By bringing several former World Champions to the opening round at Bahrain, Formula 1 threw itself a 60th birthday party to mark the 1950 start of todern era in Grand Prix racing. While it was an auspicious gathering, no venue can capture the spirit of the series better than Monaco. So it's only fitting that we take a look back at the six decades of F1 through the camera lenses of Bernard Cahier and his son Paul-Henri, who, combined, have covered every race of the modern era at Monte Carlo, which is practically their home away from home.
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Yes, the drivers are skinnier and the tires are fatter now, but it still takes teamwork, money and engineering skill to succeed in F1. Compare and contrast the Renault team of 2005 (left) with the Lancia effort of 1955 (right).
"My first Grand Prix memories are intimately associated with Monaco: During the 1950s, we lived in a charming house in Villefranche-sur-Mer, about 20 km away from Monaco. And every year, on the occasion of the Grand Prix, my father would invite all his driver friends to an evening party at the house. I was a small boy, but that's when I met Fangio, Moss, Louis Chiron, Hawthorn, Collins, Castelotti, and other racing heroes; those were the long gone days of true camaraderie..."
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Monaco, there's no place like it. Above left, Jackie Stewart scores the first of his 27 Grand Prix wins, in 1966. Twenty-six years later, Ayrton Senna, right, proved that he was perhaps the master of Monaco, pipping Nigel Mansell for his fifth win on the streets. Former F1 driver Jacky Ickx waved the checker that day.
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The narrow serpentine run from Mirabeau down to the famous hairpin certainly is picturesque, but it's also indicative of the unique challenge that is Grand Prix racing in Monte Carlo. At left, Joakim Bonnier in his BRM leads Jack Brabham's Cooper in 1960. At right, Nico Rosberg's Williams screams past R&T Contributor Rainer Schlegelmilch, standing remarkably close to the action.
Phil Hill, above, drifts his front-engine Ferrari 246 through the famous Station Hairpin as he fights to stay ahead of the more advanced mid-engine BRM of Graham Hill. When the old train station was torn down and replaced with a hotel, the corner became known as the Loews Hairpin. Gilles Villeneuve's eyes, left, show just how tight the turn is, while Michael Schumacher, right, shows us the proper racing line.
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Now that's an exhaust! Those eight straight pipes, left, belong to a 1956 Gordini. Right, a 1992 Ferrari's headers are anything but straight, using complex curves for power.
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Lorenzo Bandini, left, leads John Surtees through the iconic chicane as the circuit emerges from the tunnel and descends to the harbor. At this tight left-right flick between barriers, Alberto Ascari's Lancia D50 careened into the sea in 1955. And minutes after this photo was taken in 1967, Bandini crashed fatally here. Right, see how the circuit safety has improved dramatically.
People, passion and politics have always been a part of F1. And the tension shows at Monaco, above, where World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio stands with teammates Peter Collins and Eugenio Castellotti in the pits. The great Argentine driver was with Ferrari for only one season, in 1956, but thanks to the help of Collins, he was able to win the World Championship.
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Three British Champions, three completely different characters. Left, five-time winner Graham Hill improves the aerodynamics of his mustache while BRM teammate Jo Bonnier looks on. James Hunt, center, had an appealingly irreverent style, while Lewis Hamilton, right, approached McLaren boss Ron Dennis at a young age and asked to drive for the team.
A pensive Stirling Moss joins Prince Rainier and Princess Grace on the podium, a longstanding tradition at Monaco.