Monaco Grand Prix: Essential Guide

The circuit that Formula 1 drivers dream about completing one day, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most iconic Formula 1 destinations.

As racing enthusiasts, many fans aspire to one day be a part of the adrenaline-pumping action of the Monaco Grand Prix and the glamorous weekend that comes with it in Monte Carlo.

Many have even nicknamed the Monaco Grand Prix the jewel of Formula 1. The spectacular event kicks off the start to the summer while bringing in over 100,000 visitors to Monte Carlo. 

So what is the Monaco Grand Prix?

The circuit around Monaco is 3.337 kilometers with a grand total of 19 bends. Drivers will lap the circuit 78 times making the entire race a total of 260.286 kilometers.

The Monaco Grand Prix is not only the shortest Formula 1 circuit, but with all of the bends it’s also driven the slowest. Racers speed averages at about 150 kilometers per hour during the race with one bend that drivers slow all the way down to 30 kilometers per hour for.

The circuit has been called “tight and twisty” and was even compared by Nelson Piquet to “riding a bike around your living room”. Despite its small size, the Monaco Grand Prix remains one of the most anticipated events of the year. 

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Monaco Grand Prix Circuit

The Monaco Grand Prix is the most prestigious event in the French Riviera and the most glamorous Formula 1 race.

With an incredibly unique circuit looping around the city and past the marina, many people opt to watch the drivers zoom by from the comfort of their private multi million dollar yachts.

Monaco is known for being the playground for the rich and famous, and the Monaco Grand Prix is the event of the year for some of the wealthiest people in the world. 

Making it that much more esteemed, the Monaco Grand Prix is also part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport. This is an unofficial title for drivers who have accomplished the feat of winning The Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix.

This is such a difficult accomplishment that only one racer, Graham Hill, holds this achievement. Hill has also been deemed the “King of Monaco” or “Mr. Monaco” after winning the Grand Prix five times in the 1960s. 

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Monaco Grand Prix History Lesson

The Monaco Grand Prix has become one of the most reputable races in Formula 1 and it has a long history that comes with its reputation. In 1911, Alexandre Noghes, a cigarette manufacturer who was quite wealthy and a friend to the Royal Family organized a Monaco Rally.

Drivers came from all of Europe, including Paris, Brussels, and Berlin to race. Cars were still new and seen as toys for the wealthy, and the average speed of the first Monaco Rally was only 10 kilometers per hour.  

Following in his footsteps in 1929,  Noghes’ son Anthony came up with the Circuit de Monaco and pitched the first ever race. At the time, Monaco was only about 1.5 kilometers squared so coming up with a circuit to fit the space was quite a feat. After coming up with the circuit Anthony Noghes had to travel to Paris to present his idea. His pitch was denied and he used his determination to create an automobile event in Monaco.

They put on the first race six months later which was won by William Grover-Williams driving a Bugatti. They continued hosting this race every year until WW2. Eventually, in 1948, they brought their race back and it was officially included in Formula 1 as the Monaco Grand Prix in 1950. They have been using Anthony Noghes’ original circuit with only a few updates ever since.

Monaco Grand Prix’s first official winner as a F1 race was Juan Manuel Fangio with Alfa Romeo. Fangio won the race after noticing that the fans were not paying attention to him but were looking at something on the track ahead he could not see. Using his instincts he slowed down just in time to dodge a multi car pileup that had been caused by a wave splashing onto the track.  

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Monaco Grand Prix Winners

The 2022 champion of the Monaco Grand Prix was Mexico’s Sergio Pérez with Redbull. Perez’s final time was 1:56:30.265, just barely beating Carlos Sainz by 1.1 second and Verstappen by 1.4 seconds.

This may have been a tough loss for Verstappen as this Dutch driver won the race the year before at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix.

The 2020 Grand Prix was canceled due to COVID-19, making it the first year the race did not take place since 1954. With the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix just around the corner, only time will tell who the next victorious driver will be!

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

Days away, the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix is taking place on Sunday, May 28th, 2023.

The Formula 1 festivities start on May 25th with 3 practice sessions and a F1 Driver and Media Activity taking place. Friday the 26th the real fun begins with a packed schedule full of Formula 1 events. Qualifying sessions will take place followed by various events such as an F1 car presentation, press conferences, and more practice sessions. Saturday the 27th consists of a similar schedule to Friday but with a team pit stop practice and a sprint race.

Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for on Sunday, the grand event, the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix. Starting the day off with some practice, press conferences, a parade, and an honor lap by the Prince and Princess of Monaco, the exhilarating 78 laps will begin.

Tickets are available on Formula 1’s official website with Thursdays tickets costing as low as 40 euros to Sunday’s tickets as much as 3695 euros, and 3 day passes going for 13678,04 euros.

Currently there are less than 3% of tickets still available and they are going fast. You can also purchase tickets from various 3rd party sellers but always be careful and check for legitimacy when not purchasing directly from Formula 1.

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With High Risk comes High Reward

With the glitz and the glamor, The Monaco Grand Prix is estimated to be one of the most expensive races in Formula 1.

There is a large importance placed on luxury in Formula 1 and Monte Carlo brings this being one of the wealthiest locations in the world. While it is not publicly known exactly how much is spent to put on the Monaco Grand Prix, it brings in an average of almost 100 million euros to the Principality of Monaco.

Monte Carlo is known for its exclusive atmosphere and is a city surrounded by private yachts, designer cars, and some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

Nick Heidfeld, Formula 1 driver, loves the atmosphere of the Monaco Grand Prix and exclaimed “it’s not only the circuit, it is also the whole weekend that is crazy, because it is completely packed with a lot of people with a lot of money.

I think it’s great to watch it, just to see things that you normally don’t see in life. And as a spectator, you also get closer to the cars than anywhere else.

If a spectator could come to only one race, I would suggest Monaco.” With narrow streets, 19 bends, and a number of tight corners, the circuit demands the best out of some of the most accomplished Formula 1 drivers in the world. It is one of the most challenging circuits in Formula 1 racing. The essence of wealth and luxury combined with the atmosphere of watching the drivers perform creates a unique energy that is unlike any other race. 

The Future of the Monaco Grand Prix

With the Monaco Grand Prix just around the corner, there are constant updates and chatter about this event.

With drama in past years there was talk of last year’s Grand Prix being the last race that will ever happen in Monaco. Luckily, Stefano Domenicali, the President and CEO of Formula 1, announced that the Grand Prix is confirmed to happen at least until 2025 after signing a three year deal.

With a lot of amazing racers taking place in this year’s Grand Prix such as Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, and George Russell, it isn’t going to be an easy win for anyone. It is currently predicted that Charles Leclerc with Ferrari will be the first one to cross the finish line and win victory at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix. 

With a complex history and a circuit notorious for tight streets and twisty bends, the Monaco Grand Prix is an event you are not going to want to miss.

From watching the tight turns aboard a private yacht to celebrating on the Panoramic Fan’s Club Terrace, Monte Carlo is a special place offering an exhilarating weekend at the end of May each year. 

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