Indianapolis & Monaco: Curious Details
There are some interesting coincidences worth observing in regard to both the Indianapolis and the Monaco tracks. These reach beyond the obvious coincidental time of year in which these two most prestigious events are held – the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.
A curious tendency seems to insinuate itself, as if somehow suggesting an underlying relationship binding these two world famous race circuits, Indianapolis and Monaco, in regard to the pinnacle of auto-racing (F-1, more European-based, though international, and CART/IRL, American-based, though also reaching world-wide.).
Let's start with Formula One.
Curiously, in 2000-2001, both Ferraris and both McLarens, in addition to Villeneuve's BAR, achieved precisely the same results in the F1 2001 Monaco Grand Prix, as they had achieved in the preceding (2000) F1 Indianapolis Grand Prix.
In both GPs, M.Schumacher was first, Barrichello second, Villeneuve fourth, Coulthard fifth and Hakkinen likewise did not finish either Grand Prix. Different were just third and six places (third for Jaguar's Irvine in Monaco 2001, whereas for Jordan's Frentzen in Indianapolis 2000, and sixth place for Prost's Jean Alesi in Monaco 2001, whereas for BAR's Ricardo Zonta in Indianapolis 2000).
A fairly analogous relationship emerges also regarding these F1 GP's, now considering the Indianapolis-2001 and Monaco-2002 Grand Prix. To start with, McLaren was the victorious Team in both: McLaren's top driver, that is, Hakkinen in Indianapolis-2001 (his last victory in F1) and Coulthard in Monaco-2002, curiously, McLaren's first victory since Hakkinen's last, in the Formula One Indianapolis 2001 Grand Prix,
M.Schumacher came likewise second in both races (Indianapolis-2001 and Monaco-2002), and Trulli likewise fourth (though racing for Renault in 2002, whereas for Jordan in 2001).
Different this time were: P3 (Coulthard in Indy-2001 and R.Schumacher in Monaco-2002); P5 (Barrichello in Indy-2001 and Fisichella in Monaco-2002); and P6 (Heidfeld in Indy-2001 and Frentzen in Monaco-2002).
If you want to push these curious coincidences a bit, note that  Barrichello's and Fisichella's surnames nearly rhyme,  the two drivers finishing in sixth place were German and both driving for teams running on tight budgets (and, if not in 2001, Frentzen had finished the Indy 2000 F1 GP in the points, though in third, rather than his sixth place in the Monaco 2002 F1 GP).
I haven't looked further back than what just shared. But if you are used to placing your bet before racing events, it might be an idea to keep an eye on the results of this year's (2002) GP results in Indianapolis, when Formula One races there, and make a note that could come in handy before the 2003 F1 Monaco Grand Prix! ;)... And, well, if my observations help make you a millionaire, don't forget to let me know! ;)...
Less curious, since these are, together with the LeMans 24 hrs., the most famous & prestigious motor races, anyway, is the fact that there were memorable records at stake in 2002:
in Monaco, Ayrton Senna's record of six victories (previously Graham Hill's, with five), which David Coulthard prevented Michael Schumacher from his intent to equal;
whereas in Indianapolis, Hélio Castroneves not only matched Al Unser Snr.'s 3-decade held record of successive wins (1971), but may have actually established a new record, himself: I suspect that Castroneves is the first Indy-rookie to achieve the feat of two successive top honors. (If you know better than me, pls. send me a note on it!)
Finally, a few interestingly related facts may add yet a bit more color to the above mentioned curious underlying coincidences. Let's now consider both F1 and IRL/CART racing, and their respective racing events taking place nearly simultaneously on both sides of the Globe
Brazilian Bruno Junqueira and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, both South Americans and both presently and formerly hired by the same F1 and CART teams, were the drivers who conquered the Indianapolis and Monaco pole positions in 2002 (respectively). Neither driver finished their races due to car failures, both spilling oil on the track, which ultimately meant the end of the race for a few other drivers. [ More on Junqueira's CART and F3000 racing. | See also on the close cooperation between the F3000 Petrobrás Junior Team and Williams-BMW Formula One Team success. ]
Junqueira crossed the Atlantic at the start of 2001, in the opposite directions as Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, in order to replace the Colombian driver's vacant seat in the CART Series (see above). Although Montoya did not replace Junqueira, but Britain Jenson Button, Junqueira was Williams' development driver while also racing in the F3000 Championship, which he won in 2000, and right before taking Montoya's place in the CART Team.
So, even though these two drivers were not exactly exchanged, they certainly share akin paths, not to mention that Montoya had also won the F3000 Championship and tested for the Williams Team, before crossing the Atlantic to race in the Champ Cars Series.
Last year (2001) I had wondered on this page whether on September 30, 2001, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (US Grand Prix) would once more offer curiously compatible events and results with those to come on June 11, 2002 in the streets of Monaco (Monaco Grand Prix). If you have been able to see any that I have missed, or have extended the comparison further back in time, I'd be delighted to hear from you!
No matter how curious, though, these are of course mere coincidences that have caught my eyes, trained as they have been by research work where I must spot relationships that usually go unnoticed or are taken for granted. But in view of what has so far emerged, I'll now repeat the question: Are we to witness further coincidences?... As always, time will tell ;)...