full preview of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

2015 Italian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Hamilton looks to widen the gulf to Rosberg

How quickly things change in F1. With five laps to go in Hungary, Nico Rosberg was on the cusp of taking the lead of the drivers’ championship for the first time in 2015. Just 48 racing laps later though, he’s 28 points down on Hamilton at the top in what is becoming an increasingly ominous title fight.

Cast your mind back to last year. Monza was where Rosberg cracked not once, but twice, under pressure. It was the first of six wins in the final seven races of the year for Hamilton as he turned the screw in the title battle. This year, Rosberg has an even bigger mountain to climb. Another win for Hamilton on Sunday could make it game over.

Vettel arrives at Monza a Ferrari man for the first time

Seven years on from his shock maiden grand prix victory at Monza, Sebastian Vettel will arrive at the track this weekend as a Ferrari driver for the first time. Fernando Alonso may have been the standard-bearer in recent years, but now, all eyes will be on Vettel as Ferrari’s resurgence in 2015 continues.

It will be something of an emotional weekend for Vettel, who had always dreamed of racing for Ferrari. Alonso’s first Monza race for Ferrari ended in victory, setting the benchmark high for any predecessors. Vettel may struggle to beat the Mercedes drivers this weekend, but will certainly be keen to bounce back from his tire blowout at Spa in the best-possible fashion.

Attention on Pirelli and its tires

The fall-out from said tire blowout is only set to continue this weekend at Monza. In the aftermath of the race, Vettel launched into an irate tirade against Pirelli, whilst the tire supplier pointed the finger back at Ferrari, claiming its strategy was what caused the failure.

The FIA has issued a statement confirming that the wear on Vettel’s tires did make his tires more susceptible to cuts at Spa, and said that it was satisfied with Pirelli’s investigation. Nevertheless, the focus will be on the tires this weekend in case of a repeat.

Business as usual for Lotus

The financial mire that is currently engulfing Lotus has been well documented in recent weeks, and although a rescue package from Renault does appear to be on its way, until a deal is struck, uncertainty will remain.

Romain Grosjean’s third place finish at Spa gave the team plenty to smile about, though. The Frenchman believes that the E23 Hybrid car will be better-suited to Monza than it was to Spa, suggesting that another good result could be on the cards. Even at this dark time, the Enstone spirit is continuing to shine through.

Grid penalties galore, again

In a flurry of déjà vu, we look set to have another weekend beset by grid penalties. Toro Rosso has already confirmed that Carlos Sainz Jr. will have to take a grip drop due to a change on his power unit, whilst Red Bull and – of course – McLaren are also likely to follow suit.

This should open up a few opportunities for the drivers in the midfield like it did at Spa. With the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat dropping further back, keep an eye out for Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams duo to pick up the pieces and score some good points.

2015 Italian Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Laps: 53
Corners: 11
Lap Record: Rubens Barrichello 1:21.046 (Ferrari, 2004)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:24.109
2014 Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:28.004
DRS Zone: Main Straight (T11 to T1); T7 to T8

2015 Italian Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 4am ET 9/4
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 8am ET 9/4
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 5am ET 9/5
Qualifying: NBCSN 8am ET 9/5
Race: NBCSN 7:30am ET 9/6

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):

Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans