The jewel in the F1 crown, a high speed chase through the narrow street circuit 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 glitz and glamour associated with Monaco gives it a reputation as an F1 destination exclusively for the rich and famous. This is only partially true though as although Monaco has the highest average ticket prices of any circuit, it is quite 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 commuting to and from the track each day on the region’s well developed public transport, F1 fans on a shoestring can get by quite comfortably.
Then consider the location. Set in the French Riviera, one of the most sought after travel destinations in Europe with stunning beaches and historic towns steeped in culture and it’s easy to want to make an extended holiday of your Grand Prix trip.But what about the critics who make the point that Monaco isn’t a pure racing track and not the best place to see live motorsports; that it’s an over-rated, overpriced showcase for the teams and their sponsors, or a relic of F1’s past clinging on because of some unrelenting notions of tradition?
Some of these arguments have some truth. After all Monaco is not the place for wheel to wheel racing, and most of the views are limited to single-file, short bursts before the car disappears behind a corner. Be that as it may, it does offer the F1 spectator an extraordinary demonstration of driver skill as they fight the wheel, inches from the barrier.
I wouldn’t choose Monaco as a first Grand Prix – it’s not representative of what F1 is really all about. But for anyone serious about F1 who has been to one or two Grand Prix before, Monaco is an absolute must. 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. It’s part of the very fabric of F1; it is the sports beating heart – the one constant in a fast changing world.
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 (see below for more detail).
- There may be no F1 on Friday but don’t miss the Porche SuperCup and F2 action in the morning. And the best thing is, it’s all free.
- 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 petrol heads 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.
|10AM – 6PM, 7 days a week (closed on Christmas Day)|
|Adult €6 |Child €3|
|+377 92 05 28 56|
|Les Terrasses de Fontvieille MC 98000 MONACO | GPS: 43.7302591,7.4167354 | View on map|
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.
|2020 event cancelled.|
|+377 93 15 26 24|
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.
|Kick-off is usually at 7PM on the Tuesday before the Grand Prix|
|+377 93 50 08 58|
|Stade Louis II, 7 avenue des Castelans MONACO 98000 | GPS: 43.7275562,7.4155355 | View on map|
|Language||French and Italian|
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.