What Is The Monaco Grand Prix?

What Is The Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix is the crown jewel of the Formula 1 season and one of the most important auto racing events in the world. One of the most demanding races in F1, it is held on the unique Circuit de Monaco, laid out on city streets. Keep reading to learn how the Monaco Grand Prix works and why it is so important.

  • Venue: Circuit de Monaco
  • Location: La Condamine and Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • First Race: 1929
  • Distance: 260.3 km (161.7 miles)
  • Laps: 78
  • Track Length: 3.3 km (2 miles)
  • Most Driver Wins: Ayrton Senna (6 wins)
  • Most Team Wins: McLaren (15 wins)
  • Most Engine Manufacturer Wins: Mercedes (15 wins)

What Is the Monaco Grand Prix?

The Monaco Grand Prix is a 260 km (161 mile) street race that is the most important event of the Formula 1 season. The race is held every year in late May or early June, typically as part of the biggest weekend in motorsports, on the same day as the IndyCar Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600. Additionally, the Monaco Grand Prix is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports, along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.

Circuit de Monaco

The Monaco Grand Prix is held at the fan-favorite Circuit de Monaco. One of a select few F1 road courses, the 3.3 km (two-mile) circuit takes a winding route around the city streets of La Condamine and Monte Carlo, with stunning views of the harbor of the Principality of Monaco. In addition to F1’s Monaco Grand Prix, the track also hosts Formula 2 and Formula E races, as well as the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco.

Each turn of the track has a unique name, such as Casino Square, La Rascasse, and Tabac. Fans often have a favorite turn and try to find seats within view of it. A popular activity among the sport’s wealthier fans is watching the Monaco Grand Prix from their yachts, which they dock in Monaco's harbor.

Monaco Grand Prix History

The Monaco Grand Prix was first run in 1929, before the founding of Formula 1. It was organized by Antony Noghès, Prince Louis II, and the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM). The inaugural race was sanctioned by the AIACR, the international governing body of motorsports at the time.

The first race was won by William Gover-WIlliams in a Bugatti Type 35B. The Monaco Grand Prix has been included in Formula 1’s World Drivers’ Championship from its first season, in 1950. The challenging street course has caused numerous tragic crashes over the years, including two into the harbor, leading to safety advances and reconfigurations over the years.

Qualifying Procedure

The Monaco Grand Prix follows Formula 1’s standard qualifying procedure, as there is no qualifying Sprint event. Qualifying at Monaco is one of the most challenging in all of F1, because of the circuit’s tight, narrow, turns. Overtaking is more difficult and crashes are more frequent than in a typical qualifying session.

The day before the race, all 20 racers compete in a three-round elimination qualifying. In the timed rounds, all cars take to the track at the same time, attempting to set the fastest lap time. After each of the first two rounds, the five slowest cars are eliminated. The final qualifying round determines the pole position and the top ten starting positions. Times set in the first two qualifying rounds are used to determine starting positions 11 through 20.

Monaco Grand Prix Format

The Monaco Grand Prix is the only Formula 1 race that does not fulfill the typical 305 km (190 miles) distance requirement. Because of the relatively low lap speeds, high requirements for driver concentration, and frequency of safety cars, the Monaco Grand Prix is significantly shortened, at 260 km (161 miles). The tight turns and compact nature of the track make overtaking unusually difficult, sometimes resulting in less racing action. Nonetheless, the race remains one of the most prestigious, with every F1 driver coveting a win at Monaco.

Teams and Drivers

Ayrton Senna is the most successful driver at the Monaco Grand Prix, with six wins. He won his first race in 1987, then had consecutive wins between 1989 and 1993. Other notable winners are Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher, with five wins each. The most successful team in the Monaco Grand Prix is McLaren, with 15 wins between 1984 and 2008.


What is the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula 1?

The Monaco Grand Prix is Formula 1’s most prestigious and popular race. Held every year in late May or June, it is the shortest Grand Prix in terms of length, as a result of the challenging nature of the tight, narrow road course set on the streets around Monaco’s harbor.

Why is the Monaco Grand Prix so important?

The Monaco Grand Prix is so important because it is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports and is the biggest race of the F1 season. The race started in 1929, predating Formula 1’s founding by 20 years. It has become known as a premier motorsports event, attracting fans and viewers from all over the world.

How does the Monaco Grand Prix work?

The Monaco Grand Prix is a continuous 78-lap, 260.3 km (161.7 mile) race. The first driver to cross the finish line after lap 78 is declared the winner. The starting grid is determined by times set in a qualifying session the day before. Racing may pause for safety cars due to debris on the track, after which it will resume with a rolling start. Drivers may receive time or position penalties for breaking rules during the race.