The Monaco Grand Prix is Formula One’s blue-
It’s the most famous race in the world – and one of the toughest; winning here is invariably the domain of the sport’s greats.
Drivers put it all on the line around the tough streets of Monte-
There have been Monaco Grands Prix without a single overtake in the past – which makes strategy all the more important, as races can be won or lost on the pitwall.
Track position is crucial in Monaco because it’s the toughest place on the calendar for overtaking – and by a significant margin. Qualifying is the key to a strong weekend, and the pitwall is kept busy by the possibility of making up places in the pitlane through strategy, so expect plenty of variance and undercuts as engineers look for tiny, marginal gains.
Despite the lack of overtaking, the race can be turned on its head in an instant. It’s the shortest race distance of the year – at 260km, compared to 305km for all other Grands Prix – but has the highest chance of a Safety Car (80%) or VSCs (25% of all races, since it was introduced), which means it regularly runs close to the two-
RedBull Racing -
WHAT the TECH
What are the engineering challenges with a unique circuit like Monaco?
Which plethora of restaurants to go to of course! Joking aside, it’s the slowest speed track that we go to. There are no high speed corners and the apex speeds are the lowest we encounter on the calendar. There’s an emphasis therefore on putting downforce onto the car, usually by using large rear wings. We also have to consider the impact on brake temperatures due to the low speeds and the warm air. In addition, as we depend more on low revs and gears, we must consider the engine’s ability to deliver the power smoothly and predictability… it’s crucial for the driver around this track.
As Monaco is a street circuit, can you talk us through the track surface and how that impacts the car’s performance?
The circuit is bumpier than most of the tracks that we go to so you need a set-
The margin for error is minimal in Monaco, how important is qualifying?
There is a great dependency on qualifying in Monaco as the circuit is twisty and narrow, the ability to overtake is very limited. If you make a mistake and use the kerbs a bit too much you do not have space to recover.
MAX VERSTAPPEN Q&A
The Spanish Grand Prix was a difficult one, how do you feel looking back?
I feel good about it, but as a Team it wasn’t the smoothest weekend, we definitely lacked pace throughout the race. It is what it is and we still secured second place and good points for the Team. It’s still early in the season so we just have to make sure that we keep pushing and applying the pressure and start winning some more races. We are always analysing and pushing ourselves to the maximum.
Where do you think we need to improve in order to challenge Mercedes?
I think our tyre degradation but also the general pace of the car wasn’t good enough to really challenge Mercedes in Barcelona. I got ahead of Lewis in Turn 1 but if I hadn’t, he would have just driven off so leading the race for so long made it look tougher to lose out on the win. We just need to keep on improving.
Looking ahead to Monaco, how excited are you to race there again?
The Monaco Grand Prix is always very special, it’s very different to other tracks, the circuit is very narrow but also amazing to drive over one lap in qualifying. You can really feel when you have got it all hooked up and the lap is going to be a good one -
There is no margin for error in Monaco so how important is qualifying?
I know very well that there is no margin for error in Monaco (laughs), we just have to make sure we nail it on Saturday. Of course then on Sunday it is usually straight forward as overtaking is so difficult but a lot of things can happen. We need to be at our best now on Saturday and Sunday to make sure we are on the top step of the podium.
SERGIO PEREZ Q&A
Spain proved to be a challenging weekend but fifth place on Sunday delivered solid points for the Team. How do you look back on it?
It was a tough weekend and it was compromised by the poor performance on Saturday in qualifying, I wasn’t one hundred percent physically so I did struggle but I’m back to full fitness now. Looking ahead I’m getting more comfortable with the car so I hope we are able to show that in Monaco and put in a good performance on Saturday. I’m excited to race there especially as we weren’t able to last year.
You said you spent much of the race behind Daniel thinking about how to overtake him. Talk us through that.
It was aiming for the overtake in Turn 1, McLaren were very fast in a straight line so that obviously made things a bit harder for us. I finally managed to make the move but it was just too late in the race.
Looking ahead to Monaco, you finished on the podium there in 2016. What’s the goal this weekend?
Historically Red Bull has been strong in Monaco so I hope we are able to fight for the win. You need a lot of confidence with the car there because the margin for error is so small. I’m feeling more confident with the car so I hope I am able to show that throughout the weekend. I’m also looking forward to seeing the fans, the atmosphere is so different without them.
With a championship battle this year, how important is development and continuing to push on the 2021 car from everyone back at the factory?
It’s very important to maximise weekend after weekend. There are big challenges ahead and the season is very long so it requires everyone to be at one hundred percent to bring that championship home.
ASTON MARTIN Cognizant Formula 1 Team -
“There’s a long season ahead, and the new parts we ran in Barcelona felt like an improvement and are helping us to move forward. The goal is to build on that in Monte-
“It was a shame not to be able to race at Monaco last year, so I’m really excited we’re returning this year. We know we need to keep pushing hard to find improvements, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. With such a tight battle in the midfield, anything can happen – especially at a place like this. If we execute our weekend strongly, we’ll be aiming for the points.”