Letter from the Monaco Grand Prix - 17, 18th April 97

Dear All,
Amazing isn't it, on Wednesday I was in Cannes, the sun was out and people were swimming in the sea, next day when I took a trip around Monaco again it was 14 degrees, overcast and very windy. I guess you can say the weather is very changeable at this time of year. In fact I remember one year when the qualifying days were in great weather but the Grand Prix was stopped half way through because the rain was so bad - Prost won with Senna on a charge and catching up.

Anyhow here are some grey photos from the old digital (all pictures are clickable and the IMAGE MAP page links most of the pictures to a plan of the circuit):

This was taken from the footbridge near to the pit lane, the Casino is the last building on the right and on the left is the swimming pool section. Brrr.
From the other end of the bridge you get a view of the start straight(!) (the bridge is closed during the race of course). You can just see the last grid places from last year's race. On the right is Pit Lane, on the left are the press stands.
Looking in the other direction you see that nasty corner at the start of the straight. During this year's Monte-Carlo Rally they had a special stage (in the wet) along the GP start straight(!) and back around the swimming pool/Rascasse - this corner was a real live place for watching Rally cars bounce off armco (the bridge was open to the public then).
This is the entrance to Pit Lane. Just below the tree line you can see the bridge I was just on.
Still building the stands. This one is going up on the slipway where they usually repair boats. On the right you can just see the Rascasse behind a lorry bearing bits of stands.
Another stand this time on the exit of the swimming pool complex. You can just make out the diving board structure behind it.
The stands at the entrance to the swimming pool complex are pretty much completed. Compare this to the photo from last week. Sorry about the wire which seemed to jump in front of the lens just as I pressed the button!
The new corner again - see last week's report.
Tyred - went home...
The next day was just sun-sun-sun, so off I went again down to the circuit... Here you can see how far the stand-on-the-slipway has come on. Once again you can see the Casino in the background - just left of the red flag.
Down in the pit lane I found that Mercedes were already testing the garages for size.
This is the area between the swimming pool and the back of the pit garages, in front is the race control center. Eventually this area will be taken up by the tyre trucks and workshops.
The swimming pool itself, at the far end you can see the diving board and the back of the stand shown earlier. The buildings on the skyline are just down the road from the Palace and house most of the government.
A pretty picture, once again with the Casino in the background (just above the "gra" of Grand).
And finally the start line. Note the temporary concrete used to make a smooth ramp onto the road. The cabins to the left of the sign will house the timing equipment. Just to the left of those and in front of the white car you can see the metal stand on which is the long swing arm (level with the bottom of the building) to hold the start lights.

Till next time.

Best Regards

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Words and pictures by GALE FORCE of Monaco