On This Day In F1 – The Monaco Grand Prix Was Controversially Red-Flagged – WTF1

On This Day In F1 – The Monaco Grand Prix Was Controversially Red-Flagged

1956 Belgian Grand Prix
Juan Manuel Fangio led the early, wet stages of the race before the gearbox of his Ferrari broke, leaving Peter Collins to take the win. Paul Frere finished second – the only podium of what was his last grand prix – ahead of Stirling Moss, who’d taken over Cesare Perdisa’s Maserati after his own had lost a wheel.

1962 Monaco Grand Prix
Graham Hill had an enormous lead in the race when his BRM’s engine failed just eight laps from the end of the race. That left Bruce McLaren to win ahead of the two Ferraris of Phil Hill and Lorenzo Bandini, as Jim Clark – who at one point had also looked a potential winner – retired at half-distance with transmission problems.

1973 Monaco Grand Prix
Jackie Stewart equalled Jim Clark’s win record with his 25th career victory, despite making a bad start which dropped him from first to fourth. However, Francois Cevert dropped back after hitting a kerb on the opening lap, Clay Regazzoni spun coming out of the tunnel, and Ronnie Peterson lost pace when his Lotus developed a minor engine issue, promoting Stewart back to the front. Emerson Fittipaldi chased him hard all the way to finish just a second behind, while his brother Wilson was unlucky not to score a podium – his Brabham conked out with just eight laps to go. Peterson limped home to third ahead of a recovering Cevert, Peter Revson and Denny Hulme. This was also James Hunt’s F1 debut – he was running sixth with three laps to go when his engine failed.

1984 Monaco Grand Prix
A race so iconic it almost needs no explanation. In soaking wet conditions, a rookie Ayrton Senna carved through the field in his Toleman, reeling in leader Alain Prost at an incredible rate when, due to the rain, the race was red-flagged after just 31 laps.

It was a slightly controversial call as former F1 driver Jacky Ickx – an incredible wet-weather racer himself – was the person who took the decision to stop the race. He was also a factory Porsche driver, and Prost’s McLaren was powered by a Porsche (branded as TAG) engine.

It left so many questions unanswered. Could Senna have won? Earlier in the race he’d grazed a barrier, damaging his suspension, and it may not have lasted the distance anyway. Might Stefan Bellof, who’d been running third for Tyrrell and was catching both drivers – have ultimately won the race? That seems likely, although the Tyrrell team was later disqualified from the entire season for running underweight cars, so he wouldn’t have won the race anyway, meaning the red flag probably made very little difference. Except to the championship standings – had the race run the distance and awarded full points, Prost would have beaten teammate Niki Lauda to the championship, even if he’d finished second.

Top image (c) XPB Images

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