Monaco is Formula One’s original street circuit. It hosted its first grand prix in 1929 and has been a regular fixture on the Formula One World Championship calendar since 1955. It has the slowest average speed of any circuit in F1 (161.5kph), but the close proximity of the barriers makes it mentally taxing for the drivers.
“You cannot let up for one moment at Monaco,” says Mark Webber. “Even the smallest of errors can result in you paying the barriers a visit, so you have to be concentrating 110 percent from the moment you leave the pit lane.”
At 3.34 kilometres, Monaco is the shortest circuit in F1, but it contains some of the most famous corners in the sport. Ste Devote, Casino Square, The Tunnel, Tabac and Rascasse have all been apexed by the best drivers in the sport’s history, and they continue to do so today.
Even with overtaking aids like DRS and KERS, passing opportunities remain limited at Monaco. The best chance is under braking for the chicane, but there were still only 16 on-track passes in last year’s race, which was won by pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull Racing.
For those of you wondering, only one driver has ever crashed into the harbour: Alberto Ascari, in 1955. Remarkably, he emerged unharmed!
Lap length: 3.340km
Race distance: 260.520km
Start time: 1400 (local)
Full throttle: 65%
Downforce level: High
Gearchanges per lap: 62
Top speed: 285km/h
Tyre compounds: super soft / soft
Overtaking places: N/A
2011 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
2011 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
Lap record: Michael Schumacher, 1m14.439s (161.528km/h) in 2004
Mark Webber’s best result in Monaco: 1st
Sebastian Vettel’s best result in Monaco: 1st
Daniel Ricciardo’s best result in Monaco: N/A
Jean-Eric Vergne’s best result in Monaco: N/A