Five things to know ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix

Published on
23 May 2023
Est. reading time
5 Min

Back on track in the jewel of Formula 1’s crown

After a slightly longer break than first planned, it’s once again time to get ready for some racing.
Monaco awaits the 10 teams in what remains an iconic fixture on the Formula 1 schedule, even if the racing around its narrow 3.337km circuit can be challenging.
Saturday’s qualifying session is often where the race is won and lost, making for some of the most jaw-dropping action of the entire year.
These fearless racers will use every millimetre available to them this weekend, but to help you get ahead of the rest, here are five things you should know ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Crucial qualifying

Fine margins on these streets
Fine margins on these streets
There’s no argument that the key to picking up a good race result around these Monegasque streets is to have a strong Saturday.
What is perhaps more surprising is that pole position won’t necessarily guarantee you a spot on the top step come Sunday – just 30 pole sitters have gone on to convert their grid spot into victory from the 68 F1 races held here.
In fact, the Monaco GP winner has come from third or further back on the grid a total of 22 times.
In the fight for points, breaking into the top 10 is very much possible for those on the fringes, with grid spots P12 and P13 both delivering a points finish in 2022 and 2021 respectively.
Arguably the unluckiest grid spot to find yourself in is P18. Third from the back last delivered a points finish in 2005, the longest pointless run for any grid position. It also has the lowest top 10 finish percentage of them all at just 19%, comfortably lower than P19 (27%) and P20 (23%).

Street streak

Following the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna GP, F1 will tot up its fifth-successive race on a street circuit.
By the time the lights go out and we’re racing, it would have been two months and 23 days since we last battled it out at a permanent venue.
That all said, on the other side of this weekend's running, we will begin a run of eight races at more traditional circuits, returning to the city in September for the Singapore GP.

Four in F3

It’s been a particularly long wait for our racers in Formula 3, but they’re also back on track this weekend.
It will be the first time F3 in its current guise will race around the principality, with GP3 last making an appearance here in 2012.
F3 consists of 30 cars, so it will split its qualifying session into two groups of 15 to avoid major traffic jams around this short city centre circuit.
Pole position will be awarded to the driver who sets the fastest lap of anyone, as you’d expect. The odd-numbered grid spots will then go to the rest of the drivers in the fastest qualifiers group.
P2 will go to the leading driver from the slower group, with the rest of that group allocated the even grid spots.
Since F3 were on track in Melbourne, our F3 trio has become a quad with the addition of Luke Browning alongside Zak O’Sullivan, Franco Colapinto and Ollie Gray.
Oh, and don’t forget. F3’s track action starts on Thursday afternoon, such are the logistics of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

It’s pretty tight

Monaco's unique pit lane
Monaco's unique pit lane
Not just on track, but the luxuries afforded to us at other venues are compressed whilst we are in the principality.
Every inch of available space is used for some amount of F1 infrastructure and that certainly becomes apparent in the pits.
Each team's garage is roughly half the width of what they’d be used to at permanent facilities, so rather than stretching out, we stretch up.
The ground floor is exclusively for things that have to be down there: the car bays, tyre racks and larger bodywork.
On the first floor, you’ll find the smaller spares bins and technological equipment that would usually be found at the back of the garage. In Monaco, this level is also shared with the pit wall gantry.
With the garage buildings located in between the pit straight and pit lane, there’s no room for the gantry to be in its usual position. Instead, it goes up a floor and overlooks the pit box and exit of the swimming pool section.
The third floor is reserved exclusively for VIPs and hospitality guests. And speaking of hospitality.
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Where is the paddock?

The stunning view across the harbour from our motorhome
The stunning view across the harbour from our motorhome
At every other venue, the paddock would be located immediately behind the garages. Of course, that’s simply not possible in Monaco.
It’s found across the other side of a footbridge at La Rascasse, running along the harbourfront on Quai Antoine 1er with popular restaurants and bars behind.
Construction of the paddock is perfectly choreographed, with the order of the units not done in the conventional Constructors’ Championship order.
How about the support series? Well, F2 are based in a multi-storey car park, the Parking Chemin des Pecheurs, at the base of Monaco’s old town.
As for F3, well they pitch up over the border in France at the Monte Carlo Country Club, home of the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament. This means Zak, Franco, Ollie and Luke will all have a short 1.5km drive in their cars, across an international border, to get to the circuit.
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