Has a Monegasque driver ever won the Monaco Grand Prix before? As Formula One returns to the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend, Charles Leclerc will bid to become only the second F1 driver from Monaco to win their home Grand Prix.
The only driver to achieve F1 glory on their home streets around the Principality is Louis Chiron. In the third running of the event in 1931, Chiron raced for Bugatti in their Type 51.
Monaco had to wait until Olivier Beretta in 1994 before their next home racer took to Formula One. Beretta only competed for a single season before Leclerc took up the Monegasque mantle, initially racing for Alfa Romeo in 2018 before switching to Ferrari the following season.
Leclerc will now hope to follow in Chiron’s wheel tracks and lift the coveted trophy on Sunday.
Who is Louis Chiron?
Louis Chiron began his racing career in 1926 and is the only driver from Monaco to, so far, win the Monaco Grand Prix. Chiron also has the honour of racing in the very first World Championship season for Maserati in 1950.
He resumed his racing career after the Second World War and built a reputation as a driver who thrived on less technical tracks such as his home event. Yet his precise and elegant style – that led some to call him a perfectionist – saw Chiron claim rally glory at the Monte Carlo round in 1954.
In total, Chiron raced for three decades in various categories, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but never tasted Championship glory. However, his accumulation of podium finishes for Bugatti saw him honoured by the brand with the 2016 Chiron named after him.
Chiron also served in an executive role for the organisers of the F1 Monaco Grand Prix after his retirement from racing, They had a statue made in his honour beside the track while renaming a corner after him.
Charles Leclerc’s tribute to Louis Chiron
At last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc wore a blue helmet for the race with a dedication to Chiron. The special helmet noted his victory 90 years ago from 11th place in a 23-car field.
Sadly, it did not bring the Ferrari driver much luck in the race. After competing for pole in qualifying, Leclerc would hit the wall and end the session, rather fortuitously leaving him at the front of the grid.
However, as he left the pits to make his way to the grid on race day, a left driveshaft issue emerged that prevented him from taking any part.
The Ferrari man has failed to score a single point on the three occasions he has raced on home soil, and hasn’t even finished one. However, this year the Italian outfit has been much more competitive, with Leclerc winning in Bahrain and Australia and finishing second in Saudi Arabia.
Charles was leading the World Championship but a retirement at the Spanish Grand Prix last week has seen him slip to second place behind Max Verstappen.
Leclerc will need to right the wrongs of his past appearances in Monaco this weekend in order to keep the pressure on the defending World Champion.