The Formula One race that takes place on the streets of the Principality of Monaco, is known as the Monaco Grand Prix, or Grand Prix de Monaco. It has long been one of the most important and prestigious racing events on the Formula One calendar, taking place every year since it’s inception in 1929. It has been ranked with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. This magnificent Grand Prix, has always been associated with glamor, fame and riches, and people from all over the world gather in Monaco to watch the race.
The very first Formula One Monaco Grand Prix was organized by Antony Noghes, with the year 1929 predating any other organized World Championship. The organization of the race, was overseen by Prince Louis II, with the assistance of the A.C.M (Automobile Club de Monaco). William Grover-Williams (also known as Williams), won the first event, behind the wheel of a Bugatti. His car was painted green, and would become Britain’s color, referred to as ‘racing green’. Grover-Williams, however, is not related to the later Williams teams, in any way. The Grand Prix was associated with the pre-Second World War European Championships, and it also included the very first Formula One World Championship that took place in 1950. It remained associated with the European Championship during the years 1936 to 1939. As part of the emergency protocol, divers are on hand to rescue any drivers that may have the misfortune of landing in the harbor.
Ayrton Senna, from Brazil, had six Grand Prix victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, of which five were consecutive from the year 1989 to 1993. He was given the title of “Master of Monaco”, but his predecessor, Graham Hill, was known as the “King of Monaco”.
Every year, the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, becomes the jewel of the Grand Prix season. The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix consists of 78 laps, that covers a total of 260.25 kilometers. It takes six weeks to construct the circuit, and it has many tight corners, various elevation changes and is, in general, a very narrow course. Nelson Piquet once said, that even though the course is like trying to ride a bicycle in your living room, one win at the Monaco Grand Prix, is equivalent to winning two races on any other circuit.
Circuit de Monaco, opened in 1929, is an outstanding Formula One street circuit. Located in Monte Carlo, the F1 Circuit of Monaco is considered by many to be the grandest in the sport. Well known for its challenging twists, Monaco’s F1 circuit is popular with drivers and spectators alike. Held annually in the month of May, the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix incorporated some of the streets of Monte Carlo and of La Condamine, and the atmosphere among spectators is phenomenal – it is certainly the dream of many F1 fans to attend a race at Circuit de Monaco.
Anthony Noghes of Manegasque car club originally came up with the idea of turning the streets of Monaco into a Formula One circuit. The first race on Monte Carlo’s circuit was held in 1929. William Grover-Williams, racing for Bugatti, gained victory at the inaugural race.
The 2.092 mile or 3.367 km Monaco circuit is known for its tight turns, thus driver skill and ability is of greater importance than the power of the car. Monte Carlo’s roadways are narrow and provide little opportunity for overtaking. A renowned section of the circuit is the tunnel where F1 drivers have to deal with the quick succession of light changes. Certain adjustments have been made to the Monte Carlo F1 track making more space for pit stops. Of course as the Circuit de Monaco is held in the streets it needs to be constructed each year, a process which takes approximately 6 weeks.
Let’s take a look at what the drivers have to deal with when racing at Monte Carlo. The lap begins with a brief drive up to the almost 90 degree St. Devote corner. This is followed by an uphill leading to the Massenet left-hand long turn. Driving through Casino Square the drivers come to the challenging Mirabeau corner and quickly into the Grand Hotel hairpin. Next is the Portier double right-hander which takes the F1 drivers to the tunnel. Just out of the tunnel is a tough left-right chicane. A short straight heads to the Tabac corner. Drivers then accelerate on to the left-right-right-left spot called Piscine. Drivers have a short straight to prepare themselves for a quick left and immediate La Rascasse 180 degree turn. An adversely-cambered straight guides drivers to the Virage Antony Noghes corner, the last of the lap. Drivers make their way down the straight to cross the start-finish line for the next lap.
Although considered by many as a dangerous circuit, Circuit de Monaco is set to remain an important host of Formula One, providing drivers and spectators with breathtaking action.
The Monte Carlo Rally has been called the Granddaddy of Motor Rallying, and for good reason: it was one of, if not THE, first motor rally. First run in 1911, the Monte Carlo Rally was for a time the only motor sports race of its kind but through its enduring popularity has spawned the sport of motor rallying that spans the globe today.
The relationship was formalized in 1973 when the Monte Carlo Rally was made the inaugural race of the FIA World Rally Championship season. The original reason for the race was not strictly for competition, but for testing the cars of the day under a wide variety of road conditions.
The legendary Monte Carlo Rally circuit provides drivers with one challenge after another as their reflexes are continually being tested. Run in January to take advantage of the weather, some portions of the course are especially icy. Uniquely among professional racing, spectators are allowed to throw snow onto the course, leading on more than one occasion to drivers spinning out and damaging their vehicles.
Through the first 30 years of the rally, cars that even in their day were relatively unknown won races. Makes like Berliet, Metallurgique, and Autocarrier competed with enduring racing names like Lancia, Citroen and Bugatti. Strange as it may seem, Studebaker and Buick each finished third in the 1930 and 1938 races respectively. Even into the 1960s, cars such as the Ford Falcon and the Citroen ID were very competitive.
The Saab 96 won the 1962 and 1963 editions of the Monte Carlo Rally, while the Mini Cooper S (similar to the tiny boxy cars featured in the 1969 film “The Italian Job”) won in 1964, 1965 and 1967.
These days, cars claiming the checkered flag include the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, Subaru Impreza, Citroën Xsara and the 2006 winner, the Ford Focus RS WRC driven by the team of Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen.