Formula 1

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco is one of the premier events not only on the Formula 1 calendar but in all of auto racing.  The temporary street course through Monte Carlo will be the host of the Monaco Grand Prix for the 79th time–69th as a Formula 1 race. 

Love it, which many do, or hate it, which many do, this race is the one on the calendar that every team and driver wants to do well at. The glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo brings all the sponsors to town. Those who cut the checks will be on hand to witness all the good and bad. For tax purposes, just about all of the drivers have a home in Monaco so an opportunity to sleep in their own bed during race week.  

Overtaking can be virtually impossible on the winding, narrow streets of Monte Carlo. Therefore, track position for the Monaco Grand Prix is critical. Qualifying is extremely important, with the pole sitter taking 13 of the last 19 races (14 of 19 if you count Verstappen as pole in 2021 since Leclerc DNS). In fact the last 26 Monaco Grand Prix have been won from one of the top three grid positions.

The furthest back a driver has started and won this race is 14th, accomplished by Olivier Panis in 1996. Just four of the 21 drivers who started the race that year were running when the checkered flag waved. The event featured wet weather, numerous crashes and mechanical failures, so an anomaly for sure.

While passing can be difficult, no other track on the calendar offers the same opportunity for the entire field that Monaco does. Technical shortcomings with the car can be overcome like no other track and surprises can spring. But again, the qualifying lap is key. 

But speaking of the technical aspects, the teams will run high-downforce set-ups to maximize as much mechanical grip as they can. This is for the slow, tight corners with short straits, but also to combat the surface offering very little grip. On Pereli’s grip scale, the surface is one out of five. The tire stress and abrasiveness of the surface are also both one out of five, so not a lot of tire wear The softest tire compounds will be the choice.

One oddity of the circuit is that the track is opened up to normal traffic every evening, this makes it hard for rubber to build up on the racing line. Track evolution should be high on a street circuit but becomes a bit of a crap shoot–and not just at Casino Square.    

Although it has the slowest average speed, at around 93 MPH average for the lap, of any circuit on the calendar, the demands of car and driver are immense.  There is next to no runoff between the circuit and the barriers.  One lap around Monte Carlo consists of up to 50 gear changes, making almost 3,900 for the duration of the race.  

This was supposed to be the second leg of a European triple-header with Imola getting canceled due to flooding; it now poses as the opener for a back-to-back with Spain to follow after a longer break since Miami. 

Speed Points

  • In the last 19 races here only six times has the winner come from outside of the pole, but four of them have been since 2015 
  • Qualifying high up the grid is crucial here. In the previous 68 F1 races in Monaco, the winner has come from the top three on the grid 59 times. The last time a driver won from lower than that – and the only time since 1985 – was Olivier Panis’ win from 14th in 1996 when only three cars finished. It was Panis’ only  career win. 
  • Ferrari has had five consecutive top-two finishes at Monaco
  • The Tunnel is F1’s only indoor corner
  • This is the shortest race on the calendar at 3.337km/2.074 miles
  • The Fairmont Hairpin is the tightest and slowest corner of the season
  • Some of the figures that it takes to turn Monte Carlo into a race track: 21 kilometers of safety rails, 20,000 square meters of wire catch fencing, 1,420 tires for tire barriers, 800 Fire Extinguishers–1 every 15 meters and 1,100 tons of grandstand seating for spectators.
  • Red Bull is the only team to have both cars complete every lap this season. Haas has run 537 of a possible 546 for the second most. 
  • Ferrari and Williams completed the fewest laps this season with 470 and 467 respectively.
  • Red Bull has led 257 of a possible 257 laps this season, 94.1%. Verstappen has been in front for 144 of them with Perez at 113. No other driver has led more than six laps this season. 

Tires:

The P Zero White hard tire in Monaco will be the C3, the P Zero Yellow medium will be the C4, and the P Zero Red will be the C5. Monaco is not only the shortest lap of the year with the lowest average speed, but it also has the slowest corner of the year. To cope with this, the teams use a high-downforce package with a specific front and rear wing to balance downforce levels. There are also bespoke aerodynamic appendages, as well as adjustments to the steering to provide the extra lock needed to get round the Fairmont Hairpin. One corner comes quickly after another at Monaco, making it relatively easy to warm up the tire, especially the softer compounds, and put it into its ideal operating window.

Minimum Tire pressure at the start: 21.0 psi (front), 19.5 psi (rear)

Camber limit: -3.50° in front  -2.50° in rear

Monaco GP Quick Facts: 

Tire Allocations: C5 (red), C4 (yellow) and C3 (white)

Location:  Circuit de Monaco, Street circuit (19 turns–11 right, 8 left) through Monte Carlo.

Lap Length:3.337km/2.074miles (3 meters shorter in 2015)

Race Length: 78 laps

Fastest Lap: 2021 Lewis Hamilrton – 1:12.909 in a Mercedes 

Qualifying Record: 2021 Charles Leclerc -1:10.346 in a Ferrari

Most wins by Constructor: McLaren 15, all since 1984. Ferrari has 10 wins and Lotus has won 7 times.

Most wins by a driver: 6 by Ayrton Senna including 5 in a row from 1989-93.  Graham Hill won 5 times in the 1960’s and Michael Schumacher owns 5 wins in the 1990’ and 2000’s.

Winners Monte Carlo since 1985

DriverConstructor
2022Sergio PerezRed Bull
2021Max VerstappenRed Bull
2020Not Held
2019Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2018Daniel RicciardoRed Bull
2017Sebastian VettelFerrari
2016Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2015Nico RosbergMercedes
2014Nico RosbergMercedes
2013Nico RosbergMercedes
2012Mark WebberRed Bull
2011Sebastian VettelRed Bull
2010Mark WebberRed Bull
2009Jenson ButtonBrawn-Mercedes
2008Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
2007Fernando AlonsoMcLaren
2006Fernando AlonsoRenault
2005Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren
2004Jarno TrulliRenault
2003Juan Pablo MontoyaWIlliams-BMW
2002David CoulthardMcLaren
2001Michael SchumacherFerrari
2000David CoulthardMcLaren
1999Michael SchumacherFerrari
1998Mika HakkinenMcLaren
1997Michael SchumacherFerrari
1996Olivier PanisLigier
1995Michael SchumacherBenetton
1994Michael SchumacherBenetton
1993Ayrton SennaMcLaren
1992Ayrton SennaMcLaren
1991Ayrton SennaMcLaren
1990Ayrton SennaMcLaren
1989Ayrton SennaMcLaren
1988Alain ProstMcLaren
1987Ayrton SennaLotus
1986Alain ProstMcLaren
1985Alain ProstMcLaren