The high-octane spectacle, that we get roused for today is largely thanks to the pencil-moustached, Prince Rainier
III. Whilst it’s one of the oldest racing events in Europe, inaugurated in 1929, Monaco faced financial turmoil on
the death of his father, Prince Louis II. Along with investment from Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis,
Prince Rainier is credited with filling the coffers of the Monaco treasury, thus reviving the Grand Prix de Monaco
in the ‘50s.
Known simply as “The Maestro,” Juan Manuel Fangio dominated the decade, but it wasn’t until the 1960s, that nearly
every year – a golden wreath was awarded to a British driver. Racing for Cooper-Climax, Stirling Moss started of the
winning frenzy in 1960, whilst Graham Hill, who rightly took the monikers of “King of Monaco”, and “Mr. Monaco”, won
it an astonishing five times. And in the middle of it all, long-time Monaco resident Sir Jackie Stewart was on the
If the arrival of Grace Kelly into the House of Grimaldi injected a strong dose of sophisticated Hollywood glamour
into the principality in the ‘50s, her daughter Princess Caroline, the ultimate ‘70s siren, represented a shift in
the zeitgeist – a decade when music, fashion, art and politics collided like no other. It was a time when louche,
but no less successful characters were the cynosure of all eyes on the international social scene. Against all
advice, nightclub impresario Régine Zylberberg opened a Regine’s nightclub outpost in Monte Carlo. She ended up
having three clubs there at one time.
A high-living lothario, with an insatiable appetite for partying, exemplified by the words "Sex, breakfast of
champions" sewn on to his overalls, James Hunt took F1 with him into the decade. With their lamb-chop sideburns,
Emmerson Fittipaldi and Andretti were also worthy style inspirations, whilst the pictures of Sir Jackie Stewart
strolling along the harbour with his wife Helen in flared trousers, aviators and a tight-fitting printed shirt
remain iconic. However, on the track it’s probably best remembered for the epic contests between Hunt and Niki
Lauda, the latter wining the Grand Prix de Monaco in 1975 and 1976.
The late 1980s and early 1990s, were dominated by the ethereal Brazilian, Ayrton Senna. In recent times, Lewis
Hamilton has battled with Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel – and like the Hunt and Lauda contest, his duel with Max
Verstappen for last year’s overall championship won’t be forgotten.
Monaco-born driver Charles Leclerc will be looking to move ahead of Verstappen this weekend in the drivers’ points
standings. He’s also vehemently condemned the possibility of the Grand Prix de Monaco dropping from the calendar
altogether. “F1 without Monaco is not F1”, he said earlier in the week. Monaco’s contract with F1 expires next year,
but if the spectators share the same sentiment as the drivers – and together deliver a blazing atmosphere on Sunday,
surely it will be considered undroppable.