Monaco, an independent micro-state found on France’s Mediterranean is known for its glamour which is showcased by its yacht-lined harbor and bright casinos.
As if this is not enough to attract a lot of people to the state, Monaco is also home to the prestigious Grand Prix auto race, which runs the streets of the state once every year.
How did this world-renowned big event come around such a small state, you might ask?
It takes a long way back. The race to success is long but it got the highest pedestals in the world of racing.
If you’re interested to learn about the history of the Monaco Grand Prix, then take the journey with me. You might learn one or two new things about this awesome event.
The History Of the Famous Monaco Grand Prix
The Start Of Something Great
Alexandre Noghes, a wealthy cigarette manufacturer from Monaco, was a close friend of the Royal family. On exactly 14th of April 1929 at 13:30, the first Monaco Rally was held under his influence and the organization of Automobile Clube de Monaco.
The trophy for the race was won by William Grover-Williams, who drove a Bugatti.
Eighteen years later, Anthony Noghes, Alexandre’s son, had the same idea and decided to let it run in the streets of Monte Carlo. He planned a layout, which is now called Circuit de Monaco and is still used today.
The Rise Of Monaco Grand Prix
Grand Prix has gone a long way since 1929. In fact, it is now considered to be one of the triple crowns in the world of motorsport, along with the Le Mans 24 hours and Indy 500.
However, Monaco is considered to be the longest race when talking about time spent on the track. In fact, if it’s raining and the road is wet, it can reach up to a full two hours.
Circuit De Monaco – Twists And Turns
Circuit de Monaco is twisty and tight and it is considered to be one of the hardest routes for racing. Its narrowness makes it almost impossible for drivers to overtake the driver in front of them.
If you want to pass a car, you only need to hope and throw caution to the winds. It is that risky.
On the other hand, the fuel burn penalty in the race is only minimal because of the low speed. This is proven when one racer, Mika Salo, finished the race in 1997 without making a single stop.
Monaco Grand Prix has three unique features.
First, the circuit is the one and the only route to feature a long tunnel, which makes it imperative for the drivers to adjust their field of vision from light to shade and vice versa. This is done on every lap.
Second, it does not have any podium. When the winner is announced, the celebration is done on the steps of the royal box.
Thirdly, it is the only event that sets the practice day on Thursday as the roads are opened to the public on Fridays.
True to its reputation, the circuit has been a witness to several accidents and few deaths of racers – the most fatal of which is the accident of Lorenzo Bandini.
On the 1967 Grand Prix, Bandini was running second to Denny Hulme and is on his 82nd lap. However, he lost control of his Ferrari at the chicane harbor. When he entered the S-turn, his Ferrari’s rear hit the rail and sent his car skidding.
It crashed on the pole and was overturned. The car hit the straw and went into flames. When he pulled from his car, he was already suffering from 3rd-degree burns.
Famous Racers In Grand Prix
The first world championship for the Monaco race gave victory to Juan Manuel Fangio.
Then came Graham Hill, who was given the title of Mr.Monaco for having five wins at the event and achieving the three crowns.
His record was, however, superseded by Brazil’s Ayrton Senna who garnered a total of six wins in the race, which includes 5 back-to-back wins. Senna also achieved the 8 podium finishes during the ten starts.
For 10 years, from 1984 to 1993, the race was only won by either Ayrton Senna or Alain Prost. His victories made Senna famous.
There was one incident in which he was arrested for driving a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, but was soon released after the police realized who he was. That is more or less true.
At the 2006 event, world champion Michael Schumacher grabbed 5 wins in the Grand Prix, which matches Hill’s record and a total of 91 wins in all his career. This earned him a spot in the best car racers in history.
He also holds Grand Prix’s current lap record of 1:14:439. But the fastest lap ever made was of Kimi Räikkönen, who finished it in just 1m 13.532.
Memorable Events In The Grand Prix
- In 1950 race, Juan Manuel Fangio noticed that nobody was paying attention to him even though he was leading so he sensed something wrong. True enough, there a huge pileup ahead of him. many drivers who are not as keen also caught up in the pile. Because of this event, the Monaco Grand Prix was not held until 1955.
- In 1965, Graham Hill, known as Mr. Monaco, met an incident where he falls in the backmarker during the 25th lap and lost the lead. Still, he fought back and claimed victory.
- In 1970, a most spectacular loss happened when Jack Brabham lost on the very last corner of the track by crashing into the wall. The race ended up being Jochen Rindt’s win.
- In 1984, Ayrton Senna was robbed of his success, when the race was stopped just as he passed Alain Prost for the leading position. It was the first wet race of the first season in F1.
- 1992 saw an epic battle between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell for the leading position in the last laps of the race. Mansell, who obviously has the faster car, was close behind Senna. However, Senna never let him pass despite Mansell trying all the tricks he could think of. Spectators held their breath as Senna finally crossed the finish line, winning by a matter of only two-tenths of the second. It was an awesome race.
- In 1996, in a Grand Prix race that happened under the rain, only three racers managed to make it to the finish line. This makes the smallest field to ever complete the race.
The success of the Monaco Grand Prix can attribute to all the organizers and the racers who were passionate about the field of racing. Alexandre Noghes may not have never imagined the success of what he started.
People around the world are given something they could enjoy and racers are offered a route to improve their skills and succeed in the field of racing.
Interested? If you’re planning to watch the race personally and travel to Monaco, then you might want to consider booking a hotel 1 year ahead of time.
Even so, you may find that they are fully booked, except for special rooms that come at higher prices. That’s how popular the Monaco Grand Prix is!