First up is the fact that Monaco's Grand Prix is unlike any other! Sure there are other street circuits again, and those may be faster, for example the new Saudi Arabian circuit or the city streets of Baku, but Monaco is the last surviving original street circuit Grand Prix.
Something we are often asked is "isn't it boring", and we'd say no - but then we are motorsport fans first and foremost. Can the racing be a bit lacklustre?
Yes, but that can be layed squarely at the door of the rules and regulations for Formula One. It's amazing how much overtaking we see during the
Monaco Grand Prix d'Historique - not just because the drivers are more likely to make a mistake while double-declutching their way through a manual gearbox, but
also because the cars are so much smaller. Monaco has changed since the 1930s but those streets are largely the same - the cars however are now the size of a
family car not a racing car!
The great thing about Monaco though is what you can do that just isn't possible at other F1 events...
- Walk the track: Get out in the evening and take a walk - where ever you chose to start, you can walk the entire circuit. Start/Finish (not very) straight, Beau Rivage (actually the Avenue d'Ostende), on to Casino Square, then drop down past the TipTop restaurant towards Mirabeau, Fairmont, Portier and on into the tunnel (watch for the TV camera and communication cables) before emerging into the light beside the Monaco Yacht Club. Then it's down to the Nouvelle Chicane and harbourside as you head to Tabac, Piscine and finally to La Rascasse. It'll be busy especially around the harbour section!
- Arrive early for a special insight: If you arrive early, Tuesday for example, it's still possible to walk along a public footpath that runs straight alongside the pit lane allowing you to peer between the trucks and see the garage builds and the crews going about their preparation work. Is it a proper pit walk? No. But you probably see almost as much without feeling like you are sheep being herded past the garages!
- Grab a drink, on track: a popular experience - grab a beer and soak up the atmosphere in the evenings while enjoying the iconic views offered by the harbour section of the circuit. Better yet, there's actually some pretty good food offered around here at places like 'Crazy Pizza' complete with former team-boss owner who may just make an appearance, or our personal harbour favourite Caffe Milano.
- Food and drink: Many guests are surprised by just how many restaurants Monaco boasts - not just in Monte Carlo (the district around the Casino and Hotel de Paris) but from one end of the principality to the other. Fontvieille is full of 'locals' restaurants, places that 360 days of the year cater to the residents of the district whether that's the usual mediterranean-style so pre-eminent in the area, a sneaky McDonald's or even egg and chips at the 'Ship and Castle'. Heading towards the Italian end of the principality you'll find some great dining too including our favourite 'curry house' (a cruel mis-description), and some really great fusion options such as COYA.
- Visiting the casino: a tip - don't forget your passport! Locals (the Monegasque) are not allowed to enter so ID checks are pretty much guaranteed. Dress code? Like most of Monaco it's smart-casual though leaning more towards smart (after 8pm a jacket is recommended for gents), but if you want to go full-on 007 you'll not be out of place. As with most casinos you can't take photos in the gaming rooms.
- Walking is the best way to get around: Yes, really! Especially during the 'track closures' for racing, the best way to get around Monaco is to walk. It's
only a tiny place anyway - though beware the hills. We always recommend comfortable shoes over style!!!
Monaco is aware of the hills, and the state has installed many elevators alongside the various staircases that will take you up and down the gradients. Some will be closed during race action simply because you'll end up trackside in a location that is off limits.
- Be ready for the weather! We're not saying we've had 4 seasons in one day, but the only thing we've lacked has been snow... the weather is this part of the Mediterranean can be changeable in May so be ready to expect rain, wind, sun and even some misty/foggy conditions.