Grand Prix 2021 Monaco Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Many of our loyal readers will have noticed that this seasons PQR threads have taken on a more frivolous tone. I feel that in these trying times a little humour goes a long way. Having said that however, we are now going to discuss the Monaco GP so a different tone is required.

Monaco is the jewel in F1’s crown. It is the fresh crisp linen on clean bedding day. It is the smell of new mown hay on a warm summers evening. It is to F1 what that first visit to the toilet after a long drive home is to relief. A special place for special people. Racing in Monte Carlo gives the average person a chance to see how the rich and famous live. To look down lovingly on the chosen few in their yachts and trackside balconies while being grateful to spend time in such giddy company.

To honour this track then, I will review 3 classic races that made front page headlines the world over and helped contribute to the myth and the legend that is the Monaco grand prix circuit.

Firstly, we must start with the absolute classic that was the 1966 Monaco GP. Few would have predicted at the start of this race that impact it would have on the world championship. A championship that would end in tragedy and go right down to the wire. The race weekend saw a close fight between the Brit, Scott Stoddard and American Pete Aron in the racing green and gold Jordan cars and their rivals Jean-Pierre Sarti and Nino Barlini in the Ferraris. Few remember now that the opening laps were quite dull. As the mid race point approached however, Pete Aron started to experience gear box issues. Desperately trying to fend of Stoddard, who had been gaining on him lap by lap, Aron struggled to keep the car in gear. Coming on to the waterfront stretch of the track Aron thrust his arm in the air to allow Stoddard to pass when suddenly the engine on his Jordan seized and he lost control sending Stoddard into a fiery crash and pitching both men and cars into the harbour. Stoddard’s injuries were severe and enough to see him miss a significant part of the season while Aron was immediately fired from the Jordan team. The impact this had on the season was significant. Going into the final round at Monza, Stoddard had made an amazing recovery and, with Aron now racing for the Japanese Yamura team, any one of the four drivers could still win the title. What happened at that race will have to wait for another day.

The next race I would like to focus on involves sports cars. Another class of racing which alongside rallying, has left its mark on the principality. The 1977 Trans-France Race was an absorbing battle won in truly remarkable fashion. The race unfolded into a four-way battle between Jim Douglas driving a Volkswagen, Diane Darcy in a Lancia, the German Bruno Von Stickle and the Frenchman Claude Gilbert. The battle between the four of them was fierce and even at times potentially lethal. Darcy was first to retire when her Lancia failed, and this was followed shortly after by Gilbert departing from the race. Von Stickle however, still held a commanding lead and would be extremely difficult to pass as the cars headed into the narrow streets of Monaco. It was then that Douglas pulled off a move in the number 53 Volkswagen that is still being talked about today. As the two cars entered the narrow-tunnelled section of the F1 circuit, instead of passing Von Stickle, Douglas drove his car firstly along the barrier and then up the tunnel wall and finally upside down along the tunnel roof. It was a thrilling victory and marked the 20th win for Jim Douglas and the Volkswagen car. Hearts were also set racing when it was announced that Jim Douglas and Diane Darcy had fallen in love after the race.

Finally, here's a more recent race that captured the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Another type of racing that takes place in Monaco usually occurs one or two weeks prior to the F1 GP. The Historic Monaco Grand Prix takes in cars from all over the world and all eras of history. On this occasion the race featured a demonstration race involving cars that had raced in the IRL series in previous years. One of these cars was sponsored by Amreican industrialist Tony Stark. Only a few weeks before Stark had announced to the world that he was the man behind the armour known as Iron Man. His presence in Monaco had already caused headlines when he decided that he was going to replace his regular driver and take to the street track himself. Stark, a keen amateur racing driver acquitted himself well and increased his pace as the race progressed. Suddenly, at around the mid race point, Anton Vanko, a former Stark industries employee with a major grievance against his old boss, encroached on to the race circuit and caused carnage with two electrified whips. Fortunately, Stark managed to just about fend Vanko off and while the number of cars destroyed was high and the fiery explosions seen world-wide on TV looked deadly, no one was seriously injured in the incident.

So, contrary to popular belief, Monaco isn’t a track that’s far too narrow, provides for dull racing and almost no overtaking while only remaining in the calendar because it is a playground for the rich and famous. As these examples above have shown, it provides for thrilling races throughout its history and we all hope that the next GP here will be another of those.
Apparently you can't overtake around Monaco. Someone forgot to tell Gilles Villeneuve this in 1980, and these cars were wider than those on track today.

Cars running nose to tail without either the driver bleating on that it's destroying his tyres or his mechanic on the radio saying the driver needs to watch his brake temperatures. Hard to believe this was what F1 was like.

cider_and_toast - it’s just looking at why the racing was better - cars could follow much closer… even if it was very difficult to overtake, it was possible, for the simple reason that cars were closer to the one in front, meaning that drivers could take advantage of errors, or could throw an opportunistic dive down the inside!
The one place you need Drs but you cant because the extra speed risks the cars vaulting... the section out of the tunnel..

The lap times are too quick for Monte Carlo 73 seconds was Hamilton's fastest lap I still remember Senna doing 1m 22 on his spell binding pole laps. Bring back the manual gearbox and lets see who can concentrate for 78 laps doing over 3000 gear changes the whole race thats a real test
Aero killed all of that. No one likes to talk about it though as they've spent too much money on it.

well that down to the idiots in the rules setting. 2017 they did a questionaire did they & fans said we want less downforce. so of course we had the most downforce an F1 has & will ever have

But even 2011 had great racing…. It’s the tyres at Monaco…
but then with the tyres what do you do because they were the softest tyres in the pirelli range
They can't win with the tyres. Pirelli made softer tyres and got dragged through the mud for "not building a tyre good enough to let drivers go full speed"
i agree with that, tyres do seem to be alot like Brexit. everyone has got demands that are impossible to fulfill. without upsetting a section of fanbase/media

but 1 thing i think is a problem pirelli next season will have been in F1 for as long as Bridgestone were. so how come the wet tyres are still almost unusable
RasputinLives - all I want is a tyre compound that predictably and consistently degrades - not a compound that becomes useless the second you have a single push lap on them…

Monaco has become a ”race“ where drivers are going as slowly as possible in the first 20 odd laps…
Top Bottom