F1: Touring the iconic Monaco Grand Prix circuit

The Monaco Grand Prix Circuit is easily one of the most famous race tracks in the world. For 95 years, cars at the peak of their day have raced here on the streets of the Principality yet the allure of this iconic circuit has never faded.

With just over a month to go until this legendary event returns to the Principality, the grandstands are up and the roads have been resurfaced. It’s the perfect time to get out and explore one of racing’s most mythical routes.

Turn 1: Sainte Dévote

Named after the Église de Sainte-Dévote that sits just to the left of the first turn of the circuit, this corner looks very different outside of race days. It is part of a major thoroughfare between Port Hercule and the Monte-Carlo neighbourhood which sits at the crest of the hill.

Turn 2: Beau Rivage

The winding Avenue d’Ostende has three lanes, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way on race day. Only the bravest attempt an overtake on their way up to Casino Square. Due to the sheer width of the new single-seaters, going two abreast is a risk that many decide not to take.

The meandering Avenue d’Ostende up to Casino Square. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

On the coverage of the race, the gradient of one of the most recognisable avenues in the world isn’t fully appreciated, but that steepness isn’t lost on pedestrians, who are faced with a real climb up to the Carré d’Or.

Turns 3 & 4: Massenet and Casino

Outside of race days, the track narrows as it reaches the top of the hill and Massenet, the official name for Turn 3.

monaco grand prix track
The view back to Port Hercule from Massenet. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre
The cars take a side route through Place du Casino, skirting by the Hôtel de Paris. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

The road that runs through Casino Square isn’t actually used for the Formula 1 races. Instead, the cars and their drivers make their way through a small stretch of tarmac that is usually reserved for visitors staying at the Hôtel de Paris.

Turns 5, 6 & 7: Mirabeau Haute, Fairmont Hairpin and Mirabeau Bas

The run down from Casino to Mirabeau Haute. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Heading down from the Casino, there is little space for pedestrians, but plenty of space for cars to overtake.

On a track notorious for its lack of possible overtaking places, Mirabeau Haute offers one of the only clear opportunities to do so.

Mirabeau Haute. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

The Fairmont hairpin, the most iconic corner in motor racing – and the slowest – remains the same year-round, with cars heading up towards the Casino hugging the red and white apex, which unlike at some other corners, is never removed.

monaco grand prix track
The famous Fairmont hairpin. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Turns 8 & 9: Portier and Tunnel

It is all change around this area of the track. Coming out of Mirabeau Bas, the single-seaters used to get a glimpse of the Mediterranean before taking the Portier turn towards the tunnel, but no longer. With the Mareterra land reclamation project nearing completion, this section of the track is entirely different to that of years gone by.

The entrance into the tunnel. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Along with the Fairmont hairpin, the tunnel is arguably one of the most well-known parts of the track. The drivers are plunged into darkness as they pass through before re-emerging back into the light as they stream past the Yacht Club de Monaco.

Out of the tunnel and down towards Nouvelle Chicane. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Turns 10, 11 & 12: Nouvelle Chicane and Tabac

Rather than continuing down Boulevard Louis II and back towards Sainte-Dévote, the drivers turn sharply left into a chicane, putting them within metres of the waters of Port Hercule. There is, however, a small run-off area for those who miss their breaking point as they come out of the tunnel.

As the route transitions into the Quai des Etats-Unis and then to the Tabac corner, the thousands of fans in the grandstands get one of the best views of the racing.

Turns 13, 14, 15 & 16: Louis Chiron, Piscine and Rascasse

Once in the port, the atmosphere becomes something of an amphitheater or a stadium.

monaco grand prix track
The view back towards Tabac. Phot by Monaco Life
The view of the pitlane from Piscine, looking towards Rascasse. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

As the cars reach the end of the port sector, they reach Rascasse, named after the bar La Rascasse, from which a lucky few can view the race.

monaco grand prix track
The cars enter the port zone to a stadium-like atmosphere. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Turns 17 & 18: Antony Noghès

Rather than continuing up the hill, towards La Condamine and the Place d’Armes, where the fanzone is often located, the cars make a swift right-hand turn onto Boulevard Albert Premier via the Antony Noghès turn, which is named for the founder of this emblematic race.

The final turn onto the start/finish straight. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life
The temporary paddock, which is constructed parallel to Boulevard Albert Ier. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Then the drivers are onto the final straight and speed along the Boulevard Albert Ier to either recommence the circuit or pass under the chequered flag.

The start/finish straight. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life
Watch our video of the track in the countdown to the Grand Prix below:

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Feature photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre


 *Adapted from an article originally published on 4th May 2023: Formula One: Walking the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit