Maranello, 20 May – It’s been many, too many years since the roulette wheel has stopped on Red in Monte Carlo. The last time a Ferrari won the Monaco Grand Prix was back in 2001, when Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello secured an amazing one-two. Since then, no Ferrari has been first past the chequered flag, even in those years when Maranello’s technical superiority seemed beyond doubt, such as 2002 and 2004.
However, there have been plenty of podium finishes in the past eleven years, with two second places and six thirds, but very often, something happened over the course of the weekend to see the chances of victory evaporate. For example, how can one forget Fernando Alonso’s accident in Saturday morning’s free practice in 2010? The Spaniard was flying that weekend, however he ended up in the barriers at the start of the session: it seemed innocuous enough, but once the car was back in the pits, it was found that the chassis was damaged beyond repair and would have to be changed. The Spaniard was therefore unable to take part in qualifying and the next day produced a spirited climb up the order, which took him from a pit lane start to sixth at the flag. A similar performance, which ended with a result one place better than that, was produced by Michael Schumacher in 2006. The German also started from pit lane, after being sent to the bottom of the qualifying time sheet following the famous incident at Rascasse. He fought his way back to fifth behind the man who was his Ferrari team-mate for so many years, Rubens Barrichello.
Taking pole at Monaco usually means the win is in your sights, as indeed has happened in 26 of the 59 races held in the Principality to date. From 2004 to 2012, the pole man only failed to win once and if further evidence of Ferrari’s lack of success in this race is needed, the exception that proved the rule was provided by Felipe Massa who, on the Saturday in 2008, produced a fantastic lap at what can now be considered his second home race. The next day, the race started in the wet, but things did not go as planned and furthermore, the gods of fortune concentrated on helping the Brazilian’s main rival for the title, Lewis Hamilton, as much as possible, with the Englishman winning the day. Felipe finished third, just as he had done the previous year.
All this means that the Scuderia has a total of eight wins in the Monaco Grand Prix. Apart from the first one, with Maurice Trintignant in 1955, all the others are bunched together in two clearly defined cycles in the history of the team. From 1975 to 1981, Ferrari won four times: twice with Niki Lauda (1975 and 1976,) once with Jody Scheckter (1979) and once with Gilles Villeneuve (1981.) Sixteen years would go by before a Prancing Horse triumphed in the Principality again: in 1997, Schumacher took the first of his three Monegasque wins at the wheel of a Ferrari. Then in 1999 he headed a one-two with Eddie Irvine and in 2001 came the aforementioned double with Rubens Barrichello. Strangely, only one of these eight wins, Lauda’s second, came in a year that was an even number: given this is 2013, maybe it’s time to cross our fingers!