1959 Monaco Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1959)

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Revision as of 22:40, 10 September 2022 by SpaceManiac888 (talk | contribs) (The beginning of the Jack Brabham/Cooper-Climax era, although it seemed the race was easily heading Stirling Moss' way. Additionally, a proportion of a live Dutch broadcast was subject to a telerecording! The oldest known available remnants of a live Formula One broadcast I believe.)
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Jack Brabham takes his and the factory Cooper team's first World Championship victory.

Status: Partially Found

The 1959 Monaco Grand Prix was the opening race of the 1959 Formula One Season. Occurring on 10th May at the Circuit de Monaco, the race was ultimately won by Jack Brabham in a Cooper-Climax, taking his and the Cooper factory team's first ever World Championship win. The event was partially televised live, with an incomplete Dutch telerecording being the oldest known available remnants of a live Formula One broadcast.


The 1959 Monaco Grand Prix was the sixth running of the event as part of Formula One following its debut on the calendar in 1950.[1] It was also the 17th in Grand Prix history.[2][1] Lasting 100 laps,[3] the Monaco Grand Prix remains an integral event of the Formula One calendar, including being prestigious enough to be classified as part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, alongside the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.[1][4]

With the Argentine Grand Prix being cancelled beforehand, the Monaco race was now the opening event for the 1959 World Championship.[5][6] Heading into the race, Stirling Moss, who narrowly missed out on winning the previous year's title, opted to compete in a new 2.5 litre rear engine Cooper-Climax rather than a front engine Cooper-BRM after experiencing technical issues and lowered performance in the latter.[7][5][6] A four-horse race over the pole position emerged between the Coopers of Moss and Jack Brabham, and the Ferraris of Jean Behra and Tony Brooks.[5][7] When the track became clear on Friday, Moss set the fastest time in qualifying with 1:39.6.[5][7][3][6] Behra emerged in second, and despite spinning into the haybales at one point, Brabham set a time good enough for third on the grid.[5][7][3]

The Coopers' performances indicated a high chance of victory at the event, with Brabham and the factory Cooper team seeking their first wins.[5][7] Brabham had won the International Trophy Meeting at Silverstone earlier that year in the Cooper, signifying his and the car's potential.[6] Meanwhile, the Rob Walker-owned Cooper driven by Moss was with a shout of achieving a second consecutive Monaco victory.[5][7] Only the top 16 fastest drivers were allowed to race; among those who failed to qualify included Maria Teresa de Filippis, in her final World Championship appearance; while Cooper-Climax's Ivor Bueb and Maserati's Giorgio Scarlatti narrowly missed out by a few tenths of a second.[5][3][7]

The Race

With the starting order decided, the 1959 Monaco Grand Prix commenced on 10th May.[3] Behra made the best start, overtaking Moss and preventing him from making a move on the inside.[5][6][7][3] Further back, the Formula 2 cars of Wolfgang von Trips, Cliff Allison, and Bruce Halford when von Trips spun on some oil and collided with the other cars.[5][3] All escaped without serious injury.[5] By lap 4, it was a three-horse race for the lead, with Behra narrowly leading Moss and Brabham, Moss continually putting the pressure on the Ferrari driver.[5][6] This paid off on lap 22, when Moss went by, with Brabham also making a move a lap later on a clearly stricken Ferrari.[5][7][3] By lap 25, Behra was forced to retire as the engine's bottom fell out, causing oil to leak over the Gasworks hairpin.[5][7][3]

Moss then began to build a gap over Brabham, the latter content with second and accepting he could not challenge the fellow Cooper driver.[5][7] By lap 30, Moss was 30 seconds in front of Brabham, with Ferrari's Phil Hill having climbed to a distant third.[5][7] However, he spun on lap 37, damaging his car's rear and dropping to fifth behind BRM's Harry Schell and Brooks.[5][7] Schell however lost third after 48 laps when he crashed into the straw bales at the Casino Square, which split both the oil and water radiators of his car.[5][3] By lap 50, Moss led by over 40 seconds from Brabham, with Brooks having moved up to third.[5] Brooks was within 11 seconds of Brabham by lap 80, but the Australian maintained second by setting a new lap record of 1:40.4.[5][6][3] Suddenly Moss pulled into the pits after encountering problems with his transmission.[5][7] No issues were detected in the pits, but not long afterwards, the transmission gave out.[5][6][7][3] According to Motor Sport, it was revealed that bolts connecting the crown-wheel to the differential cage were shearing off, establishing broken heads which would eventually trap the rear axle and integral gearbox.[5]

Moss' retirement enabled Brabham to coast for the remaining laps, as Brooks was suffering from exhaustion.[5][7][3] Brabham therefore took his and factory Cooper's first ever World Championship win, also becoming the first Australian Formula One winner.[5][6][7][3] He therefore earned eight points, and an additional one for posting the fastest lap.[5][3] Brooks finished second, while Moss' teammate Maurice Trintignant was two laps down in third.[5][6][7][3] Hill took fourth, despite spinning three times, while Cooper-Climax's Bruce McLaren took the final points position of fifth.[7][6][5][3]


The race was reportedly partially televised live, including by Netherlands' NTS.[8] Part of the NTS broadcast was subject to a 16mm telerecording, becoming the oldest known available remnants of a live Formula One broadcast. Additionally, Issue 1,852 of Radio Times that the BBC provided a combined 55 minutes of live coverage, with 30 minutes dedicated to the finish and podium ceremony.[9][10][8] This broadcast has yet to resurface however, although newsreel and documentary footage can be found online.



Surviving NTS coverage of the race.

Footage of the race from a documentary.

British Pathé newsreel of the race.


See Also