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Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 Miles: one Sunday, two myths

The Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 Miles are taking place this Sunday. Two legendary races constituting, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a legendary triptych. Only one driver, Graham Hill, managed to win the ‘Triple Crown’.

Still, any victory in one of these races has a special flavor, which some hope to taste this weekend…


Un Sunday on the couch! This is the program for all motorsport enthusiasts, with the Monaco Grand Prix (for which Alain Prost will exceptionally be on commentary, at 3 p.m. on Canal+), then the Indianapolis 500 Miles in stride (5:30 p.m., Canal+ Sport) . These two historic events have fascinated crowds for a century. Created in 1911, the 500 Miles are the antithesis of the Monaco Grand Prix born in 1929. On one side, a speed ring covered two hundred times at an average speed of 370 km/h. On the other, an urban circuit, cramped, relatively slow, but so spectacular. In both cases, the slightest mistake ends up in the wall.

In 2017, these two races also took place on the same Sunday. Fernando Alonso made the surprising decision to give up the Monaco Grand Prix to race in Indianapolis, entrusting the wheel of his McLaren to Jenson Button. The Spaniard tried his luck twice more, in 2019 and 2020, during his sabbatical years in F1. Today, focused on his brilliant start to the season with Aston Martin, Alonso denies having any plans to participate in the 500 Miles again: “I’ll see what the right time will be to go back there. For now, I’m fully focused on F1, and for a few more years. ” Why did Alonso take this crazy gamble? To mark history and conquer the Triple Crown. This unofficial distinction consists of winning the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix. Or, probably, the three most legendary races in motorsport. A mountain so high to cross that only the Briton Graham Hill, double F1 champion, five times winner in the Principality from 1963 to 1969, victorious at Indianapolis in 1966, then at Le Mans in 1972, succeeded. Today, two active drivers are one step away from the goal: Fernando Alonso (victories at Monaco in 2006 and 2007, and at Le Mans in 2018 and 2019), and Juan-Pablo Montoya (victory at Monaco in 2003, and in Indianapolis in 2000 and 2015).

Some, like Jacques Villeneuve, give another definition of the Triple Crown.

“In F1, winning the championship is more valuable than winning the Monaco Grand Prix, explains the Canadian pilot. So, for the Trip le Couronne, you have to be a champion and not a winner in Monaco. While the 24 Hours of Le Mans is more important than the Endurance championship, just like the Indianapolis 500 Miles is more important than the title in Indycar. ” Winner in Indianapolis in 1995, Formula 1 world champion in 1997, but never winner in Monaco, Jacques Villeneuve, 52, has not given up on the idea of ​​one day winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race he finished in second place in 2008.


But whatever definition we adopt of the Triple Crown, it does not change anything for Alonso, F1 world champion and winner in Monaco. Of his three attempts at Indianapolis, the first was the most convincing, until an engine failure 20 laps from the finish when he was seventh.

Two Frenchmen in Indianapolis

This year, for the 107e edition in Indianapolis, several former F1 drivers, but no champion or winner in Monaco at the start. Of the thirty-three competitors, two French: Simon Pagenaud and Romain Grosjean. The latter will take part in this race for the second time only, after an attempt completed in the wall at mid-race last year. “It’s an extraordinary, mythical, historic event, underlines Grosjean. I am still discovering oval races. When I watched it on TV, it seemed super simple, but in reality it’s complicated. We were in the game on the Texas oval, so why not dream of one day donning the Indianapolis 500 Miles winner’s ring. ” Simon Pagenaud has already experienced this great happiness thanks to his success in 2019. “The 500 Miles remain for me the greatest race in the world, the one in which I want to shine, he says. If there’s one race to win, it’s Indianapolis, the others don’t matter as much. This year, we put all our efforts into this race, with a specific car. This is one of the reasons for our lack of performance on the other circuits. We will have to bring everything together this weekend is our best chance of the year. ” His Brazilian teammate, Helio Castroneves, 48, will, for his part, try to become the first five-time winner of the event.

Leclerc dreams of a home win

A few hours earlier in Monaco, Charles Leclerc may have achieved one of the dreams of his life. The Monegasque drags an incredible curse through the streets of the Principality. “At home, I feel like there’s always something going on against me, so it’s particularly difficult to live with,” he admits. His four appearances ended in disappointment. Retirement in 2018 and 2019, impossibility of starting from pole position in 2021 due to a damaged car in qualifying, then fourth last year, condemned by a strategic error by Fer-rari when victory was won for him .

“I have competed in this Grand Prix four times and it has never gone as desired, he comments. So I hope this year will be the good one. I don’t really believe in luck, but in recent seasons, it has always gone badly! ”

Still young (25 years old), Leclerc is getting impatient, while measuring his luck: “It’s a dream to participate in this Grand Prix. When I was little, I watched this F1 race with the hope of racing it one day. I still remember the first images I had of it when I was four years old, from a balcony where I saw the first corner while playing small cars and dreaming of one day being an F1 driver. ” Obviously a little chauvinistic, he considers that the Monegasque circuit provides unique sensations: “You feel the adrenaline like nowhere else. It’s not really like the other tracks where you have time to think about what you’re going to do at the next corner. In Monaco, we don’t have time, it’s intuition, we drive by feeling, that’s what we like on this track. Outside the car, it’s more complicated to get into your bubble, because I’m in great demand here. There’s the whole family, all the friends… There’s the desire to do well at home, but I try to have the same program as in the other Grands Prix”. Still, this Sunday will not be an ordinary day in Monaco and Indianapolis.

The reigning world champion had to wait for the fifth rally of the season to claim his first victory in 2023. Kalle Rovanperä flew over the race in Portugal (pictured), to win by almost a minute ahead of the Hyundai of Sordo and Lappi. The Finn takes the lead in the general classification with a margin of seventeen points over Tänak, and twenty-nine over Evans, the former leader, as well as over Sébastien Ogier, who will return to Sardinia next week, in the part-time program.


Stars and tears in their eyes on the occasion of the evening celebrating the 50th anniversary of Oreca, a major company in French motorsport, both manufacturer and racing team.

Its founder, Hugues de Chaunac, still at the head of the company, had the joy of having to participate in this celebration almost all the pilots who had passed through his team, an incredible line-up: Jean Alesi, Jacques Laffite, René Arnoux, Olivier Panis, Jacky Ickx, Loïc Duval, Sébastien Buemi, Paul Belmondo, Yannick Dalmas, Philippe Alloit, Yvan Muller, Simon Jean-Joseph…


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