Monaco is one of those special races, a unique and challenging circuit that gets the best of even the greatest of Formula One drivers. It’s a place that is in most Formula One fan’s hearts, and the street circuit has provided some of the greatest Grands Prix in the sports history. Last year I asked what you guys thought about the race, and the responses were great – it seems a lot of you are really passionate about Formula One. I was thinking of asking the same question again, but then had the idea of posting some really old photos of the circuit, and doing a sort of brief timeline. So without any further ado, here are just a few images from Monaco Grands Prix of the past, starting in 1950 and Fangio’s first victory and ending in last year’s 2006 race where Fernando Alonso led all but one of the laps.
Five times World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio won his first F1 race at Monaco. Although he had driven in many races before, 1950 marked the first year of the organised championship, and Fangio went from pole to lead all 100 laps of the race.
A great view of Monaco in 1958, this image shows Giorgio Scarlatti cornering La Rascasse (I think) in his Maserati, depicted with the number 46 on the side. Scarlatti eventually retired with a blown engine, and Frenchman Maurice Trintignant went on to win in his Cooper-Climax. Monaco ’58 also marked the first race for Graham Hill. The legendary British racer would go on to win five Monaco Grands Prix and two championships.
Cornering Mirabeau, Patrick Depailler fends off Carlos Reutemann trying to go around the outside in his Ferrari. British driver John Watson led the first 37 laps of the 1978 event in his Brabham, but eventually conceded defeat to Patrick Depailler in his superior Tyrrell.
Named after the hotel where the person behind this image was probably standing, it is the slowest corner in the modern championship. Often, drivers have to squeeze the throttle and intentionally step the backend out just to get around the bend – there just isn’t enough lock on the steering. The hotel has since been renamed to Grand Hotel, as has the corner as well. But it will always remain Loews in my mind.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen blasts his Sauber through La Rascasse and Antony Noghes to complete another lap, closely followed by Ukyo Katayama in the Tyrrell. Frentzen would go on to finish in fourth, while Olivier Panis took his maiden victory for Ligier, and only three cars actually finished the wet race. Antony Noghes founded the Monaco Grand Prix, turning his attention from cigarette making to automobile club racing. The Automobile Club de Monaco still runs the event to this day.
2006 saw controversy as Michael Schumacher appeared to deliberately stop his Ferrari on track during qualifying to impede the laps of his rivals. Although Schumacher set the fastest time, he was demoted to the back, allowing Fernando Alonso to take a dominant victory.