Formula One

 
                  === F1 heads to Monza for the Italian GP ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA  (Sports Network) -  Formula One concludes its European tour
 this  season with Sunday's Italian Grand Prix in Monza. The remaining races on
 the  2012  F1 calendar include: Singapore,  Japan, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi and
 the United States before Brazil wraps it up.
 
 The  Italian GP is also the home race for Ferrari. The team's headquarters are
 located in Maranello, Italy, which is roughly 125 miles southeast of Monza.
 
 Fernando  Alonso from Ferrari  enters the 13th of 20 rounds this season with a
 24-point lead over two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel from Red
 Bull.  Alonso lost 16 points of his lead after being caught up in a horrifying
 wreck during the opening lap in last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.
 
 The  incident  occurred immediately  after the start  when Romain Grosjean and
 Lewis  Hamilton made tire contact. Hamilton hit the rear of Grosjean, who then
 sailed over Alonso. Sergio Perez was also involved the crash.
 
 Luckily,  there were  no injuries,  but Alonso  was a  bit shaken  up when  he
 climbed out of his heavily damaged car.
 
 After  the  Belgian  GP  concluded,  race  stewards  determined  Grosjean  was
 responsible  for causing  the accident  since he  attempted to  jump ahead  of
 Hamilton  at  the start. Grosjean was  handed a one-race ban and fined $62,503
 (50,000 Euros).
 
 "Given  the misfortune  of having had an  accident like this, I am lucky to be
 able  to get  back in the car in  just a few days," Alonso said. "The level of
 safety  of these cars  is very high, and (last Sunday) we saw further proof of
 that.  I am not angry with Grosjean. He definitely didn't do it on purpose. It
 was a case of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
 
 Lotus has scheduled its reserve and test driver, Jerome d'Ambrosio, to replace
 Grosjean in the Italian GP.
 
 "I  understand the circumstances in which the drive has come about, but for me
 it's  a great opportunity and great challenge," D'Ambrosio said. "I first want
 to  thank the  team for having faith in  me and allowing me to step in the car
 for  this  race at Monza. I  will do everything I  can to do the best possible
 job."
 
 Since  1950,  a Ferrari  driver has won  the Italian GP  18 times. Alonso most
 recently did it in his first year with the team in 2010.
 
 "It  is  indeed  a  special  race for  us,"  Ferrari  team  principal  Stefano
 Domenicali  said. "There  is a  special  feeling for  our home  race, but  the
 reality  is that the number of points on offer are the same as at the other 19
 rounds, all around the world. To sum it up, I would like to think we can leave
 Monza  having  scored very special  points at what is  a very special race for
 us."
 
 Vettel won last year's Italian GP. He started on the pole but gave up the lead
 to  Alonso on  the first  lap. Shortly  after, Vettel  came storming  back and
 overtook Alonso for the position.
 
 It  was the second  time that Vettel had won at Monza. In 2008, he became F1's
 youngest race winner and pole sitter at age 21. Vettel drove for Toro Rosso in
 '08 before moving over to Red Bull the following year.
 
 "Monza  is the  home of motorsports and  being there gives me goose bumps," he
 said. "It has the best podium in the world and a win there is an unforgettable
 experience.  If you stand  up there like I did for the first time in 2008, and
 again last year, you are overwhelmed by the fans. It's just amazing."
 
 Vettel has not won a race since the April 22 Bahrain Grand Prix.
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, September 9. Race: Italian Grand Prix.
 Site: Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Track: 3.6-mile (5.793-kilometer), 11-turn
 road course. Start Time: 8 a.m. (et). Laps: 53. Miles: 190.58 (306.720 km).
 2011 Winner: Sebastian Vettel. Television: Speed.
 
 
 09/05 23:09:27 ET

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