The Monaco Grand Prix has been organised since 1929 by the Automobile Club de Monaco. The circuit is located on the small territory of the Principality of Monaco, which extends over a narrow coastal strip that sometimes rises almost vertically. This circuit, which is on the Formula 1 World Championship calendar, is considered the slowest and toughest.
With a top speed exceeding 300 km/h, the slightest mistake can be fatal. Faced with these difficulties, many drivers have dreamed of winning the Grand Prix, whose list of achievements includes such great names as Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Fangio and Graham Hill.
Attending the Monaco Grand Prix of Formula 1 is an unforgettable experience. The first days give rise to free practice or qualifying sessions. The last day is the day of the race itself and the Grand Prix in 78 laps.
It was in 1929, on April 14 at 1:30 pm, under the Honorary Presidency of H.S.H. Prince Louis II (the grandfather of the current Prince H.S.H. Prince Albert) that the Monaco Grand Prix was born thanks in particular to President Anthony Noghes who, through his will and work, was able to organise an event of this magnitude in the smallest European state (after the Vatican). His idea, supported by Prince Louis II, was also made possible thanks to the support of the famous Monegasque pilot, Louis Chiron.
On this date, 16 competitors are participating in a race on a 100-lap circuit. That year, the average hourly speed was 80,194 km/h.
It was the second circuit in history to be covered by Formula 1 in 1950 (May 21), after Silverstone, but it had already hosted races since 1929. It remains one of the last “men’s circuits” where the pilot’s talent still makes the difference (Ayrton Senna won it 6 times, including 5 times in a row between 1989 and 1993).
The route, which has remained almost identical since 1950, is 3,340 km long. After crossing the line, we find ourselves facing the first bend at Sainte Dévote, where there were many clashes at the start. The track goes up to the very tight left-right of the Casino and, from there, goes down to the right turn of the Mirabeau. It then continues to the Fairmont curve. Slowest hairpin turn in the championship located at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo Hotel. The Doorkeeper section leads to the sea, where the track takes a tunnel to access the chicane near the port. Then, the left turn of the Tobacco Office, the section of the Swimming Pool, then the terrible right turn at the Rascasse, followed by the Anthony Noghes turn, then finally the pit line.
Important changes of the last few decades
Some important changes have been made to the initial circuit. We will mention the main ones:
1973: The road to the swimming pool allowed the installation of the stands on the Quai.
1976: Two new chicanes were set up respectively in Ste Dévote and at the exit of the hairpin turn of “la Rascasse”.
1986: Enlargement of the United States Quay promotes the creation of a new chicane.
1997: The first “S” of the pool was redesigned and named the “Louis Chiron” turn.
2003: The first phase of arrangement of the circuit affected only the southern part of the port. 5000 square meters of land have been reclaimed from the sea. The circuit between the second “S” of the pool and La Rascasse has been moved 10 metres from its original location and completely redesigned. Installation of a chicane at the exit of the second bend of the pool.
2004: The works concern the doubling of the width of the Esplanade hosting the stand area at Boulevard Albert 1er, by the creation of a building on the ancient track between the pool and La Rascasse. New stands representing a surface area of 250 square meters will be made available to each team.
Today, the Monaco Grand Prix is known internationally even by those who are less passionate about motor sport and after various modifications to the original route (Sainte-Dévote bend, the tour of the restaurant “La Rascasse”), the circuit measures 3,367 Km. Due to its length, the Grand Prix is limited to 78 rpm and the average speed is 147.312 km/h.
The particularity of the circuit is that it is not a permanent one and that it requires quality facilities to accommodate the runners. Indeed, single-seaters have difficulty adapting to contact with the rails delimiting this difficult circuit, installed for the event in the heart of the city.
Qualifying is always decisive as overtaking in the race is almost impossible. While the number of dropouts remains high, good conduct can ensure a place in the points.It is possible to rent a seat on board of a comfortable boat, moored on the edge of the famous Monaco Grand Prix circuit, ideally positioned, with a privileged view encompassing from the exit of the tunnel of the “Fairmont Resort Hotel”, the famous Chicane, the straight line of the United States quay, the so-called “Bureau de Tabac” bend, and the portion of the circuit along the immense Tribune K to the “Piscine”.
At the same time, the visibility on a giant video screen, installed by the Automobile Club de Monaco overlooking the United States quay, allows you to view the entire circuit and follow, live, the important moments of the race as if you were at home!
Monaco organises many sporting competitions, such as the famous tennis open, which is highly prized by the world’s greatest players, but the Grand Prix remains the ultimate competition in terms of impact.