It twists, it turns, it provides high drama, but all the real action in Monte Carlo takes place beyond the barriers.
THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS
In 1891, English gent and big-time player Charles Wells broke the bank at Monte Carlo not once but six times, netting a cool two million French Francs. He returned the following year and lost it all.
THE NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT
Once the ‘Station’, ‘Loews’ and ‘Grand Hotel’ hairpin, these days it’s called the ‘Fairmont’ to reflect yet another change of ownership for the hotel looking down on it.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
The Hotel de Paris’ Winston Churchill suite is 250 square metres, comprising two bedrooms, two lounges and a terrace overlooking the harbour and track. The room rate for GP weekend? 60,000 Euros.
“WE WILL FIGHT THEM ON THE BEAU RIVAGE”
The cream-hulled, yellow-chimneyed SS Dephine is always to be found in Monaco harbour on race weekend. It was once rented by Kimi Raikkonen, for a lads weekend. But 70-odd years ago, with a camouflage livery, the vessel played host to a strategy meeting between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill.
KNOCK BACK A FEW
As Rosie’s Bar is no more and the legendary Tip Top is teaming with tourists, the F1 masses have migrated to the Café Grand Prix, forever known as La Rascasse.
NICE IS NOT THAT FAR
Behind the tyre barriers at Ste Devote, and past a quaint church lie the steps leading up to Monaco’s train station. Built in 1999, its glass design is built into the rock.
Doctors claim smoking is bad for you, as Professor Sid Watkins knew better than most. In 2000 his FIA medical car ploughed into the tyre wall at Tabac. The medical delegate staggered away with broken ribs and driver Alex Ribeiro was never seen or heard from again. All video clips and photos have mysteriously disappeared from the web.