Formula 1: A rare opportunity may become a thing of the past

Monaco Grand Prix, Formula 1 (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Monaco Grand Prix, Formula 1 (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

With the Monaco Grand Prix at risk of being removed from the Formula 1 schedule, the Triple Crown of Motorsport is also at risk.

Only one driver has ever managed to win all three races — the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Indy 500 — of the “Triple Crown of Motorsport”, that being Graham Hill.

Two active drivers have checked off two of the three boxes: Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Alonso won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007, and he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019. He has made three Indy 500 attempts and qualified twice. He was in contention for the win in 2017 before a late engine failure. Montoya won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003, and he won the Indy 500 in 2000 and 2015.

Unfortunately, there is a chance that these two drivers may be among the final drivers to have the chance to achieve the Triple Crown.

The Monaco Grand Prix has been a staple on the Formula 1 calendar for decades, and it is considered the crown jewel of the sport. Circuit de Monaco hosted its first race in 1929, and the race has been contested a total of 79 times, including this past Sunday’s rain-shortened event.

But the 19-turn, 2.074-mile (3.338-kilometer) temporary street circuit in Monte Carlo, Monaco is not under contract to return to the schedule in 2023, and there are serious doubts that it will return, given the overall feeling that it simply is not suitable for modern Formula 1 cars.

While Sunday’s race was one of the more chaotic races the track has produced in recent years, it yet again demonstrated the fact that passing is next to impossible on the tight streets of the principality, despite the initial hope that this year’s new cars may be able to change that.

And if the race does end up axed, the Triple Crown could also become a thing of the past.

Aside from Alonso, just five active Formula 1 drivers have won the Monaco Grand Prix and would therefore have a chance to join Graham Hill as Triple Crown winners: Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, and Sergio Perez.

But the majority of those drivers have ruled out even competing in the Indy 500, and even for those who haven’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will end up competing in it one day. Plus, competing in it and winning it are two very different propositions.

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So unless Fernando Alonso returns to the Indy 500 and wins it or Juan Pablo Montoya is able to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans (he has run it in three of the last four years), Graham Hill may forever remain the only person to win all three races of the Triple Crown.