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The Crown Jewel of the Crown Jewels - Building the anticipation to the Monaco Grand Prix

Published by Lukeh

You may have noticed this, but the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo is coming up this weekend. It's the one race weekend where people call the track the crown jewel, a track so deep in history and heritage with the sport with it's iconic streets, the landmark views and just a historic place for the sport to reside once every year. I am only a viewer of Formula 1 who can watch on through these high definition televisions you get now but there is just something truly special about Monaco for me as a fan watching on. Every year when we get round to this weekend, the excitement absolutely builds up so much. So much so I thought I would share with you my own personal proper geek out with how much I love this weekend on the F1 calendar.

Picturesque views from the rooftop of a motorhome
Picturesque views from the rooftop of a motorhomeCredit: Mercedes GP

Perhaps it is the heritage it has. Perhaps it's the close racing on a street circuit that makes it like no other. There are just so many reasons why Monaco always stands out as that one race of the year that is truly like no other. In all honesty, when it comes to racing my favourite circuit is Spa Francorchamps. It would be fair to say Spa has had more races with action and unpredictability in it's past but even if Monaco has under-par races compared to other tracks it doesn't really bother me at all. Again, I find myself so glued to the screen staring at this uniquely beautiful street circuit environment with the sun often beaming down on a pier in the background rich with boats, champagne and more money I'll ever see in several lifetimes and the mountains of the Monaco skyline bearing down over this part of the principality.

Back on the circuit itself the overlooking stare of buildings centimetres away from the race track with architecture aged through centuries, in particular the iconic Monte Carlo Casino that the circuit runs past, the Loews hairpin that slowly guides the field round the tight streets of Monte Carlo even down to La Rascasse at the end of the circuit. There are so many iconic bits about this track and it's surroundings that I could go on all day swooning about what it is I love about this circuit so much. Even practise sessions are a joy to watch just to see the cars even on an empty track zooming through these busy streets, so once the race comes about it genuinely turns the excitement meter up to 11 for me.

One of the things that made me truly appreciate Monaco for the challenge it absolutely provides to the drivers has to be that video onboard with the great Ayrton Senna as he storms round the streets in his McLaren MP4/5 and it's just the most monumental sense of speed and adrenaline. You don't need me to explain the video whatsoever, your eyes will show you more than enough why it's such a rush to watch and I can only imagine how it must feel for a driver to be on these streets in no matter what car they have. I think even if I had a road car and I casually drove around the Monte Carlo streets following the circuit's route I would just have the time of my life. Someone else may have to drive the car actually as I'll be too busy freaking out. What a dream come true it would be though.

Admittedly I am just a fan watching on as you know but I can imagine how much frustration and hectic times it must provide for the paddock and crew of the teams getting from Barcelona to Monaco and creating the paddock within a few days, if not hours for how quickly we go from Sunday to Wednesday and Thursday for the first real bits of activity. But again, it all comes down to me with how special Monaco is with the fact there's just nothing like this on the calendar and you won't find another circuit on the modern day calendar that just had this crazy kind of activity because of how special it is.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, to steal a quote from Murray Walker, Monaco held it's first grand prix in the late 1920's, long before the creation of the F1 World Championship and here it still stands 90 years later doing it's thing. If Monaco tried to come into F1 now would it be accepted? Oh, no chance. Hell, the race weekend starts on a Thursday unlike anywhere else! The streets are so ridiculously thin and there's so little place for ever, with huge gradient changes uphill and down and the slightest little error can change the race for everyone. It takes a true genius of the Formula 1 driver to master this circuit and this is why we should celebrate it still being there - to play a skipping record, there really is nothing else quite as special.

Rubens talks tech on the grid in Monaco
Rubens talks tech on the grid in MonacoCredit: Dunbar / LAT Photographic

There are many wonderful memories of the Monaco Grand Prix that stick out growing up as a Formula 1 fan, bearing in mind I've been watching since the late 90's so it only goes back a certain amount! One of my earliest memories of the track goes back to watching Olivier Panis in the Ligier get the most incredible victory where only a few drivers actually finished the race, and then there was the wonderful tale of Rubens Barrichello finishing on the podium for Stewart Ford where nobody expected it at all. That was the race in fact I first started to take notice of ol' Rubens, for a little random fact there.

Jarno Trulli's performance in the Renault in the mid 00's was exceptional, his pole lap was a memorable lap for me as I quite vividly remember watching qualifying with a huge grin on my face at how utterly mental it looked, and then of course the brilliant run of Jenson Button in that lovely Brawn as he parked the car in the wrong place ending up with us fans getting the most bizarre but so brilliant moment of the race winner running down the pit straight waving to the fans. Even before my own time watching, you see videos and stories of Graham Hill's reputation as Mr Monaco and Ayrton Senna winning the race 5 years in a row which is just a ridiculous record! It produces legends, and it produces moments that last forever.

So all I'm saying to you is embrace the special nature that this circuit brings to the calendar and no matter how the race turns out, just look at the TV and enjoy what you see. It's a beautiful part of the world for F1 to visit and whilst we can all simply look on and wish we even had anywhere near enough money to be in that little part of the world for this weekend, just being able to be lucky enough to enjoy Monaco is always the most remarkable weekend of the Formula 1 Calendar and I hope you enjoy every session just as much as I will this week. It's truly like nothing else, and nothing else will truly be like the Monaco Grand Prix.

Monaco baby, yeah!