There are many famous circuits on the current Formula 1 calendar but if there is one that can justifiably claim to be the jewel in the crown, it is the Monaco Grand Prix. But what makes it special and why is it one of the ultimate sports travel tours for fans?
History of the event
The Monaco race is older than the current Championship itself and was first held back in 1929 when Antony Noghes was instructed by Prince Louis II to organise it under the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM). The first race was won by William Grover-Williams in a Bugatti Type 35B with other notable car manufacturers present including Mercedes. Also in the race, under a pseudonym was Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
The race quickly grew in prestige and importance with the 1933 race already ranked alongside those in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. World War II stopped the race from 1938 until 1945 but it became again under the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). It became part of the new Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in 1950 with the future five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio winning the first race.
Monaco is notable because it is a street circuit, rather than a purpose-built race course like many of the locations that the Formula 1 championship visits. This also makes it a little trickier as there are many tight corners, tunnels and other interesting features. There have even been two occasions when drivers have crashed and ended up in the harbour waters – and why the race is still considered the ultimate test of driving skills.
One of the most notable corners is the Grand Hotel Hairpin where the circuit quickly descends before arriving at a turn that is almost 180 degrees, the tightest corner on any track in the F1 calendar. Cars take it at their lowest speed, just 44kph which takes just as much skill as going really fast!
There are also some great viewing spots around the circuit where people can see the cars. Temporary grandstands are erected around the harbour area and on one side, viewers can see the racing and on the other, they can see the magnificent yachts in the harbour! There are many Monaco Grand Prix packages available that allow you to get the seats you desire for the best view.
While offering the biggest challenge for drivers for decades, there are some who have mastered it to a new level. The record for the most wins around Monaco is still held by Ayrton Senna who won six times between 1987 and 1993. He broke the record of five wins by Graham Hill, a record that was equalled by Michael Schumacher between 1994 and 2001.
The Monaco Grand Prix is both a perfect place to visit to experience an F1 race at its best and an amazing place to visit for a vacation. Combining the two makes for an unforgettable experience that will be with you forever.