Hitting the Apex: Circuit de Monaco

It’s Monaco Race Week! Read on to know everything you need to know about the Circuit de Monaco.

Written by Mees Drijgers

May 26, 2023

The Circuit de Monaco, also referred to as “Monte Carlo”, is a street circuit located in the neighbourhoods of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, near the harbour of the Principality of Monaco. Antony Noghès, the president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, was the first person to suggest hosting an actual race in Monaco, a feat many could not imagine with the city layout, and that inaugural race took place in 1929. The track has been on the F1 calendar since 1950, when the first year the Formula 1 World Championship was hosted. 

Aerial view of Monaco (Photo via @mclaren on Instagram)

 

Monaco is one of the most adored tracks on the calendar, not only for fans for its glitz and glamour, but also drivers, many of whom live there. The configuration of the track is one of the most challenging, with former driver Nelson Piquet equating it to “driving a bicycle around your living room”.

Passing the harbour along Circuit de Monaco (Photo via @haasf1team on Instagram)

Since the circuit is a street track, its layout has remained relatively unchanged throughout the years, barring minor upgrades due to city construction and safety requirements. Together with the Indy 500 and Le Mans, winning the Monaco Grand Prix is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, an honour only former F1 driver Graham Hill holds.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Track distance: 3.337 km / 2.074 miles
  • DRS zones: 1
  • Corners: 19
  • Elevation: 41.8 metres
  • Laps: 78
  • Race lap record: 1:12.909 Lewis Hamilton (2021)
  • Direction: clockwise

According to F1.com, Monaco configuration for this year is as follows:

 

PREVIOUS TYRE COMPOUNDS

  • Selected compounds in 2022: C5 (soft) C4 (medium) C3 (hard)
  • Selected compounds in 2021: C5 (soft) C4 (medium) C3 (hard)

The most successful driver at the Circuit de Monaco is Ayrton Senna, who won the Grand Prix 6 times between 1987 and 1993. Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill both have 5 wins at the circuit. McLaren is the most successful constructor with 15 wins, followed by Ferrari with 9 wins and Red Bull with 6 wins. The race has been won from pole 30 times, making qualifying the session to watch.

Circuit de Monaco Tunnel (Photo via @alfaromeostake on Instagram)

Due to the race circuit being very narrow, the drivers have to deal with short margins and tight corners, making overtaking incredibly tricky. The Circuit de Monaco is also the slowest track on the entire calendar, in part due to the famous Grand Hotel Hairpin corner, causing drivers to slow to accommodate the slowest corner on the calendar.

The famous hairpin of Circuit de Monaco (Photo via @scuderiaferrari on Instagram)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

  • 2022 Sergio Perez
  • 2021 Max Verstappen
  • 2019 Lewis Hamilton
  • 2018 Daniel Ricciardo
  • 2017 Sebastian Vettel

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mees was introduced to the world of F1 by one of her friends in July 2020 and hasn’t missed a race weekend since. Her favourite drivers are Alex Albon, Lewis Hamilton, Oscar Piastri, and George Russell; outside of F1, she also actively supports Liam Lawson and Callum Ilott. She specialises in writing about F2, but is looking to specialise in FE and IndyCar as well, after starting to watch both series in 2022. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, she is currently getting MA degrees in Translation and English Literature & Culture. When she’s not watching motorsport, she’s either watching football matches (preferably Real Madrid), reading a book, or watching streams on Twitch.

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