Motor Mania: Monaco Grand Prix 2015
With a history dating back to 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix is highly regarded as one of the most challenging and prestigious auto races across the globe. Unique and proud in its location, the race is held annually in the streets of Monaco. Featuring extraordinary topography, the Grand Prix is highlighted by narrow streets, a picturesque harbor, and a tunnel, strategically positioned at the fastest part of the track. Originally developed by Antony Noghes in 1929, the first Grand Prix was endorsed by Prince Louis II through the Automobile Club de Monaco. Supporting Antony Noghes’ efforts was Monegasque Louis Chiron, the only native of Monaco to have won the Grand Prix to this day.
To accommodate the event, temporary grandstands are installed around the racecourse, concentrated mainly in the harbor area, while the rich and famous have been known to guide their boats and yachts into the harbor. Households with balconies become very popular for the race, providing the perfect birds-eye view while the principality’s hotels compete for visitors, each boasting the best views.
Steeped in pride and tradition, this 78 lap, 161-mile race contains hairpin turns, sharp corners, and various elevation changes. Consequently, drivers consider it to be one of the most demanding racetracks in the Formula One racing circuit.
Emphasizing this viewpoint are the two unlucky drivers who crashed their cars and ended up falling into the harbor, especially the famous Alberto Ascari crash in 1955. In spite of its age and the minor changes made to the track over the years, the Monaco racecourse is still regarded as the ultimate test of race driver skills.
However, it would not be accepted as a Formula One racetrack by today’s standards if it did not already exist, because of safety concerns. A perfect example of danger on the track is the tunnel located at the fastest part of the track, whereby drivers exit from a shaded area and suddenly burst into direct sunlight. As the only Grand Prix that does not meet the minimum required 190 mile distance, the Monaco Grand Prix is a very significant part of a trio of races that comprise the “Triple Crown” of racing; the other two races are the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Graham Hill being the only driver to win all three races. Capturing the checkered flag this year was Germany’s Nico Rosberg, piloting his Mercedes sponsored automobile to victory for the 3rd year in a row.
Without a doubt, the Monaco Grand Prix is an automotive spectacular, revered throughout the racing world and enjoyed by millions of thrilled spectators for the last 86 years ….
A special thank you to Carol Olivie Etievant, Deputy Manager of the Hôtel Hermitage, for her hospitality.