Welcome to my personal photo tour of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. I took all the photos around the route of the circuit during a trip to the Principality in February 1999. I have also added a yellow "racing line" to each of the pictures, to allow you to see the direction and approximate position that the formula 1 cars take on the public roads, on race day.
Click on the circuit map for a pop-up and then click on the camera icons for the photos
Click here for large map
I managed to avoid unwanted traffic on most of the photos, to try and give an impression of an "empty track" .......... but there's no avoiding parked cars (even though some are Ferraris!) - a problem not encountered during official sessions! You'll also notice the lack of Armco barriers, several miles of which are which are erected every year, by the use of covered sockets in the pavement ....... you may be able to spot some, covered with metal plates.
Try beginning your tour on the start/finish straight (left most photo icon), where the cars form up for the start ..... here you'll clearly see the grid markings on the street, right alongside other normal road markings.
From the start-line, a short but rapid acceleration period is rapidly followed by a struggle for position as the drivers try to negotiate the right hand VIRAGE ST. DEVOTE for the first time. This is the most dangerous part of the Monaco Circuit and many spectacular accidents have occurred on this first bend: curiously enough this is one of the few bends with a 'run-off' area. Accelerating up the hill from St. Devote is the drivers' first chance to go up through the gears but care is needed as the road can be bumpy and the white traffic lines are very slippery. Out accelerating another car at the start of the hill is a possibility but further up the racing line is much too close to the barriers. The cars then slow for the tight left-hander at VIRAGE MASSENET and then right through CASINO SQUARE and accelerate down hill past the HOTEL METROPOLE. Keeping tight to the right as they approach the HOTEL MIRABEAU, the driver can be out-braked if he leaves a gap for a competitor (there is a run-off area here but it's quite narrow!).
The cars plunge forever downward now, as they take the 30mph hairpin at the HOTEL LOEWS and the sharp right past the fountains and into the VIRAGE DU PORTIER. Around 40 seconds of the lap has elapsed, as the drivers enter the darkness (and dryness?) of the tunnel and open up the throttle, following the sweeping curve underneath Hotel Loews. The bright sunlight breaks back into the cockpit as the cars reach around 170mph in 6th gear on exiting the tunnel (the fastest section of the circuit). The drivers keep a tight line as they brake for the chicane, to avoid losing a place to someone close behind. The tight left-right of the chicane leads into a short straight and then the swimming pool complex. Keeping the right line, should avoid problems for the drivers here, or at the hairpin of VIRAGE RASCASSE. A bad line or a driver trying too hard, will often end up with a car spinning and colliding with the very unforgiving track side barriers. Having negotiated around the Rascasse Restaurant successfully, the cars now only need to travel slightly uphill into the very nasty right-hander, VIRAGE ANTHONY NOGHES ....... all things being well, the cars rapidly climb up through the gears to pass the finish line and complete the first lap
....... only 77 more laps to go!