I haven’t written much lately, but neither has Shakespeare. Last weekend saw the running of the 70th Monaco Grand Prix, the biggest event in the Formula One calendar. This race is widely celebrated for its glamour and celebrity content; Monaco happens to be home, at least legally speaking, for a lot of the F1 drivers due to its tax policies, and being a wealthy city in the French Riviera it is a virtual magnet for famous people of all stripes.
But as far as the actual racing goes… Monaco is pants. It’s terrible. By and large in the post-Senna era of F1 it’s so predictable you can pretty much set your watch by it. In Monaco the pole sitter wins, or doesn’t finish the race. The exceptions to this are very rare.
Let’s look at the results starting from 1994 onwards:
1994 – pole: MSC, winner: MSC
1995 – pole: Hill, winner: MSC, Hill finished the race (an exception!)
1996 – pole: MSC, winner: Olivier Panis, MSC crashed out
1997 – pole: Frentzen, winner: MSC, Frentzen crashed out
1998 – pole: Hakkinen, winner: Hakkinen
1999 – pole: Hakkinen, winner: MSC, Hakkinen finishes in 3rd (another exception)
2000 – pole: MSC, winner: Coulthard, MSC retires with suspension problems.
2001 – pole: Coulthard, winner: MSC, Coulthard had to start from the back of the grid after stalling on pole position (!) so this isn’t really an exception.
2002 – pole: Montoya, winner: Coulthard, Montoya retires with engine problems.
2003 – pole: RSC, winner: Montoya, RSC finishes the race (exception 3)
2004 – pole: Trulli, winner: Trulli
2005 – pole: Raikkonen, winner: Raikkonen
2006 – pole: Alonso, winner: Alonso
2007 - pole: Alonso, winner: Alonso
2008 – pole: Massa, winner: Hamilton, Massa is third (exception)
2009 – pole: Button, winner: Button
2010 – pole: Webber, winner: Webber
2011 – pole: Vettel, winner: Vettel
2012 – pole: Webber, winner: Webber
19 races, 4 exceptions to the rule. 4 times out of 5 (roughly) the polesitter leads a procession around the principality if the car and the driver’s skill manage to hold out for the entire race. It’s easy to see why, overtaking in Monaco is extremely difficult (ask Jenson…) and it’s incredibly easy to just put the car into the barriers (ask Nando…).
Still, that makes Monaco about the least interesting race to watch all year, as far as the racing goes.