Maranello, 19 May – This will be the 61st Monaco Grand Prix to count for the Formula 1 World Championship, the 72nd in all. The track layout has always used the same roads in the Principality, although over the years, there have been ten slight modifications to its length which is currently 3.340 kilometres. Ferrari has won eight times, equivalent to 13%.
The first ever Monaco GP in 1950 was the second ever championship race and Scuderia Ferrari’s first. 19 cars started but 10 of them got no further than the opening lap. Giuseppe Farina, in an Alfa Romeo crashed at Tabac and was hit by Jose Froilan Gonzalez in a Maserati. The road was blocked and the rest of the group couldn’t avoid them and it ended in a carambolage. Juan Manuel Fangio won for Alfa Romeo, with Alberto Ascari second in the Ferrari.
The race did not return to the calendar until 1955, when Maurice Trintignant won in a Ferrari. The Frenchman was noted for his tidy style and made the most of the misfortunes of others, winning from ninth. To this day, there has only been one winner who started further back.
Although the Scuderia won elsewhere, victory in the Principality escaped it for 20 years, with Niki Lauda taking the 1975 win in the 312 T and doing it again the following year.
In 1979, it was an all Ferrari front row with Jody Scheckter ahead of Gilles Villeneuve, but only the South African finished where he started. It was the Canadian’s turn two years later in the 126 CK when he made no mistakes, while overtaking Alan Jones in the Williams with just four laps to go. The spectacular win made waves in North America and Gilles and the number 27 Ferrari even featured on the cover of “Time” magazine.
This victory for the Scuderia was followed by another barren patch in Monaco. It took the arrival of Michael Schumacher to see a return to victory. In 1996, the German took pole but failed to finish that crazy race which saw only four cars make it to the line, the winner being Olivier Panis, the Frenchman having started 14th. The next year, at the wheel of the F310B, the German outclassed the field to win with 53 seconds in hand over Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart and over a minute in front of his team-mate, Eddie Irvine.
Two years later, Schumacher and Irvine finished first and second, while in 2001 Michael won for the fifth time in the Principality to equal Graham Hill’s achievement, only one win short of the Monaco record holder, Ayrton Senna.
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