[F1] The King of Monaco, The designs of Graham Hill

The important designs of British world champion, Graham Hill.

Graham Hill earned the titles of Mr. Monaco and King of Monaco on his way to five Monaco Grand Prix victories, a feat only beaten by the great Ayrton Senna. The British double world champion managed to win the the race three year in a row, 1963–65, but his 1968 victory was important for the world of design. It marked the first time a Formula 1 car with a sponsorship livery won on the famous streets of Monte Carlo.

Graham Hill on the way to winning the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix.

The Monaco Grand Prix was the second race for the re-liveried Lotus 49, and the second win for Graham Hill in it. Before the Gold Leaf livery started a precedent for Formula 1 cars to be painted in in colours of sponsors they would carry the colour of the team’s country. Due to the rising costs in Formula 1 this would come to an end in the late 1960’s. For the first sponsored livery on F1 the Lotus 49 looks really good, the simple use of colours with the large number 9 stuck on the side fits the era racing liveries, something current cars could learn from. The red and white livery is not the most famous Lotus livery, that has to be the JPS black and gold design, but it is one of the most important liveries in F1 and motorsport.

Graham Hills helmet is another example of great design. Based of his local rowing clubs colours it is an example of a basic design that just works. We are use to drivers helmets changing as rapidly as one per session on a race weekend and having overly complicated designs in them, you can forget that designs as simple as this works. The design that Hill used for the entire of his career, on the way to being the only person to win the Motorsport triple crown has been used by his world champion son, Damon, and his Grandson, Josh making this helmet truly synonymous with the Hill racing dynasty.

Graham Hill started his own team in 1973, it wasn’t overly successful and although he raced at the circuit he loved three times with his team he didn’t score any points at Monaco. For the 1975 race he did not qualify and then decided to retire. His last car, the Lola T370 was again a livery of the era, not too complicated, but one that worked. The white and red of the car resembled the packaging of the teams title sponsor, the tobacco brand Embassy, with the large air intake a perfect shape and size to have the ribbon on. It is a shame that this car never found its way to the front of the grid.

Graham Hill at the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix