Monaco Grand Prix

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Monaco Grand Prix
Circuit de Monaco
Laps 78
Circuit length 3.34 km (2.08 miles)
Race length 260.52 km (161.88 miles)
Lap record {{{Lap_record}}}
Most wins by single driver Ayrton Senna (6)
Most wins by single constructor McLaren (13)
Last race ( 2006):
Winner Fernando Alonso
Winning team Renault
Winning time 1:43:43.116
Pole time 1:13.898 (DQ)
Pole driver Michael Schumacher (DQ)
Fernando Alonso
Pole team Ferrari (DQ)
Fastest lap 1:15.143
Fastest lap driver Michael Schumacher
Fastest lap team Ferrari

The Monaco Grand Prix (Grand Prix de Monaco) is a Formula One race held on the streets of the Principality of Monaco. Run annually since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world alongside the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Its history, the spectacle of the event, and the glamour associated with it result in the race being considered the jewel of the Formula One crown.

The Monaco Grand Prix predates the organised World Championships; the Principality's first Grand Prix race was organised in 1929 by Antony Noghes, under the auspices of Prince Louis II through the "Automobile Club de Monaco" (A.C.M.). That first race was won by William Grover-Williams (a.k.a. "Williams") driving a Bugatti. The event was part of the pre- Second World War European Championship and was included in the first Formula One World Championship in 1950. The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, whose many elevation changes and tight corners make it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. On the race weekend frogmen (divers) are employed to rescue any drivers who happen to crash into the harbour.

Brazil's Ayrton Senna has won the most Grands Prix here, taking six victories, five consecutive from 1989 to 1993, earning him the title "Master of Monaco". However it is Graham Hill, a 5-time winner of the race, who is known as the "King of Monaco"., predating Senna.



Like many European races, the Monaco Grand Prix predates the organised World Championships; the Principality's first Grand Prix race was organised in 1929 by Antony Noghes, under the auspices of Prince Louis II through the "Automobile Club de Monaco" (A.C.M.) of which Alexandre Noghes (Antony's father) was the founding president. The Grand Prix was the result of a challenge for the Automobile Club, which could be recognised internationally only if it could stage a race in the very limited territory of the Principality. The Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, organized by the A.C.M. since 1911, could not be considered as it used the roads of other European countries.

The inaugural Monaco Grand Prix was won by William Grover-Williams (a.k.a. "Williams") driving a Bugatti Type 35B painted in what would become the famous British racing green colour. There is no relationship between "Williams" and the later Formula One team of the same name. The Monaco Grand Prix counted toward the European Championship from 1936 to 1939 (although the race was not held in 1938).

The Monaco Grand Prix was one of the races in the inaugural Formula One World Championship in 1950, with Juan Manuel Fangio winning that year. It was also Fangio's first win in a World Championship race. However, there was no race in 1951, and in 1952 the Monaco Grand Prix took place but was run to sports car rules. Since 1955, the Monaco Grand Prix has taken place each year and has been raced as part of the Formula One World Championship.

Notable Monaco Grands Prix

This was the first Grand Prix where grid positions were decided by practice time rather than the established method of balloting. Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari exchanged the lead many times during the race and the race was settled in Varzi's favour on the final lap when Nuvolari's car caught fire due to over-revving.
Graham Hill took pole position, and led from the start. On lap 25, Hill went up an escape road to avoid hitting a slow backmarker. Rejoining in fifth place, Hill set several new lap records on the way to winning. The race was also notable for the debut of Honda in the World Championship, and for Paul Hawkins' Lotus ending up in the harbour. A similar incident was included in the 1966 film Grand Prix.
René Arnoux led the first 15 laps, before retiring. Alain Prost then led until four laps from the end, when he spun off on the wet track, hit the barriers and lost a wheel, giving Riccardo Patrese the lead. Patrese himself spun with only a lap and a half to go, letting Didier Pironi through to the front, followed by Andrea de Cesaris. On the last lap, Pironi ran out of fuel in the tunnel, letting de Cesaris past, who also then ran out of fuel. In the meantime Patrese had bump-started his car and went through to score his first Grand Prix win.
Formation lap for the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
Formation lap for the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
The race started 45 minutes late after heavy rain. Prost led briefly before Nigel Mansell overtook him on lap 11. Mansell crashed out five laps later, letting Prost back into the lead. On lap 27, Prost led from Ayrton Senna's Toleman and Stefan Bellof's Tyrrell. Senna was catching Prost and Bellof was catching both of them. However on lap 31, the race was controversially stopped. Later, FISA fined the clerk of the course, Jacky Ickx, $6,000 and suspended his licence for not consulting the stewards before stopping the race. The drivers received only half of the points as the race had been stopped before 2/3 of the total length had been run. If Prost had finished in second and the race been stopped after 2/3 of the distance had been run, he would had received 1.5 more points in the championship. At the end of the season Prost lost the title to Niki Lauda by half a point, the closest margin ever.
Alain Prost took pole, but was penalised for jumping the start, and could only recover to fourth place. Ayrton Senna was victorious, breaking Graham Hill's record for most wins at the Monaco Grand Prix. Damon Hill came second and Jean Alesi came third. "If my father was around now, he would be the first to congratulate Ayrton," Hill stated after the race.
Michael Schumacher took pole position, but crashed out on the first lap. Damon Hill led the first 40 laps before his engine expired in the tunnel. Jean Alesi took the lead but suffered suspension failure 20 laps later. Olivier Panis, who started in 14th place, moved into the lead, and stayed there until the end of the race, being pushed all the way by David Coulthard. It was Panis' only win, and the last for his Ligier team. Only four cars finished the race.
The qualifying session was drawing to a close, with Michael Schumacher provisionally on pole position, when Schumacher stopped his car at the Rascasse hairpin, blocking the track. A result of this was that yellow flags were waved so that competitors were obliged to slow down, thus meaning they would not be able to beat Schumacher's lap time. Although Schumacher claimed it was a genuine accident, the FIA disagreed and Schumacher was sent to the back of the grid. The race proved to be a battle between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen, which was settled when Räikkönen's McLaren caught fire. Juan Pablo Montoya finished second and David Coulthard took Red Bull Racing's first podium finish in third.

The Circuit

The exit of Piscine, leading into La Rascasse.
The exit of Piscine, leading into La Rascasse.
Circuit map for the Circuit de Monaco.
Circuit map for the Circuit de Monaco.

The Grand Prix of Monaco is held each year on the Circuit de Monaco, which consists of the city streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, which includes the famous harbour. It is unique in having been held on the same circuit every time it has been run over such a long period - only the Italian Grand Prix has a similarly lengthy and close relationship with a single circuit. The erecting of the circuit takes six weeks, and the removal after the race takes three weeks. The race circuit has many elevation changes, tight corners, and a narrow course that make it perhaps the most demanding track in Formula One racing. On the race weekend frogmen (divers) are employed to rescue any drivers who happen to crash into the harbour, although as of 2006 only two have done so, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in 1955. Despite the fact that the course has had minor changes several times during its history, it is still is considered the ultimate test of driving skills in Formula One, and if it were not already an existing Grand Prix, it would not be permitted to be added to the schedule, for safety reasons. To say that the Monaco circuit is an anachronism unsuitable for the race is not entirely correct as it was considered unsafe in 1929 when racing began at Monaco.

Nelson Piquet was fond of saying that racing at Monaco was "like trying to cycle round your living room," but added that "a win here was worth two anywhere else".

Monaco is approximately 20 minutes from Nice by train. There is a helicopter shuttle service to and from Monte Carlo, which takes roughly seven minutes. France's Nice Cote d'Azur is Monaco's nearest international airport, lying approximately 37km away. Monte Carlo can be reached by car by using the A8 highway. There are also rail links available from Nice and a shuttle-bus that runs every 15 minutes. Bus journeys to Monaco take around 45 minutes.


The Grand Prix of Monaco is organized each year by the Automobile Club de Monaco which also runs the Monte Carlo Rally and the Monaco Kart Cup.

The organisation of the Monaco Grand Prix differs in several ways from that of every other Grands Prix on the Formula One calendar. First practice for the race is held on the Thursday preceding the race, not Friday as for all other Formula One races. Monaco is currently the only Formula One race held in the centre of a town, so having first practice on the Thursday allows the streets to be opened to the public again on the Friday, helping ease the disruption caused by the event. Until the late 1990s the Monaco Grand Prix started at 3pm local time - an hour later than other European Formula One races. In recent years the race has fallen in line with the other races for the convenience of television viewers.

There is no podium as such at the race. Instead a section of the track is closed after the race to act as parc fermé, a place where the cars are held for official inspection. The first three drivers in the race leave their cars there and walk directly to the royal box where the 'podium' ceremony is held, a location much closer to the crowd than at other races.

Notable drivers

Graham Hill won at Monaco more times than any other British driver.
Graham Hill won at Monaco more times than any other British driver.

Britain's Graham Hill won the prestigious race five times and became known as "King of Monaco" and "Mr. Monaco". Hill, who badly damaged his legs in a crash at the end of the 1970 Formula One season, continued to compete, but after failing to qualify for the 1975 race he retired to run his Embassy Hill team. His son Damon Hill, himself a world champion and winner of 22 Grands Prix, never won at Monaco, although he managed 2 second places and a pole position in 1995.

Brazil's Ayrton Senna, has won the most Monaco Grands Prix, taking six victories, five of them consecutively from 1989 to 1993, as well as having a total of eight podiums in ten starts, with the other two starts being retirements, one from the lead.

Louis Chiron is the only native of Monaco to have won the race. He took victory in the 1931 race driving a Bugatti. Monaco also provided his best result in the World Championship era, as he took third place in the 1950 Grand Prix.

Stirling Moss won his first Monaco Grand Prix in 1956, but arguably his later victories are the most memorable. In 1959 he started from pole position but retired with axle failure. 1960 saw Moss' independent Rob Walker Lotus win in changeable conditions. The 1961 race saw Moss back in the Rob Walker Lotus, and he fended off three works Ferraris to win the race.

French driver, Alain Prost, has won the Monaco Grand Prix more than any other French driver. As well as his numerous Formula One wins at Monaco, he also won the Monaco Grand Prix support race for Formula Three cars in 1979. The previous year he was arrested at Monaco, but released in time to start the Formula Three race, and he finished fourth.

Triple Crown

The race forms one leg of the so-called ' Triple Crown' of the three most famous motor races in the world, the other two being the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 hours of Le Mans. Graham Hill is the only driver to have completed this Triple Crown, similar to Tennis' Grand Slam, by winning all three. The feat is rendered even more difficult by the fact that the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix both take place during May, with practice for the 500 lasting the duration of the month. Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix and the 2000 Indianapolis 500, is the only driver active in 2006 who has won two legs of the title.


In awarding its first Gold medal for motor sport to Prince Rainier III, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) characterised the Monaco Grand Prix as contributing "an exceptional location of glamour and prestige" to motor sport and this view is often repeated by journalists and companies promoting holiday packages for the Grand Prix. It has been run under the patronage of three generations of Monaco's royal family: Louis II, Rainier III and Albert II, all of whom have taken a close interest in it. A large part of the principality's income comes from tourists attracted by the warm climate and the famous casino, but it is also a tax haven and is home to many millionaires, including several Formula One drivers.

Monaco has produced only three native Formula One drivers, Louis Chiron, André Testut and Olivier Beretta, but its tax status has made it home to many drivers over the years, including Gilles Villeneuve and Ayrton Senna. Of the 2006 Formula One contenders, several have property in the principality, including Jenson Button and David Coulthard, who is part owner of a hotel there. Because of the small size of the town and the location of the circuit, drivers whose races end early can usually get back to their apartments in minutes. Ayrton Senna famously retired to his apartment after crashing out of the lead of the 1988 race.

Winners of the Monaco Grands Prix

Repeat Winners (Drivers who have won more than once)

Number of Wins Driver Years Won
6 Brazil Ayrton Senna 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993
5 United Kingdom Graham Hill 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969
Germany Michael Schumacher 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001
4 France Alain Prost 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988
3 United Kingdom Stirling Moss 1956, 1960, 1961
United Kingdom Jackie Stewart 1966, 1971, 1973
2 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio 1950, 1957
France Maurice Trintignant 1955, 1958
Austria Niki Lauda 1975, 1976
Jody Scheckter 1977, 1979
United Kingdom David Coulthard 2000, 2002

Repeat Winners (Contructors)

Only Formula One championship races count; embolded teams are still competing in the Formula One championship
Number of Wins Constructor Years Won
13 United Kingdom McLaren 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990,
1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2002,
8 Italy Ferrari 1955, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1997,
1999, 2001
7 United Kingdom Lotus 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974,
5 United Kingdom British Racing Motors 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1972
3 United Kingdom Cooper 1958, 1959, 1962
United Kingdom Williams 1980, 1983, 2003
2 Australia Brabham 1967, 1982
Italy Maserati 1956, 1957
France Renault 2004, 2006

By Year

A dark background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

Year Driver Constructor Location Report
2006 Spain Fernando Alonso Renault Monaco Report
2005 Finland Kimi Räikkönen McLaren- Mercedes Monaco Report
2004 Italy Jarno Trulli Renault Monaco Report
2003 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Williams- BMW Monaco Report
2002 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren- Mercedes Monaco Report
2001 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Monaco Report
2000 United Kingdom David Coulthard McLaren- Mercedes Monaco Report
1999 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Monaco Report
1998 Finland Mika Häkkinen McLaren- Mercedes Monaco Report
1997 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari Monaco Report
1996 France Olivier Panis Ligier- Mugen Honda Monaco Report
1995 Germany Michael Schumacher Benetton- Renault Monaco Report
1994 Germany Michael Schumacher Benetton- Ford Monaco Report
1993 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren- Ford Monaco Report
1992 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren- Honda Monaco Report
1991 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren- Honda Monaco Report
1990 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren- Honda Monaco Report
1989 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren- Honda Monaco Report
1988 France Alain Prost McLaren- Honda Monaco Report
1987 Brazil Ayrton Senna Lotus- Honda Monaco Report
1986 France Alain Prost McLaren- TAG Monaco Report
1985 France Alain Prost McLaren- TAG Monaco Report
1984 France Alain Prost McLaren- TAG Monaco Report
1983 Finland Keke Rosberg Williams- Ford Monaco Report
1982 Italy Riccardo Patrese Brabham- Ford Monaco Report
1981 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari Monaco Report
1980 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Williams- Ford Monaco Report
1979 Jody Scheckter Ferrari Monaco Report
1978 France Patrick Depailler Tyrrell- Ford Monaco Report
1977 Jody Scheckter Wolf- Ford Monaco Report
1976 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari Monaco Report
1975 Austria Niki Lauda Ferrari Monaco Report
1974 Sweden Ronnie Peterson Lotus- Ford Monaco Report
1973 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Tyrrell- Ford Monaco Report
1972 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise British Racing Motors Monaco Report
1971 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Tyrrell- Ford Monaco Report
1970 Austria Jochen Rindt Lotus- Ford Monaco Report
1969 United Kingdom Graham Hill Lotus- Ford Monaco Report
1968 United Kingdom Graham Hill Lotus- Ford Monaco Report
1967 New Zealand Denny Hulme Brabham- Repco Monaco Report
1966 United Kingdom Jackie Stewart British Racing Motors Monaco Report
1965 United Kingdom Graham Hill British Racing Motors Monaco Report
1964 United Kingdom Graham Hill British Racing Motors Monaco Report
1963 United Kingdom Graham Hill British Racing Motors Monaco Report
1962 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper- Climax Monaco Report
1961 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus- Climax Monaco Report
1960 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Lotus- Climax Monaco Report
1959 Australia Jack Brabham Cooper- Climax Monaco Report
1958 France Maurice Trintignant Cooper- Climax Monaco Report
1957 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Maserati Monaco Report
1956 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Maserati Monaco Report
1955 France Maurice Trintignant Ferrari Monaco Report
1952 Italy Vittorio Marzotto Ferrari Monaco Report
1950 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo Monaco Report
1948 Italy Giuseppe Farina Maserati Monaco Report
1937 Germany Manfred von Brauchitsch Mercedes-Benz Monaco Report
1936 Germany Rudolf Caracciola Mercedes-Benz Monaco Report
1935 Italy Luigi Fagioli Mercedes-Benz Monaco Report
1934 France Guy Moll Alfa Romeo Monaco Report
1933 Italy Achille Varzi Bugatti Monaco Report
1932 Italy Tazio Nuvolari Alfa Romeo Monaco Report
1931 Monaco Louis Chiron Bugatti Monaco Report
1930 France René Dreyfus Bugatti Monaco Report
1929 United Kingdom William Grover-Williams Bugatti Monaco Report
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