The Formula 1 Grand Prix continues to be the most prestigious and mythic circuits in the world. It is presented as the ultimate challenge in testing international drivers’ skills for almost a century. Ever since the first run in 1929 a victory in Monaco has held more value and impression than any other. It is the jewel in any professional driver’s crown. All of the Greats have dreamt of and won this prize at least once a year. It is a country of mystery, exquisite wealth, luxury, and class. Read further to discover interesting facts about the city, famous movies that were filmed there, and about a beautiful South African swimmer who became the Princess of Monaco.
The Grand Prix of Monaco was officially inaugurated on April 14th 1929 at 1:30pm under the honorary Presidency of S.A.S the Prince Louis ll. A Torpedo Voisin car was driven by the director of the circuit, Charles Faroux. The race was held at irregular intervals until it was suspended during the Second World War It started up again in 1949, 1951, and 1954. Since the year 1955 it has featured every year uninterrupted on the Formula 1 world championship calendar.
The Monaco circuit measures 3, 34 km, are limited to 78 turns, and have hardly changed much since the year 1950. The adrenalin-pumping track weaves around the streets of Monte Carlo, stringing together dangerous turns in Port Hercule and the Condamine. This gut-wrenchingly narrow track requires skill and quick reflexes. It makes overtaking a dangerous game. This is especially true for the turns of Sainte-Devote, the restaurant “La Racasse” and the infamous tunnel. This part is the most difficult and technical, and the slowest too seeing that the average speed is only 80km/h.
The victory record is currently held by Ayrton Senna who gained recognition for his driving abilities 6 out of 10 races. In the year 2012, the fastest lap completed was held by Sergio Perez who drove a Sauber Ferrari in 1 minute and 17 seconds.
Monaco is a beautiful and mysterious country and not many know about its hidden gems of knowledge.
7 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MONACO
1) Monaco is the second smallest country in the world. The smallest is the Vatican City. Monaco is bordered by France on the North, South and West with the Mediterranean Sea to its East.
2) Monaco is a monarchy ruled by a descendant of the Grimaldi family, and is the oldest ruling house in Europe.
3) The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous races in the world. Drivers test their skills on the streets, tackling tight corners, narrow streets and the famous tunnel.
4) People native to the country of Monaco are called Monagasque. A person who is born in a foreign country by residing in Monaco is called Monacoian. The population is made up of mostly wealthy foreigners.
5) Monaco is famous for its casino in Monte Carlo. Interestingly though, residents of Monaco are not allowed to gamble or even enter the casino!
6) In 1956, the glamorous and beautiful American actress Grace Kelly married Rainier lll, the Prince of Monaco, thus becoming Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, or Princess Grace for short.
7) Monaco’s flag is the same as the flag of Indonesia. The only difference is that Indonesia’s flag is wider. The red and white colours of the flag are the heraldic colours of the Grimaldi House.
Lengendary movies were also filmed in Monaco. Two of the movies you will most definitely recognise are “GoldenEye” (1995) and “Never Say Never Again” (1983). Both are 007 films and the luxury and exclusivity this country affords did well to compliment scenes for James Bond and his lethal but seductive reputation.
For the 1995 James Bond film, GoldenEye, it featured Pierce Brosnan as the British spy returned. It was a difficult choice to find a better destination for a perfect comeback other than the casino of Monte Carlo or the breath taking views around the Monte Carlo Harbour. With the head of the MI-6 now being a woman, strong feminine characters enter the game and can easily pit themselves against Bond, as this film reveals.
In “Never Say Never Again”, Sean Connery has one last appearance as James Bond and slips into the secret agent’s suit for the last time. In the film, James Bond is considered too old by his superiors and is sent to a health institute to get back into shape and ready for action. On the brink of retirement, he proves to the world the contrary by stopping the Spectre, a terrorist group threatening to detonate two nuclear warheads.
Monaco also has a glamorous princess to boot along with countless millionaires, and a perfectly picturesque landscape. Princess Charlene has a very interesting story about how she got to where she is now.
Charlene Lynette Wittstock is a former South African Olympic swimmer who, after marrying Prince Albert ll, became Princess of Monaco. Charlene had humble beginnings. She was born in Zimbabwe to a family of German, Irish and English descent. Her family relocated to South Africa in 1989. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She then retired from swimming in 2007.
So how did the royal fairy-tale love story happen, might you ask? Charlene met Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo in the year 2000. They were first seen together in 2006, and announced their engagement in June 2010. The Prince and Princess were married in 2011 and on the 10th of December last year she gave birth to twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
Monaco truly is a place out of story books and fairytales. With the Mediterranean Ocean, luxury, exclusivity, style, and a prestigious Formula 1 racetrack, it’s definitely a place everyone wants to see at least once in their lifetime. If you would like a taste of what this unbelievable and surreal country has to offer and to have a VIP experience when watching the Grand Prix, then you have come to the right place.
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