And it remains one of the most spectacular places to watch a Formula 1 car in the flesh, with fans able to get so close to the drivers threading the needle between the barriers. But none of that really appeases those watching on television when the majority of races here are processional and dull, even if the potential for an error can make it hard to switch off completely.
So if Monaco is likely to split opinion among the far bigger audience that is tuning in remotely compared to those in attendance, it needs to double down on the other aspects that make it special to compensate.
It’s no surprise the Covid-19 pandemic triggered questions about whether Monaco deserves to be on the calendar, because it forced the race’s cancellation in 2020 due to the lead time needed to build the temporary track, and then in 2021 restrictions were still so tight that many of the special aspects were still impossible to execute.
Attendance was limited, curfews remained in place and mixing was being avoided by those in the sport. So fans were unlikely to be able to grab a glimpse of drivers heading to different functions around the city, or sample the nightlife on the track while high rollers partied on yachts into the early hours.
It might all sound pretty obnoxious but it’s the aspirational aspects of Monaco that make it such an interesting place if nothing else. And given the huge amounts of money associated with F1, it does fit the setting in that sense.
This year, there’s going to need to be a return to the previous ways in terms of events, parties, glitz and glamour. Coupled with the history, it creates an atmosphere that makes Monaco a grand prix that so many fans want to experience at least once in their lifetime, even if a good proportion might find that proves to be more than enough times.
Miami was criticised for some of the additions around the circuit such as beach clubs and fake marinas, but the aim was to make it as ‘Miami’ as possible. Making Monaco as ‘Monaco’ as can be would not be the worst approach.