Crazy people live in Monaco, which is why the Monaco Grand Prix appeared here. For those who are not in the know, we note that we are talking about a Formula 1 race on the Monte Carlo city circuit in the Principality of Monaco. Competitions have been held since 1950 and are considered one of the most prestigious in the world. However, the history of the Grand Prix began in 1929, but at first the races were held as independent events.

On the impressions of the Monaco Grand Prix

In 1978, recruit Nelson Pique made his first appearance in Monaco. He had a reputation for being a young, hot guy who wasn't afraid of taking risks. He was bold, impulsive and daring in a way that only a Brazilian driver can be.

When he returned from his first practice laps, he turned off the car, got out, removed his gloves and removed his helmet and balaclava. The mechanic asked, "Well, Nelson, how was it?" With a grin.

"How it was? How it was? Piqué replied, his eyes were like saucers, “it’s like a helicopter flying around my living room!”.

Monaco can also be difficult

Monaco is considered a city of millionaires who spend their time idly and do not worry about anything. Although yes, you can worry about your teams playing in the local Monaco Grand Prix. An interesting work related to reality is the work "Life: Monaco" by Codling. On 250 pages, the author's impressions are presented, but it is filled with exquisite details, beautiful images and many interesting things.

Unlike your usual dry racing book, which is mostly statistics, Codling's book is actually about two things:

  • about how the race developed;
  • and about Monaco itself.

And Monaco itself is more like a person than a place. Penetration into personality and details, connivance and betrayal, history, compromises, love and apathy. It all came together in this amazing place.

Monaco, many are sure, is the worst place for car racing; but anyway, it is also the best place for car racing. If you tried to do it - and many have done it on the streets of Detroit, Vegas, Miami and the like - the idea would definitely fail. But here, on this little rocky coast, between France, Italy, on the Mediterranean coast, this is the best social event in history.

It must be said that Codling's book vividly describes the strange mixture characteristic of Monaco. Here everything is in motion and exists on one small piece of land: princes and pirates and gambling and, incredibly, racing cars and drivers. If you buy this book, you will have an exciting time reading. It is from her that one can understand why Monaco is so different from other countries, and why little has changed here since 1950.

Monaco Grand Prix, historical footage
Monaco Grand Prix, historical footage

Monaco is largely an illusion

What is the difference between Nuvolari and Caracciola and Chiron in the 1930s? Or Schumacher and Hamilton and Vettel today? Oh, sure, these days "safety" has improved a lot, the number of deaths has decreased, but the intensity has remained. But frankly, security even today in many ways is reliable better than reality.

Risks then, as now, lead to accidents, often fatal. Yes, we have MCLaren monocoques at our disposal, but the danger has not gone anywhere, but simply transformed.

Louis Giron, one of the most successful Monaco-born drivers, came from a less privileged class than many of his contemporaries. While most drivers were the heirs of the aristocracy or the "new rich", Chiron used only his talents.
Louis Giron, one of the most successful Monaco-born drivers, came from a less privileged class than many of his contemporaries. While most drivers were the heirs of the aristocracy or the "new rich", Chiron used only his talents.

What is it like to live a secular life?

There are other interesting passages in Codling's book. He looks to Monaco as the backdrop of a movie, and it's a playground for the rich and famous, as well as the very rich and famous. How can you talk about Monaco and not talk about Grace Kelly? How can you talk about Grace Kelly and not talk about Monaco?

Off the track, Monaco remains a 24-hour spectacle of hectic pursuits, expensive boats, private jets, penthouses and celebrity parties. Such is the rule everywhere. From Monte Carlo Casino to clubs like Amber Lounge, Jimmy'z and The Black Lounge. Monaco is the epitome of wealth and opulence. With stories like Kelly and other royals like Count Wolfgang von Trips, Monaco is like a fairy tale come to life. It is this city, seething with its events, that at one moment becomes embroiled in a grandiose and crazy Formula 1 race.

However, it is also a fairy tale brought to life by working-class kids racing go-karts. These guys worked as mechanics, they were honored by kings, and not vice versa.

As Codling ably points out, we all need a certain amount of stupidity and insanity in our lives. This allows the poor to subsequently live like kings and princesses. And the royals, in turn, see what is really important in life. It is courage, skill, desire, fair play and honor.

This photo of Grace Kelly in a sports car.
This photo of Grace Kelly in a sports car.

Monaco Grand Prix by Stuart Codling

If you find this book interesting and accessible, be sure to read the fascinating history of the Monaco Grand Prix.

  • Series: Life
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks (April 16, 2019)
  • English language
  • ISBN-10: 0760363749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760363744
  • Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Weight with packaging: 1.8 kg.

Price as of this writing: $22.10 (Kindle) or $21.53 (hardback) at Amazon.

about the author

Stuart Codling and James Mann's previous work, The Art of the Formula One Race Car, won the Best of Book award from the International Automotive Media Competition. Codling has worked in motorsport and has been an automotive publicist for about 30 years. Codling currently serves as an F1 expert on various media platforms. He considers Farnham, Surrey, England to be his home.

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