Monaco Grand Prix: How Each Corner of the Famous Circuit De Monaco Got Its Name
The Monaco Grand Prix is the most famous race on the Formula One calendar...probably the most famous motor race in the world.
The names of the Circuit de Monaco's corners—Casino Square, Tabac, La Rascasse—evoke a sense of nostalgia and excitement in every racing fan.
But how did all those corners get their names? Casino Square is pretty obvious, but what about Portier, Sainte Devote and Antony Noghes?
Let's find out...
Turn 1: Sainte Devote
Behind the Circuit de Monaco's first turn, a tight right-hander, is a small chapel. It was built in honour of Saint Devota, an early-fourth-century martyr and the patron saint of Monaco.
The chapel is usually obscured by crash barriers and corporate signage on race weekends, so you will probably never catch a glimpse of it on TV.
By tradition, when a Monegasque prince is married, the bride leaves her bouquet in the church, as Princess Charlene did, per the BBC, following her 2011 wedding to Prince Albert II.
Turn 2: Beau Rivage
This is not so much a turn as a slight bend in the road as the cars accelerate and climb the hill away from Sainte Devote.
Beau Rivage means "beautiful seashore" in English, of which the Cote d'Azur has plenty.
Turn 3: Massenet
Turn 4: Casino Square
The Monte Carlo Casino is the most famous building in Monaco. The area in front of the casino is filled with gardens, and the grand prix cars blast by just metres from the entrance.
Interestingly, citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble at the casino—a holdover law from the 19th century.
Turn 5: Mirabeau Haute and Turn 7: Mirabeau Bas
The high (haute) and low (bas) Mirabeau corners sandwich the famous hairpin and are named for the old Hotel Mirabeau, nearby.
Turn 6: Grand Hotel Hairpin
The hairpin is one of the most easily recognisable corners in F1. The name keeps changing, based on who owns the hotel overlooking it—the corner was previously known as the Loews, Fairmont and Station Hairpin—and is taken by modern grand prix cars at approximately 65 kph, according to the FIA's circuit map.
Turn 8: Portier
One of Monaco's neighbourhoods adjacent to the sea, and near this corner, is known as Le Portier. A "portier" or porter, in English, was the lowest order of Roman Catholic seminarians.
Ayrton Senna famously crashed at this corner while leading the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix, handing the victory to his teammate and rival, Alain Prost.
Turn 9: The Tunnel
The tunnel is not a corner in the usual sense. It is more like a sweeping straightaway, complicated by the different lighting and aerodynamic conditions when compared to the rest of the circuit.
The exit of the tunnel, as the cars brake for the next turn, is one of the only overtaking opportunities on the circuit.
Turns 10 and 11: Nouvelle Chicane
There has always been a chicane at this location on the circuit. Originally, it was called the Chicane du Port—pretty self-explanatory.
In 1986, the chicane was reprofiled and renamed the Nouvelle ("new") Chicane.
Turn 12: Tabac
A small tobacco shop on the outside of this left-hand bend gave this corner its name. As you can see in the photo above, the big yachts are packed very close to the circuit in this area.
Turns 13 to 16: Swimming Pool Complex
Until 1973, there was a straight run from Tabac to the final corner. That year, the Rainier III Nautical Stadium was constructed, necessitating a change in the design of the circuit.
Now, there are essentially two chicanes which take the cars around the swimming pool. The first of these is also known as the Virage Louis Chiron, named after one of Monaco's three F1 drivers. Chiron finished third at the first F1 world championship Monaco Grand Prix in 1950.
Turn 17: La Rascasse
A rascasse is a type of scorpionfish found in the Mediterranean Sea. According to The Telegraph, there was an old fisherman's bar in Monaco called La Rascasse, which gave its name to the corner, and now a newer restaurant with the same name stands on the inside of the Rascasse corner.
Turn 18: Virage Antony Noghes
The final corner of the circuit used to be another hairpin, called Gazometre, until the 1970s. When the corner was redesigned, it was named in honour of Antony Noghes, the founder of the Monaco Grand Prix.
In 2010, Michael Schumacher passed Fernando Alonso in this corner on the last lap. The race was still under a safety car, although it had pulled into the pits, and Schumacher was given a 20-second penalty for his manoeuvre.
From Antony Noghes, the cars roar back down the pit straight toward Sainte Devote, ending a lap of the Circuit de Monaco.
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