Formula 1

A maddening Monaco F1 Grand Prix for Lewis Hamilton

Imagine the world’s fastest cars roaring down Regent Street and heading around Piccadilly Circus. That would be the English equivalent of the madness that is the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.18081085412_2bd7494e2f_m

by Keithe Photography

Monaco is one of the original F1 tracks and remains the most exciting street circuit race weekend in motorsport. With many stars in town for the Cannes film festival just down the road the race is only part of the glamorous event.

As cars have got faster it has become harder and harder to overtake on the circuit. As ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger commented before the race, ‘Who has the first corner is half way done.’ That’s a slight exaggeration, and this year it wasn’t to be proved true. Not through any fault of the driver on pole who made it to the first corner in the lead.

Lewis Hamilton was the victim of a strange pitting decision by his Mercedes team. When the safety car came out after a spectacular crash by the young rookie Max Verstappen, Mercedes brought Hamilton in from the lead for new tyres. They had though miscalculated his advantage over his rivals and when he returned to the track he was in third position.

Ouch. That’s called throwing the lead away. Mercedes could relax slightly as their other driver Nico Rosberg won the race, giving him a hat-trick of Monaco wins. But they lost a 1-2 finish and demonstrated what happens when you rely too closely on data and simulations instead of what is actually happening in front of you on the track.

Hamilton had a race to forget. But Monaco retains the charm of its narrow track painted with every-day road markings and traffic signs to Nice and Menton. Blue skies, the Mediterranean and extremely fast racing cars jostling around a town centre. It’s a unique experience.

Formula 1 Monaco

How to walk the Monaco F1 circuit – a guide for visitors

It’s the time of year when the Monaco police stop enforcing the 50kph speed limit. Suddenly F1 cars appear on the streets of the tiny principality reaching speeds in excess of 250kph. That’s more than twice the UK motorway speed limit, along a narrow race track that weaves between pavements, buildings, a swimming pool complex and the sea.

As the Monaco Grand Prix is run on the streets of the city, you don’t have to visit in May to walk around the track. Granted it’s easier as the Armco barriers and advertisement hoardings easily point the way. You can still follow the track the rest of the year, you just need to know the route. Click here for a detailed map of the track

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We’ll start at the train train station, as this is either where you will arrive, or is easy to find. Once there you need to take the southern exit, one of the signs for which is labelled Jardin Exotique. This will lead to a long pedestrian tunnel. Once outside keep going in the same southerly direction and you will hit the Sainte-Devote corner. The race begins to the right along Boulevard Albert 1st, next to the Monaco Automobile Club building. It’s about 200 metres from Place Sainte-Devote and if you want to walk the entire track in perfect order head down to the start line and then turn around to come back the way you came.


Sainte-Devote is the first corner. Follow the main road right up the slope of Avenue d’Ostende which will take you past the kink of Beau Rivage. Leave the main road before it curves away to the left and head along Avenue de Monte Carlo, keeping the Gucci shop on your left. This will take you up towards Casino.

Pass the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo on your left, then turn sharply right down Place du Casino. This leads into Avenue des Spelugues – follow this around the right bend at Mirabeau. The road now leads down to the famous hairpin.

Take the righthand road towards the sea, then turn right onto Boulevard Louis 2nd. Next comes the tunnel. Walk through then dink left onto the Quai des Etats Unis. This leads onto the Route de Piscine, where Tabac bends left to take you to the swimming pool. After that head right onto the Quai Albert 1st. Take a left off this to circle La Rascasse before heading away from the sea and joining Boulevard Albert 1st again. Here you cross the start finish line and start another lap if you want to. 78 will complete the full race distance!

Monaco F1 Grand Prix website

Formula 1

F1: Double points? Imagine if some football goals counted more than others!

Formula One has to decide if it is a sport or a game

A tweak to the rules is nothing new in sport. Football has played around with the offside rule, cricket developed LBW to avoid gamesmanship and rugby has changed the rules so often that I am no longer sure exactly what they are. But these changes were intended to make the sports fairer. The new rule change that Formula One has just announced does precisely the opposite.

Following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group it has been announced that the points awarded to drivers and constructors for the last race of the year will be doubled. The stated intention is to ‘maximise focus on the Championship until the end of the campaign’. It is not the first time that one race in a series has been given more points than the others. The Le Mans 24 hours race awards double points for competitors. But that is because the other races in the series last 6 hours, and to win the 24 Heures du Mans is a more impressive achievement.

In F1 it is not more impressive to win the season finale at Abu Dhabi than any of the previous races. To give the final race undue importance denigrates the performances in the rest of the season. It reduces the purity of the sport and turns it into a high-speed board game. Where will the manipulation end? Will teams will be forced to pick up ‘Community Chest’ cards which allow them to skip a lap or force them to give 10 seconds to every other team. A new penalty of driving an extra lap might as well be introduced.

Anyone who remembers Clive Anderson presenting Whose Line is it Anyway will be familiar with this style of scoring. It is nonsensical and makes for a ruined season. Each race will retain its own individual integrity, but the season as a whole will not. How will the press treat a racing driver who only wins the World Championship because he has been handed double points?

Imagine how football would be ruined if the goals in the final games of the season counted for double. Goal differences would be changed, a season-long record could be obliterated. F1 needs to concentrate on being the pinnacle of motor-sport, not gimmicks. Although if gimmicks are the way forward please tweet your ideas to us. We’ll pass the best ones on to Bernie.

Winner so far…

Choose grid position by a driver hot-dog eating competition the night before each race?

F1 Formula 1

British F1 drivers say the British Grand Prix is “One of the very best on the calendar”

As Silverstone makes final preparations ahead of this year’s FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX, the next round of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Britain’s four F1 drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and Max Chilton – came together for a British Grand Prix photo shoot, in support of their home race.


The British Grand Prix, taking place on 28-30 June, is the UK’s flagship motor sport event and, as one of the most well-attended Grands Prix in the world, is a highlight on the UK sporting calendar. With four British drivers lining up on the famous Silverstone start grid, support from the passionate home crowd promises to be electric, while the combination of unpredictable tyres, new upgrades on cars and five different winners in the first seven races means it is all to play for at the Home of British Motor Racing.

Lewis Hamilton, now driving for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS said, “Winning the British Grand Prix in 2008 was an incredible moment for me. Silverstone is so special for the British drivers and the weekend is made by the amazing support from our home fans. The atmosphere, the flags flying around the circuit and just seeing everyone supporting us really does lift you. I hope we can put on a good show for them and we’ll be pushing as hard as possible to give them a great weekend.”

Jenson Button of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes added “The British Grand Prix is one of the very best grands prix on the calendar – and Silverstone is absolutely unique. Firstly, it’s one of the greatest circuits in the world. Becketts, quite simply, is the greatest sequence of corners in motor sport – you cannot believe the speeds you’re able to pull through there. And Copse and Stowe are incredible too.”

Newcomer Max Chilton of Marussia Racing is about to start the first British GP of his career. “Every race so far in my debut season has been a fantastic learning experience and I’m sure the same will be true of Silverstone, but with additional support from the super-enthusiastic fans of all four British drivers. The atmosphere is amazing and there’s a sea of Union Jack flags wherever you look around the circuit. It’s my home race but also that of the Team, so we’ll be looking to do well and put on a good performance in front of the home crowd and so many of our Team Partners. I can’t wait.”

Finally Paul Di Resta, driver for Sahara Force India said, “For me it’s the biggest event we go to, especially in terms of support from the British fans, which is always amazing. You feel it as soon as you arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon because the fans are already there camping. The atmosphere is electric and I remember last year the drivers’ parade was one of the highlights of the year – it really sent a shiver through me because of the reaction we received and the fact that there wasn’t a seat left in the place.”