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Classic Monaco Grands Prix

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Andrew Benson | 08:01 UK time, Thursday, 14 May 2009

What a treat we have coming up with the Monaco edition of our classic Formula 1 races series.

With a history that dates back to 1929, there is almost an embarrassment of riches to choose from when it comes to picking great races from Monaco's history.

Monaco might be notorious for being a track where it is virtually impossible to overtake, and there is no doubt that it is an anachronism in the 21st century, but that does nothing to detract from its position as the jewel in F1's crown.

It creates a special atmosphere all of its own - and if there is a more compelling, thrilling and dramatic sight than an F1 car on the limit through the streets of the Principality then I'd like to know what it is.

Anyway, it was not easy, but we have chosen five races that we think give a decent cross-section of the best of the Monaco Grand Prix.

We'd like you to let us know which race you would like to see extended highlights of - and we will publish them next week in the run-up to this year's race.

Please feel free, as always, to tell us of any races you think should have been on the list. We may have thought of them and discarded them for whatever reason. Or we may have simply forgotten. Either way, we could use them as the basis for our choices next year.

So this is the list:

1961 - arguably the greatest performance of Stirling Moss's career, as he fought a lone and ultimately successful battle in his Lotus against the faster Ferraris.

1981 - we make no apologies for Gilles Villeneuve appearing in one of our choices for the second time in a row. The great French Canadian somehow wrestled his "Cadillac" of a Ferrari on to the front row and stayed close enough to the front-runners throughout the race to benefit when problems hit Alan Jones's Williams late in the race.

1982 - one of the most dramatic and topsy-turvy of finishes to a race in the history of F1 as a late-race shower of rain caused havoc and in a race that had five different leaders, two of whom ran out of fuel on the last lap.

1992 - a cakewalk for Nigel Mansell turned into a frantic duel between the Englishman and Ayrton Senna when a loose wheel nut forced Mansell into the pits late in the race.

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1996 - if 1982 was F1 goes wacky races, this was not far short. Only four cars finished as Frenchman Olivier Panis took his only Grand Prix victory - and Ligier's last.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Wow 1961 will be good to see. but I would like to see full highlights of 1996.

  • Comment number 2.

    Presumably there's no video of 1950, when a tidal wave took out half of the competitors on the opening lap... Or the two occasions when drivers span at the chicane and ended up in the harbour (Ascari in '55, and a New Zealander who I forget the name of about 10-15 years later). I'd most like to see '61 out of all those above, though.

  • Comment number 3.

    Would be nice to see 1961 as it was such a long time ago! Second choice would be 1981 though. But to be fair I like watching all the highlights, it's so interesting to see old F1 from the past that I wouldn't mind if you put it all up.

  • Comment number 4.

    1st choice 1996, 2nd choice 1982

  • Comment number 5.

    What about Jochen Rindt's chasing-down of Jack Brabham in 1970? The 'nut brown' Aussie became unusually flustered because of Jochen's amazing burst of speed and made a 'horlicks' of the last corner.

    And couldn't the BBC use its connections to track down some footage of the 1933 battle between Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi? The former's Alfa Romeo caught fire on the last lap after an epic dice.

  • Comment number 6.

    1996 definitely. ;)

  • Comment number 7.

    Would have to be either 82 or 96, would love to see 1989 when James Hunt swore live on air but I know there is no chance of that

  • Comment number 8.

    In terms of driver performance I think Gilles takes the flag again. I believe Pironi hit the barriers three times trying to keep up in qualifying so Ferrari had to fly in a new car and he qualfied in 16th. Villeneuve even made the tactical call of letting Alan Jones go during the race before passing him with six laps to go after he had technical problems.

  • Comment number 9.

    Im going for 96, wet race, only 4 runners made the end, plenty of drama plus we'll get full BBC highlights!!

  • Comment number 10.

    i think the classic monaco grands prix were mansell and sena when mansells wheel came off in pits and a titanic battle began ,And last year when nothing went right for Hamilton in the rain he then got his act together for a great fight back these two are up in the class with sena fangio etc (its also good to watch without having a tea break every 4 mins well done bbc sport for bringing back F1

  • Comment number 11.

    Oooh good choice of races. I'd have to go for 1996 though. A Monaco classic with a surprise winner.

  • Comment number 12.

    If I had the personal choice, I would go for 2008 but out of the list, I would go for 1996.

  • Comment number 13.

    1996, for sure! 1982 wasn't particularly interesting save for the crazy last few laps.

  • Comment number 14.

    We really are spoilt for choice aren't we? It is difficult to pick out just one, or even two. I think I'd have to go with the opportunity to see some really classic highlights in every sense of the word and go with 1961, closely followed by '82, '96, '81, and '92.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hard to believe '84 isn't on there!

    If it's just one race then '61, '82 if a second will be shown, as with Spain. Why not '96? I have the complete season of BBC highlights on DVD (transferred from VHS) already!

  • Comment number 16.

    No contest! It has to be the last few laps of 1992 when Senna and Mansell went at it lap after lap, classic stuff!! 2nd choice would be 1996 when all but 3 cars went out and Panis won!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Would probably vote for 1982.

    (AB: Questionable whether de Cesaris actually led the GP if you count him in your 5, because although he coasted to a halt after Pironi, he hadn't yet overtaken him on the track.)

  • Comment number 18.

    i would vote for 1992, in my opinion some of the best defence driving by Aryton Senna against an unbelieveable faster Mansell.......

  • Comment number 19.

    1996 every time. Was one of the greatest F1 races of all time, let alone one of the greatest Monaco races. Had everything and then some. Was actually concerned you wern't going to include it in your top 5!

  • Comment number 20.

    I would like to see the 1984 race again, very controversial and exciting. It had the emergence of Senna and a great race from Bellof. Should Ickx have stopped the race when he did?

  • Comment number 21.

    1996 for my first choice please, and 1982 for my second.

    Would be great to see the full highlights programme from 1996 please :)

  • Comment number 22.

    I vote for 1996.

  • Comment number 23.

    To see the battle between Mansell and Senna in 1992 would be amazing. I can remember being on the edge of my seat cheering for Mansell to get past with them both driving as close to the barriers as they dared. That was the most memorable race I'd seen.

  • Comment number 24.

    1996, It's still the most exciting race I've seen since I started following Formula 1.

  • Comment number 25.

    1982. Craziest Grand Prix of all time. No-one knew who was going to win after Prost put his Renault in the barriers...

    Plus, it would be great to see some more turbocharged action and old school Formula One again.

    Great to see back on the BBC.

  • Comment number 26.

    1996 due to the pure chaos

  • Comment number 27.

    1961, purely because it's so rare to have the opportunity to watch races from that era.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    I really really like to see 1984, that would be my first choice of all. I don't mean it in a critical way, but I'm personally disappointed it's not there.

    Of those selected, I would like to see 1982 first and 1992 second.

  • Comment number 30.

    1996 can be seen in its entirity on YouTube, in 10 min segments.

  • Comment number 31.

    I would like to see the '96, '99, '04 ,'07 and '08 highlights...or atleast one of them.

  • Comment number 32.

    What about 1984? Senna (and for that matter Stefan Bellof also) giving a wet-weather masterclass? Or Senna and that on-board footage of his 1988 qualifying performance?

    Out of the choices given, I would say 1992...

  • Comment number 33.

    96 or 82 for me.

    Tob ehonest, I know Mansell & Senna scrapping it out is usually pretty good, but remember this is Monaco, where overtaking was pretty impossible anyway, even fairly mediocre drivers can defend their position there!

  • Comment number 34.

    I would most like to see highlights of the 96 race

  • Comment number 35.

    I agree with those about 84 (still reckon Bellof would have caught and passed Senna and won...). I reckon it would have been a good choice. Grateful that 61 is on this list.

    I don't really rate 96 in this company, not saying it was a bad race and is better than some chosen for other GP's this season.

    Of 61, 81, 82 and 92. Very tricky...

    ... Probably 61, due to it's probably one of the oldest races we will be able to choose. Added to the fact that Ginthera and Phil Hill, chasing Moss, made for a good race.

    Though, I'd be happy to see all on highlights (don't worry, I know that's not possible).

  • Comment number 36.

    Incidentally, I do know how to spell Ritchie Ginther's name.

  • Comment number 37.

    Would love to so see last years race lewis in the wet, great driving!

  • Comment number 38.

    1982 please (second choice would be 92)

  • Comment number 39.

    I didn't really rate Lewis' drive last year. It was all about the timing of his barrier swipe and his 2nd pitstop being able to occur on the cross-over point between inters and slicks.

    What gets me more is the Lewis thought he deserved Monaco 07. Ok I get it he pitted a few laps earlier than he could have. But regardless Alonso opened out literally a NINE second gap at one point in the first stint. He lost some time in traffic or maybe he just cooled it because McLaren had told both drivers to ease the pace, but the gap was still 5-odd seconds when Alonso pitted. Does Hamilton think he could pull 9 seconds in the 5 laps extra he proclaimed to have? Alonso had the race pace full stop.
    I disagreed with Mark Hughes' article and opinion that Lewis was the faster of the two. He looked too much at the relative pace of Hamilton and Alonso in practice and qualifying. In the race Alonso had Hamilton's measure.

  • Comment number 40.

    out the 5 chosen i would have 1982 and 1996 as the full BBC highlights but what last years Monaco GP that was the best race at monaco since 1996

  • Comment number 41.

    1996 please!

  • Comment number 42.

    96 Please loads of drama!! 82 a close second though.

  • Comment number 43.

    Amazed 1984 isn't on the list but I'd have to vote for 81 as it was an even bigger challenge for Gilles than Spain afterwards.

  • Comment number 44.

    1996 followed by 1982 please.

  • Comment number 45.

    1961 please! My father was at that race and never tired of describing it to me - even in the midst of us watching Senna v Mansell in 1992!

  • Comment number 46.

    Ideally I would prefer to watch 1984 again - but as that is not an option I'll go for 1982.

  • Comment number 47.

    1996. What a race! Schumacher crashing early on at Portier, Hill crusing until that Renault engine went bang and only 4 finished. That race had everything.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'd like to see 1996 please. This was around the time I started watching F1 and I only have a vague recollection of this race.

  • Comment number 49.

    1982 please. I remember watching it live on TV. I was a big renault fan back then & was gutted Prost dropped it at the chicane so close to the end!

  • Comment number 50.

    1982! a fantastic race, plenty of incidents and a fantastic ending. The other race I would definately want to see would be 1984 .. Senna and the even more impressive Bellof cutting through from the back of the grid in atrocious conditions .. Senna may well have been catching Prost but Bellof was catching Senna!

  • Comment number 51.

    1996 please. Hardly anyone finished

  • Comment number 52.

    I'd love to see the 1961 race. PLEASE!!!

    Apart from that, 1992 the final laps, Senna holding-off Mansell. Classic.

    I'd also love to see the 1981 race, another classic from Villeneuve, in that s***box of a Ferrari. Amazing.

  • Comment number 53.

    and 92 as my second choice

  • Comment number 54.

    As much as I would love to see some F1 action from the 60's, 1982 has to be the choice. It was more a comedic race than classic - it seemed like nobody wanted to win it! But some great action all the same. And some great races that maybe you have missed - Schumi's masterclass drive in 1997 in the wet, Trulli and Button battling for the win in 2004, and Hamilton's great drive last season

  • Comment number 55.

    1961 - simple because we don't see much from that era and then either 82 or 96. Can't wait.

  • Comment number 56.

    Ok guys, first 50 votes, progressive tally:

    1961 - 7 first choice, 1 second choice
    1981 - 2 first choice
    1982 - 7 first choice, 5 second choice **
    1992 - 5 first choice, 2 second choice
    1996 - 19 first choice, 1 second choice **
    ** Three voters put "1982 and 1996" without indicating first preference, so add 3 to those.

    Might as well screen 1996 tomorrow!

  • Comment number 57.

    Of the ones that I have seen in the past, 2004 was a good one, with button and trulli fighting until the end for both of them to try and get that first win, plus last year 2008 that was a good one and a highlight reel of that wouldn't go a miss. PLEASE SOME HOW GET HOLD OF THE ITV COMENTARY FOR THE ONES THEY DID AS RADIO COMMENTARY TO PICTURES DOESN'T WORK, ANY ANYTHING WITH LEGARD IN ALSO DOESN'T WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Just flipped throught the other comments. I'd like to add my vote for 1984, the emergence of Bellof & Senna as stars.

    Also it'd be wonderful to see something from the '50's, & absolutley some footage of the races in the 1930's. Nuvolari battling Caracciola et al. They were the Titans of racing. Makes the modern stuff look tame.

  • Comment number 59.

    1996 for me please.

    (Though perhaps this is one of those races where you could put full highlights up for all?)

  • Comment number 60.

    Yeah I want to see 1984 BBC highlights please!!

    Otherwise I say 1982, or if not 1992.

  • Comment number 61.

    Hmmmm....I'll go with 1961 out of plain curiousity!

  • Comment number 62.

    I'll second the calls for 1984. 1984!!!

    First vote goes to 82, second (if applicable) to 92.

  • Comment number 63.

    1982 is an absolute must-see for me please - it's the first Grand Prix I can remember watching with my Dad. Summed up beautifully by Clive James on the season review video as "Jacques Tati's last great comedy before retirement". Entirely captures the glorious nonsense of a Grand Prix race round such an unsuitable track for the purpose!

    This is a wonderful feature, by the way, many thanks. Watching Villeneuve's win at Jarama last week was fantastic.

  • Comment number 64.

    1974 please - Ronnie at his best in Chapmans ageless 72 - looking great in the JPS colours - I was there for all 6 days of build up/practise/race and as a fan of Lotus & Ronnie, couldn't have wished for a better outcome.

    I remember Vic Elford driving the Porsche Turbo course car spinning out on oil dropped my someone involved in the first lap shunt as he followed the field around. Sid Taylor & Teddy Yip ( the Asian sponsor of Ensign ) were staying in our hotel ( The Balmoral ).

    Amazing to think now, but the all inclusive package was £104 for flight and 6 days half board - the race ticket was an additional £22 - aaah, happy days....

  • Comment number 65.

    1996 pleeeease- Panis punting out Irvine- salo/hakkinen earning points together in the wall? Unrivalled entertainment

  • Comment number 66.

    For me it has to be the 1996 race.
    I remember in the two weeks leading up to the race Panis was telling everyone who'd listen that he was going to win, and I was caught up by his obvious confidence.
    All through qualifying I was saying :
    "Panis is going to win this just watch"
    and as it became apparent he was going to qualify at the back of the grid :
    "It doesn't matter where he qualifies, Panis says he's going to win, and I believe him"
    And so it proved !

    Failing that, then 1982.

  • Comment number 67.

    Of this list it's got to be 1996. But to be honest I'd love to see 1988 and then 1989 over again. Firstly in 1988, to see Senna's mystical qualifying lap and then to watch the drama unfold as Prost closes in and then Senna dumping it into the barriers at le Portier. And then to cap it all we would have the 1989 race to watch Senna's revenge where he systematically destroys Prost despite progresively losing gears. But 1996 was a hoot if not actually a great race as such.

  • Comment number 68.

    '92 for me please ;o)

  • Comment number 69.

    Before I even saw the options I was thinking 1996.

    Worth mentioning that Panis didn't just win cause there were only 4 cars left on the track, he won because he was ON FIRE. I remember there being a fairly big stint in that race where Panis was setting a new fastest lap of the race EVERY LAP.

    Incredible stuff!!

  • Comment number 70.

    I would have liked to have seen 1984 on the list.
    Of the available list my choices would be:




  • Comment number 71.

    In recent times, 04, 06 and 08 were all exciting races with plenty of action. However, my top 3 from your list would be:

    1. 1961 - Just to see what F1 was like back then. You can see a clip of the last lap on the interactive circuit guide.

    2. 1996 - Another wet formula 1 race. It always seems to add to the drama in monaco.

    3. 1982 - Sounds like an eventful end.

    Of races not on the list, my top 3 would be:

    1. 2004

    2. 2008

    3. 2006.

    Just a few more points to make.
    Would it be possible to have a 5 minute edit of classic overtaking moves or crashes from the Monaco Grand Prixs not on the list or even any great moments.

    Also, does the ITV commentary mean that we can't get any races from between 2001 and 2004. Would be a shame if that was the case for races like Brazil 03 or Silverstone 03. Could you hook up a deal to get ITV commentary in exchange for Jonathan Legard. David Croft would be a great replacement.

  • Comment number 72.

    Andrew, how much footage does the BBC actually have for 1961?

    Can you also comment on why 1984 was not chosen. I'm wondering if the BBC did a highlights programme for it?

  • Comment number 73.

    And the main reason I ask is because I suspect BBC didn't show highlights for Monaco 1984.

    I must be one of the few people who like Jonathan Legard as much if not more than ITV's team.

  • Comment number 74.

    It could be any of the five, but for me 1996 gets the vote - so much action. The only race in F1 history I believe, where the only finishers were the three drivers on the podium (IIRC the fourth placed driver was classified but had retired a lap before the end).

  • Comment number 75.

    1996 sounds good

  • Comment number 76.

    1970 would be my first choice. A classic end with Jochen Rindt chasing down Jack Brabham, Rindt using a 1967 Lotus and putting in laps way over a second a lap quicker than he qualified in and then harrowing "Black Jack" over the closing laps into making a mistake on the very last corner and running wide into the barriers.

    Second choice for sure would be 1982 - a race nobody seemed to want to win.

  • Comment number 77.

    1961 or 1981.

    As driving performances go, these two were head and shoulders above the rest. Gilles in 81 has to probably be the best qualifying performance of all time. 82 and 92 were only interesting for the 5 minutes!

  • Comment number 78.

    I've been waiting for the race highlights of this one since the start of the season! I can't waite! Got to be the 1996 race for me, although i am pulled to '61 race, just to see what it was like all the way back then. But '96 it is.

    Of more recent time, though, the 2005 race stands out for me. The race started like any other, but this was the year with no tyre changes, they had to last the entire race. Towards the end of the race i lost count of the amount of overtaking happening, on the non-overtaking track, with the drivers who hadn't looked after their rubber at the start now paying the price. The Renault's slipping back doen the field, Michael Schumacher almost killing his brother Ralf, again, on the finishing line and Jarno Trulli in his Toyota bashing his way over the kurbs at the Grand Hotel Hair-pin to take the lead of the race a few laps from home only suffer from that move by the time he got to the chicane on the sea-front with a broken driveshaft. One of the best most recent races i've ever seen!

    Thanks for posting!

  • Comment number 79.

    1961 from the choices. But I agree with northernPR, I would prefer to see 1970 and Brabham's last corner crash.

  • Comment number 80.

    1982 please. A gob-smacking finish. You can keep Mansell show-boating when it was clear he wouldn't be able to pass Senna.
    1996 second choice

  • Comment number 81.

    1996 definate first choice. Im sure Murray had a field day.

    Second choice 1992.

  • Comment number 82.

    1961 please! I am a big Stirling Moss fan and I have a print of that race on my wall in my living room would be great to see it. Second choice would be 1982. Although I would like to see all of those races can you not just show extended highlights of all of them!?

  • Comment number 83.

    1996 please...take me back to my childhood watching F1...and who doesn't love wacky races?

  • Comment number 84.

    I would like to vote for 1992 as it was the first Grand Prix I ever saw and it had the best 3 laps in F1 history. It also included several other battles with Schumacher charging through the field.

    If I had a second vote, it would probably be 1996 as it was drama all the way.

    I was surprised and disappointed that 1984 wasn't on the list, it was where we first saw the talent of Senna and Bellof, and I think it was the first race Mansell had led before he ploughed it into the wall. Much better race than 1996. Also I thought 1997 was good but maybe not good enough to make the list, at least it was better than any race since.

  • Comment number 85.

    1996 please.
    Schumacher goes out of the 1st lap, Hill and Aleisi both leading and then retiring and then Panis winning the race.
    1961 would be nice as a 2nd choice
    and 3rd would be 1982

  • Comment number 86.

    Sorry, but I can't help thinking people are so foolish to think 1996 was a great race because Panis got lucky on that particular day.

    There were other deserving, more naturally talented drivers ahead of Panis eg. Hill and Alesi had car reliability issues.

    It has to be 1984. Yes, it was similar to 1996 but it was more on merit because it was between a number of gifted drivers who were supreme in the wet on that particular day: Mansell, Prost, Bellof, Senna. IMHO that is a far more enticing than a lucky, gifted win from Panis.

    Andrew, do us a favour for the purists, to hell with democracy! You know you want to!

  • Comment number 87.

    A quickie on 1984. Why wasn't it chosen? Well, it was a toughie, but if we had chosen it we would have had three races within four years of each other - 1981, 1982 and 1984 - and we want to give a decent spread.

    And, remember, we have a five-year contract! There'll be other chances.

  • Comment number 88.

    Ooops 1982, DOH!!

  • Comment number 89.

    I'd like 1961 please

  • Comment number 90.

    Well given i'm only 19 I don't know most of these, but I do remember last year's one was a golden one - with Hamilton seemingly out of the race after smacking the wall, and then coming back to win. Pretty legendary stuff!

  • Comment number 91.

    1st 1996... Who could forget? It had everything!
    2nd 1982... An amazing last couple of laps... Great stuff!
    3rd 1961... Classic Moss.

    To be honest I'd like to see them all in full :) As I think nearly everyone would!


  • Comment number 92.

    I'd go for 82

  • Comment number 93.

    1996 please. It's the only one in the list I am able to relate to. I didn't start watching F1 until 1995.

  • Comment number 94.

    1996 was an eventful race, I certainly wouldnt mind seeing it again.

    But surely there is only one winner, Monaco 1992. One of the greatest duels around Monaco you are likely to see. Senna and Mansell at teh peak of their abilities (Senna's McLaren no match for the Williams though)Mansell was comfortable and looking forward to yet another win, he hit a problem, or what he thought was one and pitted and came out behind Senna, caught him up and despite an enormous pace advantage Senna kept Mansell at bay. Mansell to his credit never gave in. Murray Walker and James Hunt were just as enthralled as surely most viewers were.

    Even though a pass was not made, the climax for me just summed up perfectly the drama, precision, commitment and atmosphere of Formula One at Monaco and Formula one in general.

  • Comment number 95.

    Wow, your spoiling us embassador!!!:)
    For me I say -
    1- 1961 (pure classic)
    2- 1981 (Watching this you would not have put money on Villenuve to win)

    and 1975 with lauda's great win.
    This is gonna be good whatever is chosen, well done BBC.


  • Comment number 96.


    Although I wouldn't say no to 1984 sometime in the future!

  • Comment number 97.

    Who cares if you're able to relate to it - I could relate to both Spain '96 and '97 but didn't vote for either race as my memories of them weren't that positive.

  • Comment number 98.

    1961~ for something a little bit different

  • Comment number 99.

    I'd like to see 1996!

    But for next year I'd like to choose from 1971, 1984, 1985,1997 and 2008 :).

  • Comment number 100.

    1982 please! Failing that, 1981.


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