Guide to use and enjoy the urban circuit of Monaco with your car!


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In the early years of the twentieth century, when car racing was a matter of gentleman drivers, that is, the only ones that could buy a car, most of the circuits were urban.

The streets of Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Havana, Buenos Aires, Le Mans or Monza were the track where those intrepid pilots played their lives every Sunday.

Only one of the historic urban circuits of Formula 1 survives in active, that of Monaco (Monte Carlo). The cars roar through the narrow streets of the center of the principality, where the rest of the year you can get stuck to the Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Bentley or Maserati of the wealthy residents of this tiny country.

Gran Premio de Mónaco

Stirling Moss driving the Maserati 250F in 1956 © Getty Images

The origin of this Grand Prix dates back to 1929 and was an initiative of the Automobile Club of Monaco and its general commissioner, Anthony Noghés.

The first attempt was rejected by what is now known as the International Automobile Federation (FIA) because they presented a race that left the small territory, so they set up a circuit literally taking advantage of the streets of the only city in the country, Monaco.

What then could have some grace because the first winner, a Bugatti, ran an average speed of 80 km / h, today is a unique show where glamor, luxury and the Cote d'Azur are mixed with speed and the smell of brakes and burnt rubber.

Traditionally the F1 Monaco Grand Prix was celebrated on Ascension Day, in May, but lately for logistical and calendar reasons it runs on a date close to that celebration. This year will be from 24, 26 and 27.

Monaco Senna

The missing Ayrton Senna driving in the urban circuit of Monaco © Getty Images


This Grand Prix is ​​full of peculiarities, for example, free practice is done on Thursday, instead of Friday and the cart has only 270 km, instead of the usual 300.

And the organizers do not pay a fee for being part of the World Championship, in theory for its historical character (Monaco has continuously hosted the F1 since 1955), but possibly also the good fiscal conditions offered by the Principality to many of the protagonists of the Circus of F1

It was also where for the first time, in 1933, the order of the starting grid was established by the times of the classification. That until then was done by lottery. It has the slowest curve of the championship, it is managed at 50 km / h, which is called the Loews curve, although it is in front of the Faimont hotel.

This is the last turn before entering the tunnel above the hotel. And perhaps the highlight is that overtaking is almost impossible.

Every year even the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique is celebrated a few days before , this year it will be from May 11 to 13. A test involving historical vehicles in different categories and that serves to prove that everything is perfect for F1.

Curva Mónaco

The Loews curve is the slowest in the championship and is managed at 50 km / h © Getty Images


Monaco undergoes a radical transformation for its Grand Prix. The streets are flanked with fences and guardrails, the roads that flow into the circuit are cut, bleachers are mounted and all prices go up to the stratosphere.

The starting line, the finish line and the main straight line are on the Boulevar Albert I, in front of the old port, or Port Hercule, in which the most luxurious yachts in the world are moored on the race days because from them you can see part of the tour

In that boulevard the boxes and the podium are also placed, but since it is a narrow track and there is no more space than to place everything in line, the winner has to give a cart to get to collect their prize.

Yates Mónaco

Yattes vs. Grand Prix of the Monaco Grand Prix © Getty Images

If we want to reproduce the course of the race we must make a curve above Santa Devota, a small chapel under a rock that welcomes the patron saint of the Principality. In this curve some years have been spectacular accidents.

Very close to here, on the Rue Grimaldi is the official store of the Automobile Club of Monaco, an essential visit for car lovers and at number 15 of the same rue, the Boutique Formule 1, specializing in car miniatures.

Casino de Mónaco

The Monaco Casino, where the Massenet curve is located © Getty Images


The circuit then ascends the Avenue d'Ostende and the Avenue de Monte Carlo towards the Casino square, where you have to draw the Massenet curve that is done by giving gas thoroughly and with the cars touching the guardrails.

Here are the shops of the most luxurious brands, in the Casino Gardens, in front of a balcony overlooking the sea. After a couple of turns to line the square, we face the curve of Fairmont on the rise, a difficult fork to trace.

A couple more curves and we enter the tunnel that with a gentle descent takes us to the port. The Quai des Etats Unis borders the sea and the mooring area, dodging the municipal pool, which has stolen its space from the sea and turns sharply to the right to face the main straight again.

F1 drivers do this route 78 times and reach a top speed of up to 295 km / h.

Maserati Mónaco

René Dreyfus at the wheel of his Maserati © Maserati

Raises, descents, sharp turns and spectacular views mark the way for those who are not pressured by speed. Throughout the route you can see on the asphalt the holes to plant the posts of the fences that limit what becomes a track on race days.

Outside the racing season, in January it is also held at Rallye de Monte-Carlo, during which the hotel offer is at more reasonable prices.

In Monaco there are many hotels for all tastes, but two good recommendations can be the Columbus Monte-Carlo, which in 2001 opened the F1 driver David Coulthard and has stunning views, or the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel, also opposite from the sea and with a huge pool with white sand bottom because in this small country there are no beaches either.


Michael Schumacher at the Formula 1 car steering wheel © Getty Images


Yo Mato, from the multifaceted Italian author Giorgio Faletti, starts with some murders in the F1 Grand Prix in Monte Carlo and develops with a thrilling investigation in Monaco and its surroundings.

Trip to the center of Formula 1, by Carlos Miquel, is a collection of anecdotes for the passionate and the curious and in Grand Prix El Corredor, by Hans Ruesch, who was a pilot from the 30s to the 50s of the 20th century, a pilot tells his life at the time when all F1 was competing in urban circuits.


You can go all year round (except race days) © Getty Images

Montecarlo alt=

The sea and the asphalt await you in Monte Carlo! © Ferrari