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My Monaco Grand Prix, Part 1: 1987

January 5, 2013 by Matt

Monaco F1 Formula 1 GP Grand Prix 1987 Williams Honda V6 Turbo Engine Motor

The dominant Williams FW11B and its turbocharged, 800+ hp Honda V6.
Click the image to enlarge.

I wish I’d been more into the F1 scene at the time, but I was only 8 years old, and thus the whole spectacle was little more than a collection of extremely noisy cars. It’s not that I wasn’t into automobiles—a white Countach poster proudly adorned my bedroom wall—but to me at that age the F1 race cars were a different animal altogether from the relatively “tame” Lambo.

Monaco F1 Formula 1 GP Grand Prix 1987 McLaren Marlboro

McLaren MP4/3 bodywork in the pits. Click the image to enlarge.

I borrowed these from my parents’ photo albums last weekend. Fortunately for us, my parents have always been into photography, and my dad in particular has always taken it upon himself to organize and catalog our photos. Consequently, we have an almost unbroken chronicle of our family history, from the early ’80s to the present day. Needless to say, I’m glad he decided to bring the camera along for our visit to the Monaco F1 circus in late May, 1987.

Monaco F1 Formula 1 GP Grand Prix 1987 West Zakspeed

A Zakspeed 871. Click the image to enlarge.

We actually got to stroll through the pits. We lived in France at the time, and attended the Trans World Radio church in downtown Monaco; I don’t know if our ability to get so close to the cars was thanks to our connections in town, or simply a byproduct of the more relaxed F1 atmosphere in that era, but regardless, it was amazing to see all the machinery so close.

Monaco F1 Formula 1 GP Grand Prix 1987 Anthony Noghes Corner

Coming ’round Anthony Noghés corner in qualifying. Click the image to enlarge.

Sadly we didn’t see the actual race. A friend of a friend had an apartment overlooking the harbor, though, so we were able to observe one of the qualifying sessions from a vantage point above the grid area.

Monaco F1 Formula 1 GP Grand Prix 1987

Eventual 1987 world champion Nelson Piquet in his Williams.

So many racing legends… I did gravitate toward the Williams cars at the time, and Mansell particularly, for some reason.

Monaco F1 Formula 1 GP Grand Prix 1987 Stefan Johansson McLaren TAG Riccardo Patrese Brabham BMW

Stefan Johansson in the McLaren leads the Brabham of Riccardo Patrese.

Want more? Here are some pictures from our subsequent trip to the Monaco Grand Prix in 1994.

Filed under: Car Stories, Formula 1, Racing


  1. Paul says:

    I think we all liked Mansell at that time…or at least me and you. I think David always liked Senna…until Alesi came along. When did we go to the qualifying in the stands near the harbor? Was that 1992/93? Wish we could go to some more races!

    • Matt says:

      Yeah, Mansell was it, although I really liked the all-yellow Lotuses for some reason too. I don’t remember who David liked, but I remember later that your guy was Alesi, and I liked Berger.

      Our second trip was in ’94. Pics from that forthcoming! :)

      • Paul says:

        Okay, it was ’94! I couldn’t remember. Didn’t david like Coulthard?. I wavered between lots of different drivers, Mansell, Prost, Alesi. I remember liking Prost and Alesi the most though.

  2. David says:

    Har har… Yes, well you guys already picked the good drivers, which left me always pulling for for the hopeless underdog… Alesi, Coulthard, etc…

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