Welcome to one of the most iconic races in the Formula One calendar, the Monaco Grand Prix. No other race offers attendees the opportunity to witness history being made on a street circuit from the luxury and comfort of a superyacht.
The Monaco Grand Prix is also one of the highest demand races with one of the lowest capacities, including just 40,000 grandstand tickets. All the more reason to ensure you secure your place early on if you would like to attend this historic extravaganza .
Interested? Allow us to introduce your complete 2023 Monaco F1 Guide…
Image: Tomica S / Unsplash
When is the Monaco Grand Prix
The race typically takes place over the last or second to last weekend of May. The 2023 Monaco Grand Prix dates are: Thursday 25th – Sunday 28th May 2023.
In the 2022 edition, several changes were enacted to the typical four-day layout of the Grand Prix, but we’ll get into more detail on that further on.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Circuit de Monaco or the history of the race, allow us to acquaint you with the facts before we delve into other details.
Race facts: Monaco GP
Every year the Monaco Grand Prix brings new and exciting events, perhaps an unexpected pole position that didn’t translate to a win, maybe an underdog emerging from nowhere and making the podium. Here are some of our favourite facts and events from past Monaco weekends:
- McLaren has led more laps than any other team at the Monaco Grand Prix - 916 to be exact.
- Michael Schumacher still claims a similar title as the driver who has led the most laps at Monaco, with a total of 435 laps spent in the lead throughout his career.
- Jim Clark held pole position at Monaco four times in his career but never managed to claim the top spot on the podium.
- To date, the Monaco Grand Prix holds a record for the least number of cars to finish an F1 race. In 1966, and again in 1996, only four cars saw the chequered flag at the finish line.
- In 2006, Michael Schumacher sparked controversy when he ‘parked’ his Ferrari on the final corner of the track during qualifying and brought out yellow flags (the official line from Schumacher’s side was that he locked up his wheels and slid into the wall at the final hairpin of the circuit). Yellow flags were waved indicating that everyone behind him had to slow down, which effectively dashed the hopes of anyone taking his position. Or had it? The move immediately raised eyebrows and, after an investigation by race stewards, Schumacher was stripped of pole position and sent to the back of the grid, with Fernando Alonso promoted to pole position from second place.
Image: Scuderia Ferrari Fans
Circuit de Monaco facts
Introducing what is widely considered F1’s most famous track. The Circuit de Monaco is a 3.337-kilometre street circuit that features a total of 19 bends. Drivers take on 78 laps of the infamous track for a total of 260.286 kilometres.
Former F1 driver, Nelson Piquet, once said that Monaco’s circuit was “like riding a bicycle around your living room” with its almost impossibly narrow streets. Although it can prove to be a challenging circuit for the drivers, Monaco makes for fantastic ‘edge-of-your-seat’ viewing for spectators, as cars try to overtake each other with millimetres to spare. Overtaking can be so difficult that some races, including the 2003 Grand Prix, featured zero passing manoeuvres.
Fun fact: each driver will make around 5000 gear changes throughout the race due to twists, turns and varying areas of speed.
Monaco saw its very first race in 1929 when local cigarette producer, Antony Noghes, approached the Automobile Club de Monaco and proposed the city’s first race. Its first year on the Formula 1 World Championship calendar was in 1950 and the event has been held since 1955 with the exception of 2020, when it was cancelled due to COVID-19. In 2021 the GP returned with limited spectators - grandstands were only allowed to hold 40% of their usual capacity and a maximum of 7,500 fans were allowed to attend each day.
Since its inception, the circuit has faced several revisions but largely maintains its original layout from 1929. In 2004, a pit complex was built in the circuit’s swimming pool section to replace the temporary and more cramped facility that was used in previous years.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) currently holds the fastest lap record for Monaco, with a time of 1:12.909 set just last year, while the winner of the most recent Monaco Grand Prix (2021) was Max Verstappen (Red Bull) followed by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), and Lando Norris (McLaren) respectively.
Image: Ultimate Driving Tours
Visiting Monaco during Grand Prix weekend? Here’s what to expect
First things first, let’s cover what the weather is likely to bring as you’ll need to pack for the occasion. Fortunately, the Grand Prix falls in the height of summer making for balmy, sunny days and up to 12 hours of daylight. There’s a fairly low chance of rain but it’s always worth packing a jacket just in case - if a wind picks up, this will come in handy. Otherwise, expect temperatures of around 24 degrees Celsius during the day with lows of about 14 degrees celsius in the evening.
Speaking of dress codes, although the Monaco Grand Prix itself doesn’t have a dress code, your chosen hospitality venue likely will. So, if what to wear has been playing on your mind, take a look at our guide on how to dress to impress at a Monaco F1 superyacht party for some ideas.
Aside from the idealistic climes, the atmosphere is what everyone is really there for. With a contagious excitement building as the circuit is constructed, and superyachts streaming into the harbour during the lead up to the race, the preamble is almost as good as the weekend’s activities. This buzz continues as spectators board yachts and fill balconies and grandstands to watch race cars streak past the cafés at which local Monegasques typically enjoy their morning croissants.
Speaking of which, 2022 saw some changes to the format which will no doubt carry on into 2023 and beyond. Here’s what’s different from the old format.
Image: Ultimate Driving Tours
Updated race weekend format, introduced in 2022
Typically, the Monaco Grand Prix has been a four-day programme that ran from Thursday to Sunday with a break on Friday (which differs to other GP races in which practice is held on Friday, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday). Monaco’s specific format dates back to the 1920s when Ascension Day (a public holiday) was observed on Friday and the day was kept free of on-track events to allow locals to celebrate. In more recent years, some events have been scheduled for Friday but practice remained on Thursday.
Since 2022, Monaco has maintained its four-day programme, but a more standard Grand Prix format was observed with practice now being held on Friday. The Automobile Club de Monaco has confirmed that support categories will now instead race on the Thursday.
We are awaiting the full programme release for 2023 and will keep you updated as news breaks.
What to do in Monaco when the Grand Prix is on
Aside from the annual Grand Prix, Monaco is an incredible destination for any traveller. Let’s face it, the Côte d’Azur in general is one of the most beautiful places in the world - from its architecture and its charming towns to the striking coastal vistas that appear around every corner.
As for what to do, the possibilities are endless. Soak up some rays in the south of France by venturing to the endless picturesque local beaches to take a dip in the ocean. A quick note: beaches in the French Riviera are comprised of pebbles rather than sand, so pack suitable footwear (and perhaps a cushion!).
Any fan of motoring and motorsport would be remiss to visit Monaco and not admire H.S.H Prince Rainier III of Monaco’s Car Collection - located just a short walk from the circuit in the Terrases de Fontvieille, it’s a unique opportunity to view over 100 cars including a selection of powerhouses that have tackled Monaco’s Grand Prix circuit.
Could you really say you came to Monaco and failed to visit the Casino de Monte Carlo? Founded in 1893, it’s maintained its position in the historic belle époque building to date and features an array of table games from blackjack and baccarat to roulette, poker and even slot machines.
Finally, embark on a 10 to 15-minute walk up the hill from Place d’Armes to the Prince’s Palace and Monaco-Ville. The exquisite panoramic views alone make the walk worthwhile. Elect to do a tour of the state rooms or wander the age-old cobblestone streets of the old town. If you time it right, 11:55 am to be precise, you can witness the changing of the guard.
Of course, if you wish to venture slightly further afield, there is no shortage of places to visit. Take a journey along the coast to the picturesque town of Saint Tropez where colourful houses, tiny fishing boats and lovely harbour café’s are bound to delight any visitor. There are also an array of lovely boutiques, exceptional restaurants, and a buzzing nightlife (it’s also a popular celebrity escape so keep an eye out).
Closer to your base of Monaco are the lush vineyards and temperate climes of Nice. Known for its crisp rosé, citrusy white wines and even a hearty red, why not enjoy a wine tasting while you’re there? It’s also well worth a visit for its heritage sites, art and culture scene, and breathtaking coastal views.
But if you’re looking for the closest of them all? The medieval historic village of Eze is just 15 minutes from Monaco and is worth the trip for the views alone, however, it’s also home to charming cobblestone streets and boutique shopping. For the best views, we recommend making your way to Le Jardin Exotique (the exotic garden) found at the very top of the town on the ruins of an old fortress.
Now that we have covered some of our top things to do during the Grand Prix, but what about before and after? Well, should you have a little extra time to spare around the Grand Prix, why not join us for our luxury European Supercar Tour? Ten incredible days spent in the driver’s seat of a curated fleet of the world’s fastest supercars on an epic journey from Stuttgart in Germany, through the stunningly scenic passes in Switzerland before cruising through Italy and France to your final destination at the F1 Monaco Grand Prix. Enjoy a selection of our favourite five-star accommodations, gourmet dining, and a group of like-minded travellers with whom you will share your adventure.
Short on time? Not to worry, we created a new tour specifically with you in mind - Le Grand Tour Provence. Instead of the full tour, we’ve shortened the route to a two-day supercar tour of Provence, on which you can expect similarly stellar accommodation and dining as the full drive before boarding our superyacht for Grand Prix weekend.
Alternatively, why not enjoy a self driving tour through the French Riviera? On our self-guided drives, your choice of supercar is paired with a pre-programmed route of the region’s best roads, as well as our favourite accommodation stops and dining recommendations. So you can enjoy the certainty of a fantastic getaway, with none of the stress of planning one.
Image: Tomas Evaristo / Unsplash
Best places to eat and drink in Monaco
Finally, onto one of our favourite sections! Given Monaco’s multi-cultural influence, it’s hardly surprising that its culinary scene is most certainly something to write home about. For those who wish to experience the crème de la crème of dining during their time in Monaco, we recommend the following:
- Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris - recognised as one of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, Le Louis XV speaks for itself.
- Table d’Antonio Salvatore au Rampoldi - an exclusive fine dining restaurant offering modern Monegasque cuisine over just five tables.
- Maya Bay - expect local, seasonal ingredients to be masterfully transformed into exquisite dishes with a Thai and Japanese influence courtesy of chefs Christophe Dupuy and Ryuji Kakizaki.
- Elsa - venture to Monte Carlo beach for spectacular scenic views from the waterfront terrace accompanied by Michelin starred, 100% organic cuisine. The restaurant is now a forerunner in ethical fine dining on a local and international level.
There are ample other options to tantalise your tastebuds during your time in Monaco including Les Perles de Monte-Carlo, Yoshi, and Yannick Alléno’s new feature restaurant at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.
If you’re looking for a quick, unpretentious bite and excellent people watching, there are a variety of charming cafés, such as Café de Paris located next to the Casino. We recommend taking a stroll past a few of the restaurants and cafés found nearby to see what tickles your fancy.
Image: Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer
F1 drivers and famous people who live in Monaco
Monaco has become an increasingly popular destination for F1 drivers and celebrities to take up residence. So you never really know who you might run into while out and about in Monaco, but we can give you an idea.
Formula One drivers - both past and present - abound, from the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Daniel Ricciardo, to Nico Rosberg, Sergio Perez, and David Coulthard. Of course, there are some who manage to fly under the radar, so you may be surprised by who you run into - it is one of the most popular Grand Prix events after all.
Other celebrities you may recognise are the likes of Bono, tennis sensation Novak Djokovic, and former Bond actor, Sir Roger Moore.
In short, the city is constantly abuzz with celebrities who have sought haven in the temperate climes and picture-perfect locales Monaco has to offer.
Image: Lewis Hamilton / The Sun
Want to join the festivities in Monaco?
If attending the Monaco Grand Prix is not on your bucket-list yet, we recommend adding it immediately! Better yet, why not join us for the festivities in May 2023? You know what they say, there’s no time like the present.
Join us on a privately chartered superyacht in Port Hercules for front-row views of the legendary F1 Monaco Grand Prix. Sip champagne and enjoy gourmet canapés during the day while you take in the incredible excitement of the Grand Prix, and dine aboard the yacht at night. In your spare time, explore the city that encompasses all that is quintessential to Formula 1—glitz, glamour, extravagance, and breathtaking vistas at every turn. And what could be a better addition to the ultimate luxury yacht package? Helicopter charters, of course. Enjoy unique bird’s eye views as you travel from Nice to Monaco each day before settling in for another epic day of Formula 1.
Visit our website for further details on the ultimate Monaco Grand Prix yacht package