Letter from the Monaco Grand Prix - 11th April 97

Dear All,
Once again construction is underway on the world's largest jigsaw puzzle - the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit ready for this year's Formula 1 Grand Prix on May 11th and in celebration of the 700 Years of the Grimaldi Dynasty an Historic Cars' Grand Prix the weekend before. This special event has added a level of complexity to this year's construction.

Today in rather cloudy weather I took a quick tour with my digital camera to see how things were getting on (all pictures are -clickable- to see full screen versions) (the IMAGE MAP links most of the pictures to a plan of the circuit):

The control tower next to the swimming pool has been stacked up. Just needs the furniture and TV screens.
We've already lost our car parking down the start straight - in the distance you can see the blue banner of the start line and closer to the camera on the left is the brown box which will become the Prince's view point.
Looking back down the start straight we still have some car parking - but not for long that's destined for the press boxes.
Everywhere the fences have grown, making walking around like being inside a rabbit hutch. This picture is a pedestrian's eye view of the St. Devote corner and the hill up to the Casino. On the far right, peeking above a tree, is the scaffolding ready for the large screen TV.
Our little Church of St. Devote is rapidly disappearing behind the tyres.
The stand in front of the Casino is one of the last major ones to be built. Here, as you can see, we just have the base installed.
Looking down from Casino Square we have a bridge with banner - not allowed to show the adverts yet. Remember to look out for buses when you blast down here Michael! Note the neat little orange ends which they put on the armco. I'll photo one next time.
Not a very good picture this. We are at the corner just before you enter the tunnel. In the center of the picture you can just see a road roller. Normally there is a traffic island here. The road roller is flattening the tarmac which has been laid to cover the holes for the road signs.
Well this car park has well and truly gone! We're down at the swimming pool again. The picture was taken from the control tower.
This is a stupid picture I took of some lights under the control tower. I guess these will be the ones to control exit from the pit lane.
And so to the picture everyone's been waiting for - the new corner... This is the entry corner to the swimming pool section. For safety reasons the once sharp corner has been lengthened to make it more sweeping.
The same corner looking back. It's hard to visualize the changes so I've drawn a line to show the where the old end-of-track used to be. This was actually a land reclamation project as the new section used to be part of the harbour (like full of water). They started filling in the water just after Christmas and everyone has been wondering why - it was only when I read last month's F1 Racing that the penny dropped.

I'll try for better weather next time.

Best Regards

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Words and pictures by GALE FORCE of Monaco