The jewel in the F1 crown – a high-speed chase through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo which has changed very little since it first held the race in 1950. It’s an event every F1 driver wants to win and a spectacle every F1 fan should see.
The sense of history is everywhere. To see F1 cars race around the same roads driven by legends of the sport like Fangio, Clark, Senna, is an unforgettable experience. Monaco is part of the very fabric of F1; the sports beating heart – the one constant in a fast-changing world.
The glitz and glamour associated with Monaco and the stunning French Riviera, lend it a reputation as a destination only for the rich and famous. Monaco does have one of the highest average ticket prices and the millionaire lifestyle beckons for those who seek it.
But it is possible to experience Monaco on the cheap. Monaco’s Sector Rocher is one of the cheapest general admission areas in the world with race day tickets selling for just over €100. By staying in nearby Nice and ditching the helicopter for a local train, even F1 fans on a shoestring can get by quite comfortably.
The Grand Prix has its critics. They argue that Monaco isn’t a pure racing track; that it’s an over-rated, overpriced showcase for the teams and their sponsors. Or that it’s a relic of Formula 1’s past, clinging on because of some unrelenting notions of tradition.
Some of these arguments hold true – Monaco is not the place for wheel-to-wheel racing and races can be processional. It does though offer F1 spectators an extraordinary show of driver skill as they fight the wheel, inches from the barriers.
I wouldn’t choose Monaco as a first Grand Prix – it’s not representative of what F1 is all about. But for anyone serious about F1 and in love with the history of the sport, Monaco is an absolute must.
Monaco Grand Prix F1 Spectator Tips
- Staying in Nice or elsewhere outside of Monaco can shave hundreds off of your accommodation bill leaving you with more to spend on the F1 tickets you really want.
- Make a holiday of going to the Grand Prix. Monaco’s high ticket prices seem a lot more value when you take advantage of all the other great activities you can cram in whilst in the region.
- There may be no F1 on Thursday anymore but don’t miss the Porche SuperCup and F2 action which is free to attend.
- Top toilet tip: make use of the facilities in Monte-Carlo train station as other temporary washrooms at the circuit are sparse.
Things to do near Monaco – Attractions away from the circuit
Value is not a word usually associated with the Monaco Grand Prix, but when you consider the wealth of additional attractions in the region it’s easy to have a change of mind. Traveling to Monaco you soon realize your efforts and expenses are rewarded by more than just the Grand Prix. Even solely from a motorsport enthusiast’s perspective the place just keeps on giving.
The Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection
Prince Rainier III really had quite the eye for a good set of wheels. There are over 100 vintage and modern cars in the Monaco Top Cars Collection ranging from 1900 to present, and includes quite a few F1 cars as well as classic sports cars and rare, historic cars of all types and makes. A stand out exhibit is the Bugatti Type 35C race car which won the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. It really is a world class car collection and a must see attraction for any F1 fan visiting Monaco. Just try not to drool over the nicely polished finish.
Historic Grand Prix of Monaco
If the Princes Car Collection seemed like pornography to you, you’ll probably want to catch the live show. There are many historic car races but the Monaco Historic Grand Prix is about as good as it gets.
Usually held a week or two before the F1 Grand Prix, this vintage auto race is actually about 7 or 8 races over the course of 2 days featuring dozens of vintage sports and F1 cars previously raced at Monaco.
Races vary each time the event is held, and so that the competition is more realistic races are organized into categories ranging from big, burly pre-war beasts to sexy, 70’s single-seaters. Classes include for example pre-war grand prix cars, 1950’s sports cars, 1950’s F1 cars, early and late 1960’s F1 cars, early and late 1970’s F1 cars and some events for Formula 2 and Formula 3 cars.
A regular event, the Monaco Historic Grand Prix first took place in 1997 and now occurs on every even numbered year. You can read about my experience at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix or buy tickets at Gootickets.
Monaco F1 Charity Football Match
Maybe you’re like me and don’t really get the point of sports without wheels and engines and the like. If not the World Stars charity football match might just be for you. See your favorite F1 stars don their short shorts and studded boots and kick a ball around for some reason.
This football match, organized by the Prince of Monaco has taken place annually since 1993 to raise money for the Star Team for Children charity. The celebrity match features a team made up of F1 drivers and another comprising other well known names.
Usually held on the Tuesday before the Grand Prix the event can be attended by the public. It takes place in Stade Louis II on Avenue des Castelans and tickets can be purchased from the ticket counters at the stadium on the day of the match. Inquire in Carrefour about buying advance tickets up to a week before the match.
Weather & ClimateMonaco Weather
Being Mediterranean the circuit is usually sunny and hot. Occasionally though the rain comes in from the sea and really livens things up. Plan for sun, hope for rain.
I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.