What Happened On This Day May 22 In F1 History?

From Alberto Ascari crashing into the harbour of the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix to plenty of overtakes at the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix.


By Ben Bush
Updated on June 13, 2024

Alberto Ascari plunges into the Monaco harbour 1955
Alberto Ascari plunges into the Monaco harbour at the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.

What happened on this day, May 22 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


On this day, May 22, Alberto Ascari crashed his Lancia into the harbour at the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix while battling for the race win. Early race leader Juan Manuel Fangio retired with a bent axle, allowing his Mercedes teammate Stirling Moss to take the lead. However, Moss’s engine blew on lap 81, and Ascari, poised to inherit the lead, became distracted, skidded at the chicane, and plunged through sandbags into the Mediterranean. Remarkably, he emerged with only a broken nose and swam to safety, leaving Maurice Trintignant in the Ferrari to claim the win. Tragically, just four days later, Ascari died testing a Ferrari sports car at Monza. Reflecting on the Monaco crash, Ascari had wondered if his luck was running out.


Wolfgang von Trips won a rather uneventful 1961 Dutch Grand Prix for Ferrari on May 22. The race was notable as one of only two F1 races in which all cars that started finished without a pit stop. The closest call came on the last lap when Richie Ginther narrowly avoided a crash after the throttle on his Ferrari stuck wide open.

The other race without pit stops was the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix – which was red-flagged after two full laps due to bad weather. Although it’s debatable that was a race.


On May 22, Jackie Stewart secured his second Grand Prix win, winning by 40 seconds on the streets of the principality for the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix. John Surtees led early but retired with a differential failure on lap 15, handing the lead to Stewart. Jim Clark provided the race’s excitement, charging from the back of the field to fifth before retiring on lap 60 with suspension failure.


Jody Scheckter won the 1977 Monaco Grand Prix on May 22, for Wolf, finishing ahead of the Ferraris of Niki Lauda and Carlos Reutemann. Starting from second on the grid, Scheckter overtook John Watson in the Brabham at the first corner and maintained his lead throughout the race. It was Wolf’s second Grand Prix victory of the season, and Scheckter went on to win another race, securing second place in the championship. The Wolf team never won again after 1977.


The inaugural race on the revised and shortened Spa Francorchamps circuit was won by Alain Prost. Controversy erupted at the start when an aborted getaway required drivers to complete a single lap and return to the grid for refuelling, which was against regulations. Once the confusion was resolved, Andrea de Cesaris led initially, followed by Prost and Patrick Tambay. De Cesaris lost his position during mid-race pit stops and was ultimately sidelined by an engine failure, allowing Prost to take the lead and win by over 20 seconds.


Michael Schumacher decided not to pursue building a large ranch complex with a helicopter pad in Wolfhalden, Switzerland, after facing significant delays in obtaining planning permission. Schumacher had envisioned moving to the quiet village in eastern Switzerland but ultimately chose to remain in western Switzerland. “The whole environment absolutely matched our ideal,” he said. “But the legal process would have taken too long. For that reason, we have decided to halt the project and will stay where we are.”


The 2005 Monaco Grand Prix showcased that overtaking on its narrow streets is possible even in modern F1 cars. Kimi Raikkonen dominated from the start, but behind him, title rival Fernando Alonso faced pressure from the Williams drivers Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber. Both managed to pass Alonso at the harbour chicane as his Michelin tyres degraded. Michael Schumacher also executed a daring move on the final lap, overtaking his teammate Rubens Barrichello and then challenging his brother Ralf as they crossed the finish line.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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