Why you don’t want to watch Monaco on Sunday if it’s your first F1 race
This weekend is a dream for racing fans.
The Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday and this race provides great entertainment during the 200 lap event, arguably the most prestigious auto race in the world. The 2.5 mile track is sure to be some drama with an expected 300,000 fans watching the Indy cars speed over 200mph.
MotoGP is back this weekend and it’s at Mugello. The Italian track is located in the beautiful hills of Tuscany. The track is beautiful too, with a long straight and fun curves.
NASCAR is in the race again after last weekend’s annual Star Race in Texas. The Coca-Cola 600 takes place this Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway – well, to be precise, it starts late afternoon and ends overnight, about four hours or more after the green flag drops. Chase Elliot leads the championship before the race.
And then there is the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.
If someone is a casual racing fan and wants to watch races, they shouldn’t be watching the Monaco Grand Prix. If anyone is interested in Formula 1 due to the growing popularity in the United States, they should wait and watch another race if they have never seen a Formula 1 race.
Many non-Formula 1 fans or casual fans will be confused by these statements. The Monaco Grand Prix has been called the crown jewel of the Formula 1 calendar. As a result, this race has attracted a lot of media attention.
The Monaco Grand Prix has been on the F1 calendar since 1950. Since then the rich and famous have flocked to Monaco to watch the race and party in their yachts in the harbor alongside part of the track .
What makes Monaco attractive to the wealthy are their tax laws. Monaco does not levy income or capital gains tax. The country was also one of the first places to legalize gambling in Europe and build a casino. For these reasons, it is a haven for the wealthy to live or own property.
What also seduced in the Monaco Grand Prix is the circuit. It is made up of everyday Monegasque roads and has changed very little since the first Formula 1 race there in 1950. The circuit has tight, narrow corners with no drop zone, as well as elevation changes, it goes through a tunnel and passes near the harbor with dozens of massive yachts moored. Drivers have to be near perfect on the course – and if they’re not, they’ll fall.
At the start of the Monaco Grand Prix in the 1950s and throughout the following decades, the course was narrow and tight, but drivers could still pass each other in certain areas of the circuit.
In 1960, according to an article on motorsportmagazine.com, the championship-winning Cooper-Climax T53 was approximately 1.4 meters (4.59 ft) wide and 3.5 meters (11.48 ft) long. The 1970 championship-winning Lotus 72 was approximately 1.9 meters (6.23 ft) wide and 4.2 meters (13.78 ft) long.
Fast forward to last year, the 2021 Mercedes Formula 1 car is estimated to be around two meters (6.56ft) wide and 5.7 meters (18.70ft) long.
This is a huge difference in size between the size of early Formula 1 cars and current Formula 1 cars. It makes a big difference to racing in Monaco because today’s cars don’t have the room to overtake on a circuit that hasn’t changed for 70 years.
In 21st century Monaco, qualifying almost always determines the winner and the general layout of the field at the end of the race. Since 2004, the driver to start first has won the race 13 out of 17 times.
The last three times a winner has not started from pole, the winner has taken the race lead due to a pit stop, not an overtake on the circuit. In the last three races, the winner has led from start to finish.
Monaco is a beautiful spectacle of a Formula 1 circuit. But Monaco is the outlier when it comes to Formula 1 circuits. All other Formula 1 circuits are spectacles because of racing with jaw-dropping passes breath and battles for key positions on the track. Monaco is a spectacle due to the glitz and circumstances outside of racing.
If anyone wants to watch a Formula 1 race to see the best drivers in the world compete on the track, Monaco is not the race to watch.