Why Monaco is still the most iconic race in Formula One
It’s the jewel in Formula One’s crown, and after nearly a century racing around its famous streets, Monaco is as iconic today as it ever was.
The first Monaco Grand Prix was held in 1929 and the venue has been a fixture on the Formula One World Championship calendar almost every year since 1950.
Situated along France’s classy rivieira, the principality street course is as unique and famous as it is precarious and unforgiving.
No Grand Prix combines the glamour and atmosphere with a racing challenge quite like Monaco.
The sight of cars screaming their way just millimetres from the barriers, past the famous Monte-Carlo Casino, zipping along the harbour front past multi-million pound yachts is unlike any other in sport.
Celebrities from all around the world jet in on race weekend. It’s the place to be seen.
And with the Formula One calendar expanding in recent years to include underwhelming circuits in places like India and South Korea, Monaco’s unique nature and appeal has only grown.
The Singapore Grand Prix has been a welcome addition, but it lacks the history and the elegance of its European counterpart.
Besides the glitz, the fashion and the lifestyle, Monaco is also true test of driving skill, and only the best win this race.
Ayrton Senna is the most successful driver. The great Brazilian won the event six times, including five on the spin from 1989 to 1993. Some of his performances along the Monaco streets are the stuff of legend.
Back in the 1960s, Graham Hill was known as Mr Monaco for his five victories during the decade.
There have been a few surprise results too. Riccardo Patrese won the race in 1982 after numerous leaders crashed or ran out of fuel in a chaotic few laps.
And Olivier Panis won in 1996 in a race which saw just three cars running at the end.
The Monaco Grand Prix really does have it all. But if someone pitched the idea of it today, they would probably be laughed out of the room.
In the modern world Monaco is completely impractical. But that’s precisely what makes it the most iconic race of them all.
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