No list of memorable Formula 1 races would be complete without the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix.
In that race, Senna, then a rookie driving for the underdog Toleman-Hart Formula 1 team, was in second place in the rain-drenched closing laps, gaining at a furious pace of 3-seconds a lap on the race-leading Alain Prost, then driving for McLaren. On the start of the 31st lap, the gap was approximately seven seconds between the two cars—surely Senna would make his move any lap now. Sadly, at the end of that ill-fated lap, race control would show two flags on account of the deluge of rain: a red flag (indicating the race has come to an emergency stop) as well as the checkered flag. Prost hesitated as he approached the finish line, handing Senna what he thought was the race win. Unfortunately, regulations dictated that the leader on the lap prior to the red flag would be deemed the winner.
It was a controversial and crushing end to the race, especially for Senna, though his prodigious talent in the wet conditions helped earn him the “Rainmaster” nickname and would jumpstart his career as potentially the greatest Formula 1 driver to have raced.
The very 1984 Toleman-Hart TG184 Senna drove in that Monaco Grand Prix—his first ever—is now up for grabs to the highest bidder at Bonhams’ Monaco collector car auction, to take place May 11. Designed by Rory Byrne and Pat Symmonds, this car, chassis 02, was driven by Senna in several other races that year, with a third-place finish at Brands Hatch to compliment Senna’s runner-up result at Monaco. The estimate for the car is $890,000 to $1,200,000, so don’t think you’ll buy it for a steal.
That said, if the TG184 eludes you, there’s always a chance at the 1993 McLaren-Cosworth MP4/8A in which Senna scored his record-breaking sixth and final Monaco Grand Prix win. With its active suspension and Cosworth-designed V-8 engine with a near-13,000-rpm redline, the MP3/8A represented a technologically advanced era of Formula 1 with all the sights, sounds and sparks that many say is missing from modern Formula 1. No estimate is offered for the McLaren, but we expect it will take at least $1,000,000 to put the F1 car in your collection.
Looking for more legendary cars with Formula 1 connections? Check out the RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction featuring Gilles Villeneuve’s personal Ferrari 308 road car.