6 Tips for Enjoying the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix
The Formula One Grand Prix is a premier race held every year in Monaco. Not only is this a place to see and experience thrilling races, but it’s also a chance to catch glimpses of glamorous celebrities and enjoy luxurious parties. If you want to experience all that the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix has to offer, keep these helpful tips in mind.
Dates of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix is a yearly Formula One race that started in 1929. During the event, spectators will crowd around the circuit and into the temporary grandstands built around it. Boats and yachts will fill the harbor and hotel, and residential balconies become prime viewing areas. This year, the events start on May 26, 2016. Qualifications are held on Saturday, May 28, 2016 and the actual race is on Sunday, May 29, 2016.
Information About the Race
The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix circuit is considered one of the most glamorous, prestigious, and important races in the world. Since the course itself is laid out on the narrow streets of Monaco, drivers have to deal with elevation changes, a tunnel, and tight corners. Even though drivers have to stick to relatively low average speeds to maneuver the course, the track is still considered one of the most demanding in Formula One, and the dangerous race often involves the use of a safety car.
William Grover-Williams won the first Formula One Grand Prix in a Bugatti. While Graham Hill is known as Mr. Monaco because of his five victories, Ayrton Senna actually holds the record for the most wins with six. Included in Senna’s six wins are five consecutive victories between 1989 and 1993.
Other Attractions to See
The atmosphere around Monaco during race weekend is one big party. If you’re not too tired after the race, stop by the famous La Rascasse bar for a drink. The venue is on the corner with the same name and has live music, open space on the ground floor, and plenty of ambient lighting.
On Friday at 2 p.m., the track opens up so fans can walk the pit lane. While the lower end isn’t as busy, this experience is the most crowded in the front where the top teams are. The pit lane walk is a great way to see the cars and mechanics, and possibly even get an autograph from some of the drivers.
Of course, many of the attractions that make Monaco a great place to visit any time of the year are also worth checking out during the Formula One Grand Prix. Head over to the stunning Casino de Monte-Carlo and try your luck at games ranging from slot machines to table games. Just don’t forget your passport and proper attire, including a jacket after 8 p.m. Or, head to the Prince’s Palace to see the beautiful State Apartments and take in the amazing views.
Where to Watch the Race
Each part of the course offers something different for race fans. One of the most popular areas for spectators is Casino Square. Here, drivers make a right-hand turn at speeds of around 77 miles per hour. Fans in the grandstands not only get a great view of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, but there’s also a large television screen so they can watch the rest of the race, as well.
At Tabac corner, racers navigate their first S-curve of the course at around 96 miles per hour. In the grandstand here, you can enjoy unrestricted views of the harbor and watch the rest of the race action on a screen in the corner.
Where to Stay
It’s very difficult to stay in Monaco during the Formula One Grand Prix. Not only are hotel rooms incredibly expensive, but many teams will buy blocks of rooms well in advance of the race. Instead, consider staying in nearby cities such as Nice, Menton, or Cannes, France. Since there are no airports in Monaco, it’s also easier to fly into these cities. From there, you can take a short bus or train ride to Monaco.
How to Navigate the Event
Since most fans will stay outside of Monaco during the Formula One Grand Prix, the easiest way to get to the circuit each day is by taking the train. The main Monaco train station is centrally located, so once you arrive it’s easy to walk to all parts of the circuit.
If you want to drive yourself, it won’t be difficult to do so on Thursday and Friday because there’s less traffic. However, driving yourself to the city is not recommended on the weekend. If you do decide to drive, you can find plenty of underground parking lots that are within walking distance of the circuit. They’re well-marked with signs, but it’s always a good idea to pre-book a space at the parking lot of your choice just to make sure there’s a spot available when you arrive.
If you want to save a little money on parking fees, you can also park at the Stade Louis II football stadium. Since it’s not as close to the circuit as other parking lots, it’s a good budget parking option.
Since the Monaco circuit is on the city streets, access to the circuit is closed to traffic and pedestrians at 6 a.m. and reopens at 7 p.m., except for Friday when the circuit opens back up at 2 p.m. When the track isn’t closed, you are free to walk around the circuit. However, when it is closed, only fans with valid tickets can get access to the circuit area through five entry gates.
There are walkways, tunnels, and bridges that provide access to the restaurants, bars, hotels, and grandstands along the track, although some tunnels and bridges are restricted to fans with tickets for the relevant section.
From finding the best place to stay, to searching out the best place to watch the race, to enjoying the other activities on race weekend, these tips will help you make the most of your trip to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.
Image via Flickr by United Autosports.