Monaco Grand Prix: pub knowledge
Monaco is the jewel in the Formula 1 season’s crown and has been described in the past as “like riding a bicycle in a bathroom”. Here’s your weekend pub knowledge, from F1 Racing magazine’s James Roberts, specifically designed to impress friends later this weekend…
This year’s Monaco Grand Prix is the 71st running of the famous street race around the tiny Mediterranean Principality. The first event was held in 1929 and was won by a British secret agent called William Grover-Williams at the wheel of a Bugatti.
Sound of violence
Monaco is unique as it’s the only F1 circuit on the calendar to feature a tunnel. Drivers enter the 360-metre long stretch of darkness in third gear and reach 175mph in seventh at the exit. No spectators are allowed in the tunnel as the noise of just one 2.4-litre V8 wailing at 18,000 rpm creates nearly 130 decibels – that’s as loud as a military jet taking off.
Driver and drink
The best place to watch the Monaco Grand Prix (if you’re lucky!) is aboard one of the yachts positioned in the Cote d’Azur harbour. But when the cars are in action, the gin palaces are positioned away from the track just in case someone loses control and ends up in the drink. That is exactly what happened to Alberto Ascari when his Lancia plunged into the harbour during the 1955 event (pictured)… thankfully frogmen rescued him and brought him back to shore safely.
Ahead of this year’s Monaco GP weekend, a number of drivers took part in the annual charity football match held as the national team’s stadium. Fernando Alonso, his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez were among those representing the drivers – but they lost 3-2 to ‘Star Team Monaco’ which featured world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic.
Just along the French Riviera, the Cannes Film Festival is on at the same time. It was apt that there was a special red-carpet screening of a Roman Polanski film featuring Jackie Stewart. Weekend of a Champion, the documentary of JYS’s 1971 Monaco race has been re-mastered and shown to an audience including Jackie Stewart himself and former F1 drivers Damon Hill, Allan McNish, Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard.
A number of drivers wear bespoke helmets for this special race. On the back of Lewis Hamilton’s lid there is a cartoon of himself, his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and his pet bulldog Roscoe all sitting in his car. Roscoe caused a stir in Monaco, when he fell asleep and started snoring on Lewis’s lap during a media session on Wednesday before the race – clearly unimpressed by the questions being asked…
James Roberts is associate editor of F1 Racing and is writing regular blogs around the Formula 1 season – before and after each Grand Prix
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