The Monaco Grand prix – caught between two eras

The Monaco Grand prix – caught between two eras


It’s the anti-circuit par excellence, the antithesis of overtaking, the negation of aero efficiency, but not of drag! But there is also the weight of history, tradition and glamour. The only way to really understand the Monaco Grand Prix and we’re talking about the motor race, not the surrounding razzmatazz, is to spend at least a day at the side of the circuit, enjoying the mind-blowing imbalance between the narrowness of the track and the speed of the cars. Monte Carlo really is the pearl in the Formula 1 crown and it goes as well as old family jewellery given from hand to hand in a family.

There’s the track, where, it is said, anything can happen, although the reality on so many occasions, at least in the race, is that nothing ever does. It’s the only track where the race length is under the regulation 305 kilometres. For Ferrari, for example, it’s not a long trip, but it’s always a logistical headache, even if the new pits, first used in 2004, made life a bit easier for the teams. And this year, there are further changes to the infrastructure. There are also changes on the tyre front, with the hypersoft compound making its debut.

The timetable too is different, even if the new 15h10 start time on Sunday is almost a throwback to the days, not that long gone when this race got underway at half three in the afternoon.

What can be considered “old” or more politely, “traditional,” is everything else: the magical setting, the passion of the fans, not all of whom are millionaires, who come to enjoy a weekend that is unique, even in terms of how long it lasts. Because Friday in Monaco is almost sacred as a day off for the F1 cars prior to the grand finale.