The Monaco Grand Prix is all Formula 1 summarized in a weekend. This sport is often understood by what is seen each year (except in the past, due to the health situation) on the streets of the Principality, whose dangerousness increases exponentially compared to other events in the championship, but which cannot be done without.
This circuit has hosted some of the most legendary races in history, some truffled with anecdotes that could only happen here. Some of them made up the legend of pilots of the stature of himself Ayrton Senna, but also that of Michael sSchumacher O Fernando Alonso. Not surprisingly, Monaco is one of the three points of the Triple Crown of motorsport.
The podium ceremony itself here is different: it takes place on the steps of the Automobile Club de Monaco and not on a podium as such. The reason is purely protocol: the Monegasque royal family, whose head is now Albert of Monaco Together with his wife, Princess Charlenne, they cannot be placed below anyone, and that includes pilots.
This is just one of the peculiarities of a circuit in which, although you do not usually see many overtaking (Juan Pablo Montoya he won here in 2003 without any overtaking on the track) with a lot of history.
Divers to the rescue
Spending in the middle of the bay not only makes the yachts become improvised nightclubs before, during and after each Grand Prix, but it also forces the existence of some somewhat particular curators: the divers.
The Monegasque Navy is in charge of lending to some of its agents so that, stuffed in neoprene, they are vigilant in the event of an accident that, nowadays, is very difficult to happen, but yes in the past. The legendary Alberto Ascari he ended up in the water in 1955 and saved his life thanks to being rescued, to name one of the most serious incidents.
Less luck had Lorenzo Bandini: He died of injuries caused by his car fire in 1967 and, since then, straw bales have not been used to limit chicanes. Other times, other risks.
Chaotic races: 1982, the race that nobody wanted to finish
The difficulty of the Monaco circuit multiplies exponentially when it rains. There are countless appointments here that were resolved ahead of time and in situations of water, leading to unexpected endings or, at least, impossible to foresee.
Of all of them, heThe 1982 date takes the cake. The last three laps had everything, including five different leaders. It started Alain Prost, but crashed in the rain; half a turn later, he spun Ricardo Patrese and left the race head to Didier Pironi, who already had his Ferrari without a nose due to a touch with the wall … but it did not last long: he ran out of gas in the middle of the tunnel. Andrea de Cesaris he was seen first in the final stretch of the test, but he did not win it either: he also ran out of fuel. Derek Daly, which only had half a front wing left, did not win either due to a broken gearbox and when it seemed that the Lotus were going to win … Patrese started his car and managed to take the victory. He was the only one to complete the race.
Without being such a beast, the 1996 appointment was similar: only four riders finished in the rain, of which the first was Olivier Panis to achieve his first and only victory in Formula 1.
Senna’s ‘birth’, Ickx’s bribery, and the prostitutes: 1984
If there is a race that possibly changed the history of contemporary Formula 1 it was Monaco in 1984. That day, in the words of the then commentator (and 1976 world champion) James Hunt, “The figure of Ayrton Senna was born”.
It was a chaotic weekend, which started with the accident of Martin Brundle in the free. Although he ran back to the pits to catch a substitute car (the so-called ‘muleto’, which disappeared a few years ago), he was not allowed to go out on the track again because he had suffered a contusion: he did not remember how he had arrived from the scene of the coup.
After a pole of Alain Prost (McLaren’s first with a TAG-Porsche engine), began to juggle with force which led to problems for those in front … while behind a beardless Ayrton Senna at the wheel of the Toleman (predecessor of the current Alpine) was removing rivals one after another, in one of his most legendary performances.
The rain king got to overtake Prost himself on lap 33, but the Frenchman had been waving his arms for quite a few times to stop him. The ex-pilot Jacky IckxThen the race director, he stopped her … but by regulation the classification of lap 32 was considered good, with which the winner was Prost and not Senna. Ickx was removed from his post after this Grand Prix, accused of having favored McLaren because he had interests: in addition to being a race director, he was a Porsche driver in sport prototypes.
That year, Niki Lauda won the World Cup (the third and last in his private account) by only 0.5 points over Prost, partly because in this race they only gave half: if Ickx had allowed the test to continue and the French had not finished, as it seemed, who knows.
Another anecdote, which is lost in the haze between reality and legend, of this Grand Prix occurred outside the circuit: they say that Lauda hired a group of prostitutes to send Prost, who was his McLaren partner, to the room. The Frenchman spent the night with them and the next morning he was much more tired than he should have been.
Best lap ever: Monaco 1988
Ayrton Senna is the protagonist of one of the most remembered images in the history of Formula 1 thanks to his pole at the 1988 Monaco GP. Possibly the most perfect lap ever made at this circuit.
When Senna recalled this classification (he put Prost second and a half with that legendary McLaren MP4 / 4), he claimed that he lost consciousness and had a mystical experience. “I saw God, I don’t know how to explain it. I saw him,” he later admitted.
The next day, in the race, he spun and stayed crashed at the tunnel entrance. He never forgave her.
The lost diamond … or stolen?
With Monaco being such a special race, many teams choose special decorations to commemorate it. Red Bull He did it multiple times: from dressing his pilots and mechanics like Imperial soldiers from Star Wars on the occasion of the premiere of one of his films to disguise his boss, Christian Horner, from Superman and throw him into the pool covered only with the cape of the son of Krypton.
Worse came the idea for Jaguar, whose great promo for ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ involved placing a 300,000 diamond on the nose of their cars.
The idea was expensive: Christian Client He ran with the jewel set in the nose of his car, but an accident (which in Monaco is relatively common) forced him to abandon.
When they picked up the car parts, the diamond was not. Whether it ended up in the sea, in the sewer, in the pocket of a very clever commissioner … or in the feverish mind of an advertising man was never known: what better way than to talk about a thieves movie than with the theft of a Diamond?
Schumacher’s parking lot and Alonso anger
Fernando Alonso has one of its great moments, although not for the better, here. In the 2006 edition he saw how the bad arts of Michael sSchumacher (his rival) deprived him of pole because the German caused a yellow flag. He literally parked his Ferrari at the Rascasse, preventing the Spaniard from improving his time.
The anger of Flavio Briatore, head of Renault, and of Alonso himself for such an action was enormous, with threats even of not taking part in the race. Among other things, they said that Ferrari was the trickiest team in Formula 1 and that the FIA was in cahoots with them.
Four years later, Alonso was the leader of Ferrari.