F1: 3 Reasons why the Monaco GP is a special race
It's fair to say that it hasn't been the most entertaining season of Formula 1 so far in 2019. With five rounds gone, only one (Bahrain) has been a thriller, with the other four a chore to watch for even the most loyal fans of the sport. The F1 circus has arrived in Monaco for the sixth race of the season this weekend, something that won't fill all motorsport fans with much optimism. The Monaco GP has produced some incredible action, something that some viewers seem to forget when criticizing one of the oldest circuits still being raced on the calendar. The negatives of racing here are pretty obvious, but I believe that there are many more positives to doing so and here's why the Monaco Grand Prix is a special Formula 1 race.
#3 It's the Ultimate Challenge
A common gripe of the Monaco GP's critics is that it's incredibly difficult to overtake, even compared to circuits such as Albert Park and the Circuit de Catalunya, both of which receive similar criticisms. This is undeniable, there aren't any true straights and the areas where you can go flat out are very short. With the way the current cars are designed, though, this is a problem at most of the tracks which F1 visits. Furthermore, the tight and twisty nature of the Circuit de Monaco is what makes it really stand out, in my eyes. Watching Daniel Ricciardo's pole lap from last year is sure to thrill even the most ardent anti-Monaco F1 fans.
Martin Brundle has said that if you were to propose an identical or similar track to Monaco as a new race on the calendar, it almost certainly wouldn't be accepted. That's not due to the quality of the layout - far from it - but because how little run-off there is, if something goes wrong. The Monaco GP is a throwback to a bygone era of Grand Prix racing, where aristocrats tore through the Mediterranean city's streets on their Sundays off. The very best have ended their races early in the wall in Monaco, including Ayrton Senna while leading by 40 seconds in 1988, Nigel Mansell while ahead in 1984, Max Verstappen on numerous occasions and Michael Schumacher behind the Safety Car in 2004.
#2 So Much History
The Monaco Grand Prix isn't the first motor race that was run, that honour goes back to the turn of the 20th century in France. Nor is it the oldest GP, but Monte Carlo is a worthy jewel in the crown of Formula 1. The Monaco GP was first run in 1929 - 90 years ago this year - and has been almost ever-present on the F1 calendar. Alongside the races in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium, it's one of the true classics from Formula 1's European heartland and its removal from the roster would be a crying shame.
While those aforementioned races are important ones to win in a driver's career, nothing matches the prestige of winning in Monaco. From the unique podium to going to Prince Albert's (the head of state of Monaco) house for lunch, nothing else is like it in motorsport. The Monaco Grand Prix also makes up one of the events in motorsport's "Triple Crown" - along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 - and this is by most measures, the pinnacle of achievement as a driver. Only Graham Hill has ever won the triple crown, something that Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya are trying desperately to emulate in the modern era. Speaking of Hill, if you were to ask the great drivers of the past which race they wanted to win the most, most of them, if not all, will say Monaco, just ask the likes of Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill that.
If that wasn't enough, the Amber Lounge and Charity Fashion Show are also hallmarks of the weekend's events. There's nowhere quite like Monaco.
#1 Countless Classic Moments
To add to the tradition and prestige around the circuit, there's been plenty of action on it over the decades. A lot of the races in recent times haven't been the most thrilling to casual viewers, but the excitement of a faster car all over the gearbox of a slower one is enough to thrill those fans with an acquired taste. You don't have to go back for drama, though, Lewis Hamilton's win in 2016 was a classic, reminiscent of Senna holding off Nigel Mansell in 1992.
There are also drivers which seem to excel at Monaco more than other circuits, such as Nico Rosberg, Senna, Graham Hill, and Maurice Trintignant, the latter of which's only F1 wins came at Monaco.
One of the issues with a lot of new tracks is that the corners don't have names and it's, therefore, harder to form memories of what has happened there in the past. That isn't an issue at Monaco, every corner has had a crash taking place in or around it.
If you want to read more into these classic races, check out the best Monaco GPs list we made.
But what's your opinion on Monaco? Should it remain on the calendar or is it unsuitable for modern F1 cars? Let us know in the comments below!