Monaco and the Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix (French: Grand Prix de Monaco) is a Formula One race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (with which it forms the Triple Crown of Motorsport). The circuit has been called "an exceptional location of glamour and prestige."
The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, it is a dangerous place to race.
The Circuit de Monaco consists of the city streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, which includes the famous harbour. It is unique in having been held on the same circuit every time it has been run over such a long period — only the Italian Grand Prix, which has been held at Autodromo Nazionale Monza every year except 1980 and 1921, has a similarly lengthy and close relationship with a single circuit.
The race circuit has many elevation changes, tight corners, and a narrow course that makes it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One racing. As of 2008, only two drivers have crashed and ended up in the harbour, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in 1955. Despite the fact that the course has had minor changes several times during its history, it is still considered the ultimate test of driving skills in Formula One, and if it were not already an existing Grand Prix, it would not be permitted to be added to the schedule for safety reasons. Even in 1929, 'La Vie Automobile' magazine offered the opinion that "Any respectable traffic system would have covered the track with <<Danger>> sign posts left, right and centre".
Triple Formula One champion Nelson Piquet was fond of saying that racing at Monaco was "like trying to cycle round your living room", but added that " a win here was worth two anywhere else".