By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Monaco, the big one; the grandest of all the Grand Prix. Welcome to our Grand Prix profile of the Monaco.
Formula One’s jewel race and contribution to motor racing’s triple crown was first run in 1929, organized by the Automobile Club de Monaco’s Anthony Noghes with the backing of Prince Louis II and local driver Louis Chiron.
The race was created to put Monaco on the map and it succeeded beyond all expectations. The first race was won by William Grover Williams(no relation to Sir Frank Williams eponymous team) in a Bugatti. Chiron missed the event because he was in America racing in the Indianapolis 500, a scheduling conflict that continues to this day.
The Circuit de Monaco snakes its way up and down through the tight streets on the Monte Carlo neighborhood packing 19 famous turns with names like Rascasse, Beau Rivage and Mirabeau into just 2.074 miles in its current and seventh iteration. Considered the ultimate challenge in F1, it has long separated the good from the great, names like Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher loom large in its history. Both maximum downforce and maximum concentration are necessary, safety cars are often inevitable. Current F1 drivers have to shift over 40 times per lap and only spend 34% of the time on full throttle as even Monaco’s main straight isn’t even a true straightaway.
Only two major motor races have a longer history than Monaco and they fittingly represent the other two legs of the triple crown; the Indy 500 and the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Current drivers who have won at Monaco include Kimi Raikkonen (2005), Fernando Alonso (2006-2007), Lewis Hamilton (2008), Jenson Button (2009), Sebastian Vettel (2011) and Nico Rosberg who has won the race the last three years in succession. Rosberg will be taking aim at the history books this weekend in the hopes of becoming just the second man since Senna to win at Monaco four times in a row.
After Red Bull’s shock victory in Spain, there is more pressure on Mercedes than at any point in recent seasons. Rosberg could claim a historic fourth win, Hamilton a second. Ferrari could give Raikkonen or Vettel a second triumph or Red Bull could deliver Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen to eternal Monte Carlo glory.
Image: Hoch Zwei/Mercedes