The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the greatest and most glamorous sporting events in the world and has it all from racing, speed, passion, noise, celebrities and super yachts taking place against a spectacular mountainous backdrop with the principality stretching above the circuit and harbour.
When was the first race held?
The first race took place in 1929, when a cigarette manufacturer Anthony Noghes, decided to organise a race for all his friends from the Automobile Club de Monaco. The race was added to the calendar of the first Formula 1 World Championships in 1950 and has been held ever since.
The Monaco street track is the most iconic set up on the Formula One circuit. The track takes drivers sweeping past the Hotel De Paris, the casino, speeding through the tunnel and screeching around the town on the narrow winding streets. The track follows through towards the harbour next to the spectacular Mediterranean Ocean. Former driver Nelson Piquet, once described driving around Monaco, “like riding a bicycle around your living room.”
The track has held some memorable moments:
- In 1982, there were three laps to go and four leaders ended up in trouble. Alain Prost crashes, Riccardo Patrese spins, and the other two leaders have a gearbox breakdown and run out of fuel leaving Paltrese to somehow recover and take the win
- Ayrton Senna races to pole position in what is regarded as the perfect lap in 1988. On race day Senna is way ahead of the field but somehow losses control crashing and Alain Prost becomes an unexpected winner
- In 1996 on a race day that has terrible slippery conditions, Olivier Panis becomes an unlikely champion as all the drivers ahead of him crash out enabling him to win his only Grand Prix
- Ayrton Senna is the most successful driver at the Monaco Grand Prix having won 6 races, whilst after him Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill have 5 titles each
- The oldest Formula one driver was Louis Chiron a Monagasque resident who raced in the Monaco Grand Prix at the age of 55 in 1955
- Alberto Ascari and Paul Hawkins are the only drivers that have crashed into the ocean at the Monaco track
- The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world’s three most prestigious races called the Triple Crown of Motorsport alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 hours of Le Mans
There is an abundance of sights to see in Monaco all situated close together within the small principality, simply put Grand Prix winner David Coulthard said, “There are too many things to do in Monaco to fit them into 24 hours.”
The pick of the sights include visiting the Opera de Monte Carlo, designed by Charles Garnier who was the architect of the Paris Opera House, the Palais du Prince which is home to the oldest monarchy in the world, the Grimaldi Family, the Jardin Exotique a garden with a large selection of exotic vegetation located on a steep cliff with great panoramic views of the Mediterranean Ocean and Cathedral of Monaco.The roman byzantine-style cathedral which is the burial site of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
- Musee Oceanographique, this museum has renowned exhibits of Marine biology and Oceanography and also includes an aquarium with rare species of fish.
- Nouveau Musee National de Monaco, hosts collections of contemporary with avant-garde paintings, drawing and photography.
- Collection de Voitures Anciennes, is the Prince of Monaco’s personal collection of over a 100 vintage cars.
Going to watch the Monaco Grand Prix is a once in a lifetime opportunity and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Nowhere else in the world will you find formula one cars racing around the narrow streets of one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.0