The Formula 1 championship is one of the most lucrative sporting competitions in the world. With races staged worldwide, the drivers and teams travel to some of the world’s greatest countries. Many circuits on the F1 calendar have been constructed purely for racing, but some are converted to a track only for the race. The Monaco Grand Prix is the most famous street circuit race in the world and has led the way in terms of street racing in F1.
The Monaco Circuit
There is something special about the Monaco Grand Prix. With the super wealthy mooring their yachts in the marina, the casinos, and the glamorous lifestyle associated with Monaco, there is a huge amount of attention from the media and celebrities when Formula 1 rolls into town.
Legendary Brazilian driver, Ayrton Senna, loved the Monaco street circuit and holds the record for the most wins in the Monaco Grand Prix, having finished the first six times. Senna claimed five consecutive wins from 1989 to 1993 and when he was on the grid, the other drivers knew they had little chance.
There have been several changes to the Monaco Grand Prix circuit over the years, with several small tweaks over the past 20 years. A new pit and pitlane have been constructed and in 2015, Tabac Corner was moved closer to the harbour side. However, what makes Monaco special are the winding, narrow streets, meaning passing maneuvers must be precise as there is barely room for two cars on much of the track. Watching the cars race through the streets is quite the spectacle and many people enjoy F1 betting on the Monaco Grand Prix, even if they do not bet on any other race. Thanks to the success of the Monaco Grand Prix, the race has inspired other street circuits around the world.
Singapore Grand Prix
The Singapore Grand Prix takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and differs from the Monaco Grand Prix because the race occurs at night. Not only was it the first street circuit in Asia created for F1 races but it was also the first night race in F1 history.
The Singapore street circuit is regarded by many as being one of the toughest tracks on the F1 calendar and up to the 2022 edition of the race, the safety car has been used at least once every time. Having first been used by F1 in 2008, the layout of the street circuit in Singapore has remained largely unchanged and it is the slowest race in F1. The cars run close to the walls during the Singapore Grand Prix so there is little margin for error for the drivers.
Las Vegas Grand Prix
The Las Vegas Grand Prix is the latest addition to the F1 calendar makes its debut in the 2023 championship. It will be the first time an F1 race has taken place in Las Vegas since 1982 and the street circuit will include the famous Las Vegas Strip.
The temporary street circuit will include 17 corners, one of which is a long left corner that encircles the new MSG Sphere arena. The Las Vegas Strip section is a flat-out section, over one mile long and will pass some of the city’s most famous casinos and hotels. The Las Vegas Grand Prix will look a lot different from the Monaco Grand Prix but with fabulous hotels and casinos in view as the cars race around the track, it is easy to see the influence of Monaco on the circuit.
Other Street Tracks in F1
In the 2023 F1 season, there are seven street tracks in total, including the three highlighted above. The other four street circuits are the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia, Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, and Miami Grand Prix in the United States. With so many street circuits on the calendar, it is clear the Monaco Grand Prix has shown what is possible without a purpose-built racetrack. It will be interesting to see how many more street circuits are added to the F1 calendar in the coming years.