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Monaco: A Bit Of History

Monaco: A Bit Of History

Monte CarloThe Monaco Grand Prix has been run annually since 1929, and was one of the few races left on the calander that pre-dates the organised Formula One championship. Although it was missed off a few times in its infancy, the race has taken place each and every year since 1955. The street racing event was founded by Monegasque cigarette maker – Antony Noghes – who went on to form the Automobile Club de Monaco which runs the event to this day. Noghes also has the final corner named after him.

The circuit is steeped in history, and is easliy the most famous and most glamorous race on the F1 calander. Notable previous winners include Ayrten Senna (6), Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher (5), Alain Prost (4) and Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart (3). Schumacher is hoping to equal Senna’s record this weekend, one of a dwindling number of records the German driver doesn’t own.

Senna is perhaps the greatest of all Monaco winners, not just for the amount of victories on the tight and twisty circuit, but also for the passion he exuded when driving around the streets.

In 1988, Senna famously crashed at the Portier corner just before the tunnel and his 50 second lead over team mate Prost was destroyed. Prost went on to win the race, and Senna’s apparent loss of concentration is blamed for the accident. It has now been admitted that a slow puncture may have been to blame, and not Ayrten’s concentration as initially thought. Although at the time, Senna was so enraged that he left the circuit immediately after the incident and was uncontactable for 24 hours while he wept in his hotel room.

Other famous races include the two occasions when cars left the track and entered the harbour. First in 1955 when Alberto Ascari got a little wet, and again 10 years later when the Lotus of Paul Hawkins did the same at the Swimming Pool complex.

While it is unlikely that any of todays Formula One cars will end up in the drink, the race still captures the imagination of motorsport, and although the circuit is old and outdated, the circus continues to thrive in the small Principality on the Cote d’Azur.

Oliver White

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