Five Fast Facts about the Monaco Grand Prix | Pirelli

Five Fast Facts about the Monaco Grand Prix


The Monaco Grand Prix is the most famous race on the Formula 1 calendar and one of the oldest too, having been first run in 1929. The tight and twisting layout of the street circuit around the principality has remained largely the same ever since, and it has the lowest average speed of the year (the lap record was set at an average of 164.769kph by Lewis Hamilton in 2021). As a result, it is the only race run to a distance of less than 305 kilometres, with the 78 laps totalling just over 260km: just one of the many things that makes Monaco unique.


Monaco might be the slowest lap of the year, but it's also one of the most challenging and rewarding to get right. Its slowest point, the Fairmont hairpin, is navigated at less than 50kph. The fastest section includes the only proper tunnel to feature on an F1 circuit, which also forms a right-hand curve taken at more than 260kph. With a lack of long straights, cars are run with special high-downforce configurations to maximise grip at lower speeds. This is combined with the mechanical grip from the softest tyre compounds to provide spectacular action; particularly in qualifying. As many drivers have discovered over the years, the walls take no prisoners.


Overtaking is notoriously difficult in Monaco, but only two of the last seven races have been won by the driver that qualified on pole, proving it can still be unpredictable. A one-stop strategy is most common, but low tyre wear and degradation means that the pit window is wide, and the optimal time to stop can be heavily influenced by safety cars. Contrary to the postcard pictures, the weather on the Mediterranean coast at this time of year can be hard to predict as last year showed – when the full wet, intermediate, and all three slick compounds were used and Sergio Perez won from third on the grid.


Over the years, many Formula 1 drivers have called Monaco home – and woken up in their own beds on the morning of the race. Not since Louis Chiron triumphed in 1931 has a true Monegasque driver won the Monaco Grand Prix, but Charles Leclerc is trying his best to change that. So far, he has been out of luck on his home streets, despite claiming pole position for the past two years – with fourth place in 2022 his best (and only) finish in the race so far. Could this finally be his year?


From this year, Formula 3 will race on the support bill of the Monaco GP, joining Formula 2 like usual. Formula 3 was historically the main support race in Monaco from 1964 to 1997, and today's young drivers will have the chance to follow in the footsteps of past F3 winners such as Jackie Stewart, Didier Pironi and Alain Prost. More recently, in 2005, F3 made a one-off comeback to Monaco with both races being won by a certain Lewis Hamilton