© TAG Heuer
14 May 2022, Monaco
Friday was about pre-race chats, catching up with old friends, checking into hotel rooms and falling in love with the city-state of Monaco. Today, all our senses turn to one thing and one thing only: qualifying. Like yesterday, the day breaks not with the drivers or the cars. It begins with the streets closing at 6:30am. Rush hour everywhere else in the world is reserved for food trucks, office goers and cyclists. Here in Monaco, rush hour is only for speedsters. Once the roads are closed off, you start seeing the early birds: mechanics, doctors and medics, security staff, marshals, photographers. By this point, it shouldn’t surprise you that many of the Monegasque staff who help organize the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique work for free. They seem to want to do it for the love of racing. A great example of a community coming together, bound by a singular passion. It’s why TAG Heuer has such an affinity to this event.
While the early birds set up backstage, you start seeing the fans make their way down. It’s a wide-ranging, eclectic crowd. Tourists with big backpacks, retro racing t-shirts, caps and sunglasses. VIPs dressed in linen, leather or wool. Different looks, different styles but they’re all here for the same thing. As they take their seats, a few horns blare out, signaling the start of qualifying.
© TAG Heuer
Evolution is a beautiful thing
Yes, the cars are fast. Yes, they look classy. Yes, watching them compete is thrilling. But more than any of this, the thing that stands out the most when you watch the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique is how stark the visual evolution of the race car is. Let’s take their colors as an example. Most pre-war and fifties race cars used to be plain grays, blues, whites and reds. When you get to the sixties cars, you begin to see a few constructor and sponsorship decals with lovely color combinations. White bodies with orange stripes on the sides. Orange bodies with blue stripes around the driver’s seat. You can just imagine how much fun the old race car designers must have had, making their creations stand out. By the time you get to the seventies and eighties, you really see the colors and designs scream at you for attention. Black and gold. More vibrant oranges. And these are just the colors and design we’re talking about. From the engines to the chassis to the steering wheels to the tyres, in one single day, racing fans get to see how far race cars have come, in the golden light of the Circuit de Monaco.
© ACM / Olivier Caenen
Living for the livery
Speaking of colors and logos, the Gulf livery. Three words that any racing fan will understand almost immediately. Just like those iconic Italian football club shirts from the eighties, the Gulf livery is one of the most iconic pieces of racing design ever. Even now Formula One teams try to weave Gulf’s famous vivid orange and blue colors into their liveries. Those colors were on full display here at the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. Spectators couldn’t keep their eyes off Roald Goethe’s Gulf-sponsored 1974 Tyrrell 007. We couldn’t stop looking at it either. After all, these are the hues that inspired our new TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition.
Everyone’s a winner
We take our place in the hospitality lounge near the paddock. From one side, you can see the pit lane, the cars speeding past and at least five buildings with locals watching the action from their balconies. Racing is like oxygen over here. On the other side, there’s the parking bay for yachts. Lots of yachts. And then beyond that, the Mediterranean stretches its legs out and touches the horizon. As we soak up these breathtaking views, we’re surrounded by watch aficionados and racing enthusiasts, friends of TAG Heuer of course. Together we look down from our vantage point, taking in all the sights and storing these memories safely inside our heads. (And on our smartphones.) Car after vintage car whips by, transporting us across many decades of twentieth century racing. It doesn’t matter whether the Lotus or the Tyrrell took pole position. All that matters at the end of today is that racing came first, above everything else. And that’s how we like it in Monaco.
© TAG Heuer
See you on The Edge tomorrow. Don’t forget to follow our live updates from race day.