Category : Blog
NASCAR is great, but if you truly enjoy seeing state of the art cars compete at beyond breakneck speed then Formula 1 is the sport for you. And the Monaco Grand Prix is perhaps the grandest and most celebrated of the season’s Formula One races. The biggest stars come out to watch the proceedings, proceedings that span the whole weekend and a walk around the city can bring you into contact with some of the most beautiful super-cars in the world, just parked, waiting for heir owners to return. For one weekend a year, Monaco becomes a motoring mecca, and this year – the race is scheduled for May 26th-29th, 2016 – is no different.
The Challenge for the Drivers
The Monaco Grand Prix course itself is the shortest, slowest circuit in the annual Formula One Series, but that does not mean that it is without its unique challenges. The first is the course route itself, winding as it does through the narrow confines of the city streets, with the cars running most of the time just inches away from the guardrail. Drivers literally have to be inch perfect to stay on track and in the race and there is zero room for error.
A driver must make over 130 significant and timely steering moves on each of the 78 laps of the race, and over the duration they will have to change gear more than 4,000 times. The asphalt surface is smooth, perhaps the smoothest terrain to tackle all season, but it is not without it surprising bumps. British driver Jensen Button, who won the race in 2009, calls it the ‘greatest challenge’ of the Formula One calendar and there are no doubt plenty of others who agree with him.
The Challenge for the Spectators
The Monaco Grand Prix does present something of a challenge for the spectators present as well. Monaco is a tiny place – 2sq km – and the usually rather densely populated town is simply packed on race weekend, so roadside viewing is only for those willing to navigate tightly packed crowds for a half glimpse st the cars as they zoom around the rack.
As race veterans will tell you, the best way to see the Monaco Grand Prix action is from the water. This means that the yacht charter business kicks into high gear and some former F1 drivers have even got in on the action, using their knowledge of the race and its course to provide the best charters that can promise excellent views of all the action as well as a great time on board a very nice yacht. All of this comes at a price though, as the average rate for a four day trip – as watching the qualifiers is as important as seeing the race itself – is around €50,000 to €70,000.
Most of the best hotel rooms available in the city on race weekend are taken by the wealthiest racegoers as well as by the drivers and their entourage as well. That means that a stroll around the streets will bring you into contact with some of the most expensive and beautiful cars in the world. And the traffic jams you will see are unlike any other, as Bugatti Veyrons line up behind a plethora of different Porsches, who are vying for position with the highest end BMWs and Audis. For the ‘everyday onlooker’ it is certainly one heck of a photo op if nothing else….