Exceptionally well known, this spectacular "city
race", which takes place in a highly-charged atmosphere, is one of the
most testing stages of the Drivers’ World Championship.
Thousands of gear-changes in a labyrinth of track, the slowest bend in the
World Championship, the fastest breakdown service in the world: the Monaco Grand
Prix will give you plenty of thrills.
A Bit of History
The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the oldest and most prestigious motor races.
It is contested in the Principality of Monaco, on an urban circuit designed in
1929 by Antony Noghes, son of the President of the Automobile Club of Monaco, and
under the auspices of Prince Louis II of Monaco. This creation met the
challenge of organising a race on the cramped territory of Monaco (around 1.5
km2 at that time), a condition required by the International Sporting Commission
so that the Automobile Club of Monaco was internationally recognised.
Antony Noghes, as the General Commissioner, was
charged with going to Paris to present the candidacy of the Automobile Club of
Monaco. Unfortunately he returned forlorn, the gentlemen of the AIACR having
noted that, while the Club organised sporting events, they did not actually
take place on Monegasque territory. The 35-year-old Antony Noghes, whose
self-esteem had been wounded, had just, with all his youthful energy, launched
himself into a fantastic challenge: to create a motor sports event on national territory,
that is, in the city.
But wasn’t the idea of a high-speed circuit in the city unattainable?
Antony Noghes weighed the pros and cons for
two years. He finally decided to entrust his project to the only people from
whom he knew he would get a relevant and objective opinion: Louis
Chiron for the sporting side of things and Jacques Taffe for the
Then above all he had to convince the Société des
Bains de Mer to get involved and secure the funding for this competition. Its
administrator, Mr René LEON realised the benefits it could bring and released
the require funds. No country in the world would have such a circuit!
Six months later, on 14 April, 1929, Prince
Pierre inaugurated, with a lap of honour carried out in a Torpedo
Voisin driven by Charles Faroux, the course director, the
circuit of the 1st Grand Prix of Monaco. In Monaco, 16 cars on the
starting grid drawn by … lots: 8 Bugattis, 3 Alfa Romeos, 2 Maseratis, 1
Licorne, 1 Mercedes SSK. The Englishman, “Williams” who arrived too late to
take part in the official trial sessions, took the chance of a wildcat training
session at dawn on Saturday, putting the whole of Monaco in a flutter. “Williams”
won the Grand Prix in a green Bugatti 35 B in 3 hours, 56 minutes and 11 seconds,
having completed 100 laps at an average speed of 80.194 km/h.
Up to the war, the race’s popularity took off and confirmed its success year
on year. For ten years, the race did not take place, during the world war and
the years immediately thereafter. In 1948 Monaco re-established its Grand Prix which
resonated in the 50s to the names of Fangio and Maurice Trintignant…
On 15 April 1958, T.S.H. The Reigning Prince and
Princess Grace of Monaco deigned to honour the inauguration of the new
headquarters with their presence and signed the visitor’s book. It was at number
23, Boulevard Albert 1er, the club’s current headquarters.
In the 60s and 70s, Jacky Stewart and Jean-Pierre
Beltoise took up the baton, then Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Ricardo Patrese in
the 80s while the 90s saw the advent of the uninterrupted reign of Schumacher.
Today, the Monaco Grand Prix still cultivates its
difference, like in 1928: its city circuit still continues to delight the 100,000
TV viewers across the world. The Monaco circuit snakes around
the Port Hercule, the streets of Monte-Carlo and La Condamine, in
a series of tight bends surrounded by protective rails: there is no
clearance between the track and the rails, unlike on other circuits, which
requires the presence of cranes in several places to clear damaged cars as
quickly as possible.
Still today, the Automobile Club of Monaco’s trials
are organised with the utmost respect for tradition and innovation, with still
that touch of boldness which characterised its creators and the pioneers of the
last few centuries… The drivers compete in their excellence to negotiate
this extremely technical course. The greatest names in motor racing distinguished
themselves here, from Fangio in the 1950s up to Schumacher in
the 1990s. Ayrton Senna won this legendary race six times and became part
of the legend of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Automobile Club de Monaco: Awards F1