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:
- F1 circuits history part 1: 1950
- F1 circuits history part 7: 1971-74
- F1 circuits history part 13: 1995-98
- F1 circuits history part 15: 2003-07
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