Monaco GP

Formula 1 News: 2024 Monaco GP Preview

The Monaco GP is one of the classics on the Formula 1 calendar and this year it reaches an impressive milestone. This weekend will be the 70th edition of the race to count towards the Drivers’ World Championship.

There were in fact eleven earlier races, ten before the World Championship for the blue riband racing category was established and one in 1952 when the Grand Prix was contested by closed-wheel Sports cars.

Every year, right around this time of spring, Formula One decamps to the French Riviera for the crown jewel of the calendar – the Monaco Grand Prix. Say Monte Carlo and a collection of images springs to mind: yachts, sportscars, the glitz and glamour of one of the world’s most exclusive locations. Monaco is the cliché of Formula One, it’s the champagne-soaked poster child of the sport and one that lives and is reinforced by its stereotypes.

For the teams racing there, of course, Monaco is different. Monaco is a test of strength, willpower and resistance for drivers and crews alike: in the cockpit, it’s a relentless mental challenge, corner after corner requiring millimetric precision to avoid a race-ending rendezvous with the barriers; it’s pure performance, one of the places where the skill of those behind the wheel most comes to the fore. In the garage – the cramped garages, on three levels, with trees sticking through the floor and ceiling – mechanics contend with conditions they don’t experience anywhere else in the world – but cannot compromise on precision. Driving Monaco may be like “riding a bicycle in your living room”, but working in these garages could be described as being more akin to a crossfit workout in a broom closet.

Monaco is unique in every aspect: it’s a track from a different era, on which qualifying means as much as the race, a circuit on which the wider, larger F1 cars of today tread the same streets on which Jackie Stewart’s and Graham Hill’s slender machines darted. The paddock, away from the garages on the Quai Antoine 1er, is a world on its own, yachts bobbing quietly on the sea in front of busy hospitalities; the fans, ubiquitous, crowd the hill over Rascasse and every other open space – they’re the closest they can be to Formula One here. They’re as much part of the story as the cars on track.

Despite every challenge, Monaco is still Monaco. Each crammed space, each oddity, is just making this race unique: for every fan, for every driver, for every team member, doing Monaco is a badge of honor. Because one thing is true to all those who experienced it: nothing ever feels like Monaco.

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most iconic events on the sporting landscape. It was first run in 1929 while in 1950 it was part of Formula 1’s inaugural World Championship season. It has been a near-permanent fixture of the sport ever since, absent on only four occasions, most recently in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Circuit de Monaco stretches out across only 3.3km of the tiny Principality and while it is Formula 1’s shortest circuit it packs a lot into its layout. The 19-turn track means drivers rarely have a chance to draw breath, with the challenge heightened by the proximity of the barriers, and the blind nature of several of the corners. Drivers must build up speed through the course of the three practice sessions as confidence and track conditions ramp up.

Given that overtaking is a near-impossibility Saturday’s qualifying session, and the timing of the mandatory pit stop in Sunday’s race, takes on added importance compared to most grands prix. Teams and drivers must also be on alert for the probability of Safety Car periods, or even red flags, which could upend the situation at any moment.

Race Insight

Race interruptions

The Safety Car has been used in three out of the last five races, with a single Virtual Safety Car appearance in that time. Despite the narrowness of the circuit and the proximity of the walls, this race can go without incident. Last year’s wet race was red-flagged due to barrier damage.


This is the hardest circuit on the calendar to overtake on. If a move is to be attempted, the Nouvelle Chicane at the end of the tunnel is the best place for it, while Sainte Devote and Mirabeau also provide relatively decent opportunities. Any on-track pass is well-earned here.


Monaco traditionally has been a one-stop race, utilizing the two softest compounds of Pirelli’s range. With no change to the compounds, expect similar again this year. Track position is key here, and car setup will likely prioritize one-lap pace over race pace. The pit time loss is below the season’s average.

Unlocking the Lap

The lap opens with a short run to the first corner, Sainte Devote. The braking point at the end of the start-finish straight is difficult to judge, and the exit is key for the blast up the hill at Beau Rivage. It’s not uncommon to see drivers who have misjudged the braking into this first corner take to the escape road. One of the heaviest braking zones on the circuit, coming at the end of the only DRS zone, Sainte Devote can present an overtaking opportunity but it has been notorious for collisions over the years.

After the famous Fairmont Hotel Hairpin is the tricky Portier section. This double right-hander is fiendishly tricky. The first part requires mounting the pavement for the best line, while the second requires a good exit for the run through the tunnel that follows. It can also be a passing zone if a driver can catch another off guard.

A good lap can very quickly go wrong at the Swimming Pool complex. The first part – a very fast left-right chicane, is one of the most spectacular places to watch a Formula One car. There is no breathing room before the second part – a slightly slower right-left, where it is easy to clip the barrier on entry, or the curb on exit.

Monaco GP Fact File

  • This will be the 81st running of the Monaco Grand Prix
  • Clocking in at just 3.337 km in length, the Circuit de Monaco is the shortest track on the current F1 calendar. It is the only race that does not adhere to the FIA’s mandated 305 km minimum distance. The next shortest circuit we visit is Zandvoort, which is nearly a full kilometer longer at 4.259 km.
  • The race sees the highest lap count of any event with 78 tours of the circuit forming the Monaco Grand Prix. It is the only race that does not adhere to the FIA’s mandated 305 km minimum distance, measuring 260.286 km.
  • It also has the shortest run from pole position to the braking zone for the first corner, measuring just 114 meters.
  • Just 34% of the lap is spent at full throttle. That is significantly lower than the 43% of the lap at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico that is spent at full throttle, the next lowest total on the calendar.
  • Taken at just 45 km/h, the hairpin at turn six is the slowest corner F1 cars negotiate across the season. Being the tightest 180° corner on the calendar, special steering racks are used that allow for more steering angle.
  • From the seven races in F1’s inaugural 1950 season, only four of them remain on the calendar in 2023: the British, Monaco, Belgian and Italian Grands Prix. All four races take place on the same circuits they did in 1950: Silverstone, Circuit de Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps, and Monza.
  • The first-ever Monaco Grand Prix was organized in 1929 by Antony Noghès. The final corner of the circuit is named in his honor.
  • The 1996 event holds the record for the F1 race with the fewest finishers. Only podium scorers Olivier Panis, David Coulthard, and Johnny Herbert finished the race.
  • Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna took five successive victories at the track between 1989 and 1993.

Sven Smeets, Williams Sporting Director

After a disappointing weekend in Imola, we are looking forward to racing again in Monaco. It’s a unique track where any small mistake is punished immediately, but when all the pieces come together, a lap around Monaco gives you a very rewarding feeling.

As it’s so hard to overtake on this track, it is very important to get the best out of the car in Qualifying. Therefore, the focus for the Free Practice sessions will be getting the right balance between Qualifying and race-pace while building driver confidence.

The tire compounds will be the softest in the Pirelli range, similar to the last race in Imola. The weather forecast predicts unstable conditions over the three days, which will make it difficult to get everything right across all sessions, but also opens opportunities to be better than our direct opponents in the midfield.

It looks like we are heading into a challenging but exciting Monaco weekend

Champion Leader Max Verstappen

Although it was a close race, it was great to get the win in Imola and we now look forward to the second race of the double header. As it is a close street circuit, it is important we hit the ground running and get in a strong qualifying session, as it is always particularly difficult to overtake. The race is often dependent on strategy and requires a lot of concentration and focus. We have been reviewing what we need to do and build on to extract the maximum performance from the car here, so we are looking forward to seeing what the weekend brings. Monaco is always an incredibly busy and hectic weekend so it has been good to come home, relax and recharge before the race. It is always nice to be able to travel home in the evening too, being so close to home.

Related ArticleF1: Verstappen dominates wet 2023 Monaco GP

Pirelli Tires

As usual, Pirelli’s choice of slick tire compounds falls to the three softest available this year, which means the C3 as Hard, the C4 as Medium and the C5 as Soft. As is generally the case on street circuits the track has a particularly smooth surface, given it is in daily use for road cars and so the tires must provide as much grip as possible.

In Monaco, the tires are subjected to some of the lowest forces of the whole season as the average speed over the 3.337 kilometer-long track is very slow with some corners taken at less than 50 km/h, while the cars are only at full throttle for 30% of the lap. However, mitigating this low stress level is the fact that, with 78 laps to cover on Sunday, every phenomenon that can characterize tire behavior occurs far more frequently than average, especially when it comes to the level of energy developed when traction is required. Another factor to consider regarding the tires is graining which, especially on the first couple of days, could turn out to be an unwelcome guest.

On a track where the margin for error is pretty much non-existent, one factor which affects how quickly a driver’s lap times come down is the confidence they gradually gain, regardless of how well they know the track, as they tackle its 19 corners and all the other hazards it harbors. The driver must work towards finding the best lines, getting ever closer to the barriers, often brushing them with the shoulder of the tires. The skill is in doing this without breaking anything on the car, and it is the key to securing a good grid position, essential in a race where overtaking is well nigh impossible, even when there is a performance gap between cars that can run into seconds. Qualifying will be even more critical, when this year we have seen the order in which the cars line up behind the starting lights decided by just thousandths of a second.

On a track like this, an appearance from the Safety Car is almost inevitable, with past experience rating it at 77% probable, on average almost twice per race. Although curiously, last year’s race ran smoothly with no neutralization periods. There is really only one strategic option and that is a one-stop, trying to pit as late as possible precisely to benefit from any eventual Safety Car, thus minimizing the time lost in the pit lane.

So far this month, there have been several commemorations for the 30th anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna, who has very much left his mark on the Monaco Grand Prix. The Brazilian still holds the record for the most wins (6), pole positions (5) and podium finishes (8). Michael Schumacher has set the most fastest race laps (5) and is second equal with Graham Hill on the winners’ standings with five, while these two, along with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are second equal when it comes to podium finishes on seven. With 17 wins, McLaren is the most successful team, while Ferrari has started from pole the most times (12) and set the most (17) fastest race laps and heads the list of podium appearances with 55, more than double that of second placed McLaren on 27.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :