This is the big one, the grand-daddy of all Grands Prix. The very first Monaco GP was held in 1929 and 2009 marks the 67th edition of this classic race.
Despite being commonly referred to as Monte Carlo, that is only one small area at the top of the hill with the Casino, and the Hotel and Cafe de Paris. The harbour area is La Condamine.
There have been so many events at this race over the years it is impossible to provide a good enough summary here, needless to say the place is known for odd results! You need a lot of talent and fair amount of luck to win at Monaco because it has a knack of biting you.
Notable highlights include:
– Mansell getting a suspected puncture, pitting for new tyres and then hounding Senna all the way to the flag.
– Gilles Villeneuve winning in a turbo Ferrari when turbos were not meant to be suited to the place against the Cosworths.
– Panis winning in 1996 after not stopping when everyone else made one stop or more in changeable conditions.
– The final two laps of 1982:
The opening part of the classic movie Grand Prix:
There are an absolute ton of videos on YouTube, just run a search for Monaco Grand Prix!
The 2.1 mile street circuit is known for being a test of both driver and machine, and while it is the shortest circuit of the year it is also the longest at 78 laps and usually runs quite close to the 2-hour time limit.
The proximity of the barriers makes for a unique challenge in GP racing with the smallest of errors causing race-ending accidents. There are only a few run-off areas, and some of these are relatively recent innovations.
In terms of circuit layout the actual footprint of the track has hardly changed through the entire history of the event, yet there have been notable changes to the surroundings. The addition of the swimming pool section and the Rascasse to replace the hairpin, the new tower blocks appearing every few years along the track (this year check out the new one at the chicane where there used to be a cliff face), the much later and very recent addition of the new pit buildings.
The track demands precision guidance of the car, yet the fastest way around is to hustle it as it is heavily dependant on mechanical grip from the tyres rather than aero grip.
Onboard lap, Nico Rosberg 2008:
It has got to be a battle between Brawn, Red Bull and Ferrari, hasn’t it? I don’t see anyone else getting involved and I only include Ferrari because Massa ran well in Spain and Kimi qualified well here today.
Look also for Renault to score decent points and Force India to surprise some, though perhaps only because BMW and Toyota are having such a hard time this weekend.
What to Watch For
– The fastest blue flagger in all of racing. He’s on the hill after Ste Devote! Only the exit of the final turn at Long Beach comes close.
– Lots and lots of rubber marbles from the tyres after about 1/3rd distance. Its this as much as the walls that make passing hard here.
– Drivers making silly errors causing lengthy Safety Car periods.
R: BBC One will air the Race live at 12:10pm with the race to kick off at 1pm.
R: SPEED will air the Race live at 7:30am ET
Before the race festivities be sure to go to Sidepodcast.com Live Comments at 11am and await the live pre-race Parade Lap show, a lovely relaxed way to get into the GP. This is a live discussion which will end just as the BBC’s coverage begins, perfect!
Enjoy the race, my notes will hopefully be up in the gap between Monaco and Indy! Then again, you know me, maybe they won’t be.