Monaco pitlane study

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As one of the most beautiful circuits in the world of Formula One, the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo is a certain race on the calendar. It was in 1929 when the first event took place, and only with a break because of war, Formula One has always come to Monte Carlo. The mini-state is well known for its casino, wealth and the many celebrities, under which a lot of F1 drivers who live there.
Nonetheless, it isn't all good for an F1 event, as special exceptions have to be made to allow the Grand Prix on the calendar. It is known that teams do not like to work in Monaco, as there is very little room for the engineers to do their jobs. The pit boxes are way too small to work in, and can just fit one car. A solution has been sought for many years now, by the FIA, Monaco and F1 fans. Although a solution has been found to place permanent pit boxes, here we propose a better solution that would even allow the Monaco GP to comply with many of the regulations that it won't by any changes planned by the FIA.

F1 demands

The official regulations of F1 are made by the FIA, who also checks for irregularities to these rules. There are certain demands that circuits must comply to in order to be taken into consideration for an F1-event.
Special needs for pit boxes and pitlane are not in the regulation, but there certainly are needs for the circuit itself. A total start grid for the maximum of 24 contenders is 192m long, and it is preferable to have no corner within the first 250m after the finish line. A corner is considered a corner as soon as it involves a direction change of 45° with a radius smaller than 300m.
Furthermore, the circuit of Monaco (3361m) does not meet the minimum circuit length of 4km.


Dutch architect Bjorn Ophof however found a solution that could be very valuable to the Monaco circuit. A pier anchored to the vast land just before where drivers drive into the tunnel under the hotel could solve all of the currently most criticised problems.

The solution to the pitproblems in Monaco

Some requirements were set for the new design:

  • It should introduce better overtaking for the Monaco GP
  • Provide enough space for pit area and boxes
  • Space for commentary positions and VIP-boxes
  • The pier should complement the expansion plans for the seaport. Using the pier as a dock for boats would highly better the atmosphere on the pier
  • As a pier for a one-weekend event would be unrealistic, the pier will be equipped with a hotel, parking and shopping area.
Blueprint of pier-implantion Maquette displaying the pier and Monte-Carlo


The pier as its final solution for a Grand Prix consists of two straights where cars run on and off the pier, and a hairpin just at the end of the pier, at the hotel. The straight to lead the cars to the hairpin is 7m above the pier surface to provide space under the track for the pit boxes. The track is hereby put upon large concrete structures that take visual part of the design of the project. A 4m high bank at seaside, in which restaurants, cafes and shops reside, protect the visitor on the square from wind and surge.

Pier during race-weekends The pier during the year Towers with commentary positions open
Click an image to view the large version

Upon this bank stand the concrete towers that form, together with steel bars, the basis of the main grand stands that can be built up during Grand Prix weekends. The towers itself provide room for commentary positions for press members.

At the end of the pier, a hotel ends the construction with a large square in front of it. The hotel itself must be hung up to the pillars of the construction, as this allows a safety area under the hotel for cars that should not make the hairpin. The square is this way used for F1 safety reasons, and is publicly open during the rest of the year as one whole. It is also reachable by the seaport and allows a view on the Mediterranean.

Under the surface, there is a floor that provides plenty of space for shopping. The area is actually divided into two parts. One is meant for small kiosks and restaurants. Another, larger part is located a further 1,5m lower, and provides space for a shopping centre. It is thereby possible to look over the shopping centre when standing in the shopping area. From the shopping centre on the other hand, the parking area can be overviewed through the glass separation.

During races, commentary positions are folded open to increase the view on the circuit. The grandstand is build between the large towers, and the square is sealed from public. The usual parking area can now be used by the team's trucks. This area will be high enough, because of the height difference with the shopping area. Start, finish and pit stops take place on the pier, just passed the hairpin.

Sight on square and hotel Pitboxes on the new pier Pier Starting grid
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Finally, a circuit width of 14m should enable passing, together with the hairpin that is made for the cars to travel through it at 50-70km/h.

Project by Bjorn Ophof