The Grand Hotel hairpin is the slowest corner in Formula 1, and there’s a good reason for that.
The Citroen Ami is a low-slung city car that came under the spotlight with its polarizing design. It’s also quite compact, measuring only 7.9 feet (2.41 meters) long, 4.6 ft (1.39 m) wide, and 5.0 ft (1.52 m) tall. The cube-shaped body is relatively close to the ground, with a clearance of only 5.1 inches (130mm). However, that fact doesn’t mean a thing for Monaco Grand Prix’s most popular hairpin: the Grand Hotel hairpin, sometimes known as the Fairmont or Loews hairpin.
As seen in the video embedded above, a blue Citroen Ami failed to tackle the Grand Hotel hairpin safely. The first pass, which was a slight uphill climb, went fine, though you could hear the Ami’s tires already squeaking as it made a pretty quick 180-degree right-hand turn.
However, the drive back went awry. The Ami was a bit fast when it approached the downhill left-hand corner, which resulted in the car tipping over at the peak.
It’s unclear whether the driver of the car sustained any injury in the crash, which saw the Ami looking lying helpless on its side. But considering that it happened at a relatively low speed, there’s a good chance that the driver was just fine. There were people on the sidewalk, too, but thankfully none of them were hit by the Ami and its debris, thanks largely to the poles on the curb.
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The Grand Hotel hairpin is one of the most well-known turns in the Monaco Grand Prix. It is also known as the slowest corner in Formula 1 due to its tight, 180-degree turn that needs reduced speeds, as low as 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour). Taking this corner at speed is quite dangerous for Formula 1 cars, more so for a city slicker like the Citroen Ami.
That said, the Grand Hotel hairpin and the rest of the Monaco circuit have seen several crashes over the years. One of the memorable crashes happened in 1996, along with several other incidents within the race, which saw only three finishers at the end.
Source: Benelux supercars via YouTube