Kate Van Kruyssen tells us about her experience at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Images © Kate Van Kruyssen. Additional images supplied by Andrew Balfour © F1Destinations.com
Where did you travel from?
We flew from western Canada into Paris, then did a 10-hour drive from Paris to Menton. Our flight was smooth, no delays and no need for Covid testing for fully vaccinated travellers. Our car reservation was delayed which meant it was a late night on our first day. We did get to see some of the countryside as we drove to the south of France and were passed by some supercars when driving through the tunnels in Monaco. Our trip was centred around the Grand Prix, but we spent a few extra days touring France as we made our way back to Paris.
Why did you decide to attend the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix?
We had originally planned to attend the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix but like many things it was cancelled. We had been contemplating attending some other races but then flight deals from Canada to France came up that aligned with the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It seemed like it was meant to be. We immediately began looking into getting tickets as we were only 3 weeks out from race weekend.
Where did you stay?
We decided to camp in Italy at Por la Mar. We were able to book a tent site for the weekend with only 2 week’s notice. The facilities included showers, toilets, a bar, snack bar, and you could pay extra for power at your site. We were able to park our vehicle on site approximately 20 meters from our campsite. The staff were the best part of the campsite as they were very accommodating to our requests (we didn’t arrive until 1:30am our first night and they stayed up to meet us) and gave us a discount on the first night.
They also had a shuttle that ran to the Menton train station and would pick you up on your return with a phone call. The shuttle ride was 5 minutes. There was a supermarket that was open early on Friday for our race day essentials before heading to Monaco. Our campsite cost €87 and the shuttle to the train station was €24 for the weekend.
How did you get to the track?
We took a shuttle that we booked the day previously to the train station, then took the train to Monte Carlo. The train station had clear instructions on how to purchase your ticket to get to Monte Carlo. Once in Monte Carlo there was abundant signage to direct you on how to get to your seating section.
Where did you sit at the circuit and what was it like?
We originally had tickets for qualifying at Rocher Hill. A week before the Grand Prix, tickets were released for section Z (general admission) for qualifying. We were lucky and were able to sell our Rocher Hill tickets on Viagogo. We arrived early (9:00 am) and were able to get spots right at the front. This section had bleachers that you could sit on during breaks in the action, but you needed to stand to see the track. It was great to see the cars come around corner 12 and have a view of the yachts directly across from us. We did not have a big screen in view in this section but had planned to stream qualifying from the F1 TV app to get additional information. There were a few restaurants and bars directly behind the stands that we had access to along with the cleanest portapotties we came across the entire weekend. One restaurant had a rooftop patio that was selling spots on the patio for €300.
During the day we were checking a Subreddit for someone who was wanting to sell their race day tickets, we came across a post of someone who had extra tickets for qualifying in the V grandstand silver level that they were not going to use. It seemed unreal but we decided to trust in the person and left behind our “front row” seats. We connected with the person and began a sprint through Monte Carlo to get to our potential new seats. We were lucky and got in 10 minutes before qualifying started, all from the kind gesture of a stranger. These seats were great! We had a giant screen in front of us, the rowdy crew from Rocher hill directly behind, were positioned right in front of Turn 18 (Anthony Noghes) and had a view of drivers as they walked from the pit lane to the paddock. Unfortunately, the resolution on the large screen was poor and made it difficult to read drivers names/positions.
As mentioned, we started planning this trip relatively late and we entered Sunday without tickets to the race. Our game plan was to find people selling off their tickets and if that failed, we would post up in a restaurant that was broadcasting the race. We arrived in Monte Carlo early and decided to head towards Rocher Hill. We had seen online that there were a few spots to see the track throughout the city without having a ticket, but that these were few and the view was poor.
One posting had mentioned Fort Antoine near the palace, so we decided to check it out. We hiked up to the palace and followed a group of people that led us to the Fort. It was a beautiful view overlooking the harbour and seaside. We knew we were in the right spot as there were a few people who had brought chairs with them and looked like they were in it for the long haul. We went to several different spots at this location to see which offered the best view. We were surprised how much of the track could be seen. We settled on a lower level that allowed you to sit on an old stone wall with some tree coverage and a view of the Nouvelle Chicane along with a big screen. We settled down here 8 hours prior to the race and crowds grew steadily throughout the day. We continued to check for tickets and there were more tickets released for Rocher Hill on formula1monaco.com that day but we decided to stick it out where we were.
We brought some binoculars with us, so this made it easy to make out the details on the screens and again we had plans to make use of the Formula1 TV app. There were public washrooms that were a 2-minute walk from our spot and some cafes 10 minutes away. We had brought a tarp and rain gear that helped us in sticking it out through the rain.
Did you see anything else in Monaco or Nice?
We stayed in Monte Carlo after qualifying until they opened the track to pedestrians. We knew there was a track walk but had no idea it turned into a full-blown club in the pit lane. You could also access the grandstands that were amongst the yachts during the track walk.
We spent the day after the race driving along the coast and spent half a day in Nice. We enjoyed walking through Old Nice, hitting up the beach, and perusing the multiple flea markets. We then drove through the French Alps to our next stop. There were many small towns to drive through, including some interesting ones that were built into the mountains.
Do you have any tips for fellow fans to get the most out of the experience?
If you are looking for reasonably priced tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix opt for general admission, specifically Section Z as it offers a great view for the price. Continue to check formula1monaco.com for tickets as they seemed to release tickets close to race day and more tickets after “selling out”.
As many online forums mention, buy drinks and snacks from wherever you are staying as opposed to in Monte Carlo. Keep in mind that if you are planning to arrive early in Monte Carlo, the shops in your town may not be open as you are leaving so buy things the night before.
Bring toilet paper! The public washrooms that were staffed were well stocked but the portapotties would run out by the end of the day.
Make friends with the people around you in general admission. It’s a great way to pass the time to hear where people are from, what races they have been to, and any recommendations they have about the city. We met some lovely people from the United States, Netherlands, and Ireland. These people were also willing to hold our spots when we would run for food and bathroom breaks.
If you know you are in a section where you will not have a view of a big screen, bring a radio or smart device that can access the race, so you have details of what is going on in the other parts of the track.