From the famous Sainte-Dévote bend at the start to the final straight that crowns the new king of the track, this article looks at these five bends rich in history and tribute.
The twenty drivers entered on the Monaco circuit today will have to take nineteen corners 78 times, making it the second circuit in history to have been driven by Formula 1 cars in 1950. But behind these figures hide stories that, over time, have made the most famous of urban tracks sacred. A track on which the slightest mistake can be fatal and where turns can pose challenges to racing champions.
The Fairmont bend
Since its creation in 1929, this bend has changed names many times. Nicknamed the slowest curve of the season, it was initially associated with the Monte-Carlo station, inaugurated in 1869. In 1958, Prince Rainier III reorganized the city, reclaiming land once crossed by railway tracks . The station was razed in 1965 and replaced by the Loews Hotel. The bend has been renamed several times, notably “Grand Hôtel bend” in 1998, then “Fairmont bend” in 2005, in reference to the hotel located opposite it. It is also marked throughout the year by the distinctive red and white colors of the circuit curbs.
The New Chicane Tunnel
This is the only real tunnel in the calendar of the season. It poses several challenges for the drivers, including the abrupt change in light on the exit, the transition from dry terrain to potentially wet terrain in the event of rain, and the considerable change in speed when approaching the new chicane, which is one of the few privileged places for overtaking, but where incidents are also frequent. Several accidents have occurred in this tunnel, including those of Alberto Ascari in 1955, Paul Hawkins in 1965 and Lorenzo Bandini in 1967. More recent incidents involving Sergio Perez in 2011 and Charles Leclerc in 2018 have also taken place. Although the chicane has been remodeled several times over the course of the Grand Prix to slow down this part of the race, it remains a passage to watch.
The tobacco bend is one of the most famous shops in the world in the world of motorsport. Located in a fast and complicated turn of the princely route, it was the scene of a scene from a Marvel film – a fight between Iron-Man and Blacklash.
The Louis Chiron bend was redesigned in 1997 and named after this local interwar hero – and one of the circuit’s creators. This is a chicane which was not present at the origin of the layout. Indeed, the Monegasque government had decided to build a swimming pool at the start location of the Grand Prix in the 1950s, forcing the course to be redefined. At the time, the single-seaters skirted the modern start, before taking just above the Rascasse. Today, it is a popular spot for photographers, especially to capture drivers who change direction while flirting with 200 km/h.
The Antony Noghès corner owes its name to the founder of the Grand Prix. This is also where the statue of Juan Manuel Fangio, emblematic driver and forever the first to win in the streets of the Principality in an official race of the Formula 1 championship, is located.