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A process of elimination
Monte Carlo, May 7th
Racing round-the-houses at Monte Carlo may have a lot wrong with it but it is never short on support or enthusiasm and this year 31 drivers were entered. As the CSI rules only allow 20 cars to take part in the Monaco GP, due to the restricted width and length of the circuit, there had to be a process of elimination. This began long before the sound of Armco barriers being assembled began, or the tubular scaffolding grand-stands began to rise up from every available space. The Formula One Constructors’ Association naturally booked 20 places for their members, which on the face of things prevented anyone else taking part, but the regulations allowed for 24 drivers to take part in practice, the slowest four irrespective of who they were, would be out of the race. There were still 11 lined up for the four practice places, so the Automobile Club of Monaco thinned this down by applying the CSI invitation rule, which allowed the Club to nominate two entries. These were the factory Renault and Frank Williams' Saudia Airlines sponsored car for Alan Jones. The Renault was an obvious invitation, but some teams, both in the "Ecclestone Club" and out of it, were muttering about the Williams entry. On performance alone Alan Jones deserved to be invited, after his showing in South Africa and California, but you could hardly hold a race in the Principality of Monaco without inviting the entry sponsored by Saudi Arabia, not in this day and age.