For this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, local boy Charles Leclerc will take to the track wearing a very special helmet design, with blue the dominant colour and therefore a very different look to what the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow driver usually wears.
Tribute. The special helmet pays homage to the most successful Monegasque driver before Leclerc came along, namely Louis Alexandre Chiron. Born in Monte Carlo on 3 August 1899, 98 years before Charles, Chiron was the son of an hotelier and his first passion was dancing, to the extent that he made it his profession, although he soon made a name for himself with his driving skills. He began racing in 1926 and took his first win that year. On April 19th 1931, he took part in the Monaco Grand Prix at the wheel of a Bugatti Type 51 and, starting from way back in eleventh place on the grid, he came through to win ahead of the Italians Luigi Fagioli in a Maserati and Achille Varzi in another Bugatti.
Precursor. Chiron was the only Monegasque to drive for Scuderia Ferrari prior to Charles. However, he was not at the wheel of a Ferrari, because at the time Enzo Ferrari’s team ran Alfa Romeo. Racing for the Prancing Horse team, Chiron finished third in the 1934 Mille Miglia at the wheel of an 8C 2300 Monza, sharing the drive with Italy’s Archimede Rosa an expert on the Madonie circuit near Palermo. He also won the Giro di Sicilia on more than one occasions and did well in several Targa Florio races.
In Formula 1. Chiron also raced in Formula 1, finishing third at the wheel of a Maserati in the 1950 Monaco GP, the first year of the Formula 1 World Championship. This also happened to be the first of Ferrari’s 1012.