If you’re a Formula 1 fan, you may have noticed that the timetabling of the Monaco Grand Prix is slightly different to everywhere else in the world.
Generally speaking, Formula 1 operates a uniform approach to its races. Practice sessions take place on a Friday, qualifying on a Saturday with the championship race itself taking place on Sunday.
However, the schedule for the Monaco Grand Prix is somewhat of an anomaly. The championship race itself still takes place on Sunday, with the qualifiers being the day before, but the practice sessions take place earlier in the week, on Thursday. Why is this?
The Christian festival of Ascension
Well, it is all to do with timing. Typically, the Monaco Grand Prix coincided with the Christian festival of Ascension, taking place 40 days after Easter Sunday. For Christians, Ascension Day is the day they believe Jesus travelled and preached with his apostles before making his ascent into heaven. Since this day is treated as a national holiday in Monaco (and other European countries), it has always been considered more appropriate to hold the practice earlier, on Thursday, to help avoid the additional disruption of closing a large percentage of the city’s streets on this special day.
Even though there is no official Formula 1 race in Monaco on the Friday of the Grand Prix weekend, there is still plenty to see and do relating to the main event. There is a variety of sponsored events as well as multiple opportunities for networking among the usually well-connected and wealthy individuals in the city to catch the spectacle over the long weekend.
F1 Paddock Club Monaco
F1 Paddock Club Monaco offers a stylish way of watching the event in Monaco as well as others around the world. In Monaco particularly, much of the course can be viewed from hotel balconies if you book in prime position. Speak to the experts at F1 Paddock Club Monaco for help on how to make the most of your time in the city enjoying the thrills of this fast-paced sport.
Monaco’s unusual schedule does offer some additional benefits for true motorsport fans. Formula 3000, the GP2 Series and Formula 2 now take place on the Friday morning, allowing the next generation to do their thing with public roads opened a short time afterwards.