GALLERY: The 2022 Monaco Historic Grand Prix
Photography by Armando Musotto
For a motorsport enthusiast, photographer, and traveler, there is hardly a better weekend than that of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. Watching priceless pieces of the past dogfighting between guardrails on city streets is one thing, but here there is an extra dose of the absurd. Set against a backdrop flush with the exorbitant markers of wealth that only this pricey principality can produce, this is simply over the top. I can smell spent racing fuel if I breathe deep enough and close my eyes. My ears are still ringing, the sunburn still stings. It’s just fine by me.
After having to cancel my plans to attend for the last two years, the desire had grown to the point of mania, and even with all the hype that attends that kind of anticipation, I must say my expectations were still—somehow—exceeded once I’d finally made this trip into a (sur)reality.
The whole place hums with energy both kinetic and invisible. Whiffs of champagne float throughout this place, always quickly blown away by the tornados of exhaust as the sports and F1 cars churn their way through the hills and along the harbor. Conversations are constant and high-energy, but you can only catch them in snippets between the cracks of manual shifts, the bass of deceleration, and the wail of highly strung racing engines not afraid of their redlines. I was laughing in blissful disbelief the entire time. All you can do is shake your head and smile in between the blurs of stimuli.
This year’s event marked the 13th edition of the Historic Grand Prix, which included everything from the pre-war machines to the high-powered beasts of the 1980s. Highly patina’d solid color paintwork mixed in the pits with the tobacco liveries. V12s fought Cosworth DFVs for sound supremacy. Aluminum, fiberglass, and exotic composites were scraped against the edges of the circuit, and often against each other. These cars were driven much harder than their values would lead you to believe if you haven’t seen it up close.
I’d been following this event from my computer screen for years, but to be a firsthand witness was enough to make me kick myself for not getting here much sooner. Oh well, these memories will last the rest of my lifetime—a more than fair trade for a little bit of patience.
Back home in Sicily, I find myself hearing things in the silence. I look out at the street and my mind replaces the everyday Fiat 500s with Ferrari 312s. Driving to the market I notice that I’m going a bit faster, looking for the racing line and gaps to pass. That’s what’s so special about events like this. They stick with you, changing your perspectives and reference points. They bring you into the past and change your future. Melodramatic? Maybe. Honest? Entirely. That’s how I feel anyway. I just hope these photos can transfer just a fraction of that feeling to you. Nothing will keep me away next year, and I hope you’ll join me.