There is significant redevelopment work going on at Monaco, to completely reconstruct the area around the celebrated Tabac Corner. The quayside and the path of the Grand Prix track will remain unchanged but the area between this and the Boulevard Albert I (the start-finish straight) is to be rebuilt in the course of the next four years. When the work is finished the area will become the new home of the Prince’s automobile collection, which is currently housed in Fontvielle. The original car museum will be redeveloped to create an extension to the shopping centre which is located inside the rock, beneath the royal palace.
When the work at Tabac is completed the harbour esplanade will have been widened to match the work previously done on the south side of the swimming pool, which allowed the Formula 1 pits to be extended some years ago. The car museum will be beneath the esplanade with a second floor beneath this, creating an exhibition area of just under 100,000 sq ft. There will be three levels of parking beneath that. The bottom floor of the parking will be 50 feet below the sea level, but will provide Monaco with another 300 much-needed parking spaces. This should mean that the car collection will attract significantly more visitors than it has in the past and the design will include a central area that will be used for presentations and auctions.
The new extension will also allow for more quayside restaurants and night clubs, but it will mean that there will probably be less seating available for a couple of years while the structural work is done. The aim is to have this completed before the Grand Prix in 2017, with the entire development being completed by 2019.
It is worth noting that the next likely phase of development will be a change to the Rascasse section, with plans being drawn up to create an open area, perhaps with some kind of building in the centre. This will improve the access between the pits and the paddock and provide better viewing. The track could thus be re-profiled a little if that was deemed to be necessary. The famous Rascasse restaurant was bought by the government-owned Société des Bains de Mer in 2009.
Remember also that there is still a major land reclamation project underway on the other side of Monte Carlo, in the Portiers district, which could in the long term provide room for the circuit to be extended in order to create overtaking opportunities. The exact design of the new district is not yet known, but a contract for the work is currently being agreed with the French construction giant Bouyges.
For the moment, however, the track will remain as it is, even if the backdrop will change in the years ahead.