More about the changes at Monaco

 

 

THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE MONACO gave details of the work that is being planned for the circuit in the years ahead. The work towards those changes began on Monday with the filling in of the harbor between what is known as the exit of the Swimming Pool to the hairpin at the Rascasse restaurant. This will square off the port and reduce the amount of space available for moorings (although not by much) but this is not a problem as the harbor is being extended outwards beyond the existing breakwaters with the construction of a deep sea liner port. The extra space available (seen in red on our diagram) will allow the ACM to move the race track between the Swimming Pool and Rascasse and, at the same time, will provide the space for a new 10,000-seat grandstand on the top of which will be booths for TV commentators.

This will mean that the road between the Swimming Pool and Rascasse will be reprofiled somewhat and the angles will be lessened, although it will not be obvious that this has happened - this is a deliberate move as Monaco wants to keep the track as unchanged as possible.

Once that has been done the promenade (where the current pits are located) can be widened and that will mean that there will then be space for a two-lane pit road (which will be a lot safer) and much bigger garages. This will be rather different to the existing facilities as the garages will face outwards towards the harbor. This will create the rather odd situation of the garages being between the pits and the pitlane but will mean that the pits will be much more visible. At the moment the only people who can see the pits are the lucky view who have access to the buildings on the Boulevard Albert I (otherwise known as the start-finish straight) - and their view is obscured by the trees between the pits and the race track.

The extra space will mean that teams will have offices above each pit. The signalling area will, however, remain on the Boulevard Albert I. The new pitlane will rejoin the track at the same place as is currently the case and so the track will not fundamentally be changed - which was an important aim of the planners.

The work is to be done in stages over the next five years with the widening of the current promenade (where the current pits are located) being completed in time for the 2004 race. The extension of the promenade means that there will also be a new underground service corridor from Rascasse to Tabac, which will greatly enhance the movement of people in and around the area.

The area on the other side of the Swimming Pool will be reprofiled in 2005 and 2006 which should increase the grandstand capacity still further while also making the angles of the Tabac and Louis Chiron corners rather less acute than is currently the case.

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