The famous Monte-Carlo street circuit has held the Monaco Grand Prix since 1929, and was on the first world championship calendar in 1950.
Since those early days the track has evolved, sprouting new corners, shifting its pits between three different locations and being completely overhauled to improve safety.
The onboard videos from the 1970s up to the present day show how the challenge of Monaco has changed.
1976 – Patrick Depailler, Tyrrell-Cosworth
Patrick Depailler in the unorthodox six-wheeled Tyrrell of 1976. The Monte-Carlo circuit had been re-configured three years early diverting the track around the swimming pool, and thereafter sweeping into the very tight Rascasse corner around Rosie’s bar.
Depailler qualified fourth and finished third, his team mate Jody Scheckter second behind Niki Lauda’s Ferrari.
1981 – Alain Prost, Renault
Alain Prost threads his turbo-charged Renault through the winding streets of Monaco. The abrupt power delivery of the turbos amplified the challenge of racing between the walls.
After qualifying ninth Prost retired with engine failure in 1981. The following year he was leading with only a couple of laps to go when he crashed at the harbour front as rain began to fall.
1985 – Ayrton Senna, Lotus-Renault
The 1985 race saw the final race of the old, fast harbour front chicane – watch how Senna threads his Lotus Renault turbo through it.
Senna scored his third career pole position at Monte-Carlo in 1985. Engine failure ended his race that year but he would go on to win the race a record six times.
1998 – Giancarlo Fisichella, Benetton-Playlife
In this video we can see the new harbour chicane and also the changes to the swimming complex that were made in 1997, moving the barriers back.
Giancarlo Fisichella has often shone at Monaco although he has never won the race. He qualified third and finished second fior Benetton in 1998.
2007 – Christijan Albers, Spyker
In 2003 more of the barriers were moved back and the entry to Rascasse was eased. In 2006 Michael Schumacher infamously stopped his car at the exit of Rascasse, feigning error, in an attempt to prevent the Fernando Alonso from taking pole position off him.
Christijan Albers started last in the 2007 race and was dropped by the Spyker team four races later.
You can read more about the changes to the Monaco Grand Prix circuit over the years in these articles:
12 comments on “Video: Four decades of Monaco onboard”
18th May 2008, 14:39
Nice selection of videos, Keith.
18th May 2008, 17:36
I rate Tabac as the most difficult turn in modern era. 220 km/h, 4th gear, barriers surronding with no margen for error, seems to me the most spectacular point of the season. And modern cars, with tons of downforce, make it more impressive. But I feel it was a bit easier yesterdays. On the other hand, what piece of fast chicane we lost….. oooooouuuuuuaaaaaaauuuuu…. Why don’t they bring it back? With these modern anticrash tanks called Formula 1 cars it wouldn’t be too dangerous indeed…
18th May 2008, 18:39
You can see Dapailler’s feet work the pedals, nice…
In much of the footage there are *gasp* spectators leaning on the armcos, and I hope those are marshalls standing on the kerb…
I almost missed the difference in the chicane, but by the 1998 footage I could tell, by bringing the road out farther, that section became much slower. You’ll also notice that the camera crews are now wise to the problems of photographing the cars as they pass through the tunnel.
I used to joke that there is a cliche in Japanese racing video games of the 90’s, that they all have a track that contains a suspension bridge and a tunnel. I believe the suspension bridge is returning to F1 through Singapore, isn’t it?
18th May 2008, 20:48
One of my favourite bits of last year was watching Alonso and Hamilton see who could get the car most sideways going into the swimming pool
18th May 2008, 23:48
Just wondered whether the Senna footage is from 1985 or 1986. The top left corner of the video says 1986?
19th May 2008, 3:56
I love the tunnel and swimming pool sections, with the armco barriers looming up as if to greet the first poor bugger to make a mistake.
My favourite lap of Monaco in recent times was Raikkonen’s pole lap back in 2005, when he pipped Fernando by half a second. The aerial shot of Kimi going through the swimming pool complex was outstanding, as if the McLaren was on rails.
There is no other street course on earth that can generate that much emotion, unbelievable.
P.S Keith. A great selection of videos mate, 10/10!
19th May 2008, 4:30
I agree Keith, this is a fabulous collection of videos.
There is a great one on youtuube of Senna in about 89/90 or 1991. In 1989 he took pole by over a second from his teammate, the old Master of Monaco Alain Prost, and more then two seconds to the third place driver. Surely one of the greatest pieces of driving ever.
Also, I would advice any reader who has enjoyed this article to watch the first twenty minutes of the movie “Grand Prix” for wonderful onboard footage from the 60s. It really is fantastic.
19th May 2008, 4:55
Too bad the 6-wheeled Tyrrell disapeared. It was a most interesting car & I feel they never got the full potential out of it.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
19th May 2008, 9:26
Teamorder – Yep it is from 1985. The harbour chicane was changed for 1986, also you can see him pass an ’85-spec Arrows and Brabham during the video.
19th May 2008, 13:51
Wonderful videos, I especially enjoyed the opportunity to see the front end geometry on the Tyrrell, I always wondered what it looked like driving.
Who was the commentator in the 1998 video? Not sure how it would translate to a race but I enjoyed the semi-breathless description of the track =)
19th May 2008, 23:18
(Senna video)…I can’t imagine trying to harness 1400 horsepower through these streets…unreal.
20th May 2008, 0:53
The 1998 video is Martin Brundle doing his usual track walk-through on ITV. I usually space-out while watching them, but…yeah, this one is fascinating. Probably because he actually raced at Monaco, while half of the current tracks were added after he retired.
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