Monaco Grand Prix Preview – Force India
2011 Monaco Grand Prix Preview
An introduction from the Chairman and Team Principal.
Few sporting events can rival the glamour and spectacle of the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a truly unique event that sums up what Formula One is all about and a weekend that everybody enjoys.
Our approach to Monaco will be similar to Barcelona as we continue to evaluate our new aero platform. It’s especially challenging to introduce this without in-season testing and it will take time for us to fully understand and bring through this new philosophy. We will therefore continue to run elements of the new package this weekend so that we can have a phased-introduction over the next few races.
We saw in Barcelona just how competitive Formula One is at the moment and the teams around us in the midfield are all quite evenly matched. I expect another close fight in Monaco, but we will be pushing hard to be at the head of the midfield group to try and pick up some more points.
Paul on Monaco
Paul looks forward to racing at home.
Monaco is one of those races that every driver dreams about. It’s one of the most challenging circuits of the year and one of the ‘big’ races in motorsport. Monaco is also where I live these days, which means I will have two ‘home’ races this year. With all the yachts in the harbour there is always a real buzz to the place and I know it’s going to be an exciting weekend.
Obviously to go around the streets in a Formula One car, where I normally drive my road car, will feel very special. I’ve raced there before in Formula 3, but that was six years ago and it will feel totally different in a Formula One car.
Qualifying is normally the key in Monaco. It used to decide your race. We’ll have to see if it’s any different this year with the nature of the Pirelli tyres and the different strategies, but I think overtaking will still be very difficult. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.
Adrian on Monaco
Adrian looks ahead to one of his favourite races of the year.
Monaco is a very special place for me. I’ve always liked street circuits, but I also have great memories there. It’s a circuit where I’ve usually gone well and 2008 was a great race for me, even though we didn’t get the result we deserved.
It’s a special race weekend in general. It’s a little bit longer because you have Friday free and you can let all the glamour soak in. But after the weekend it’s nice to go back home and back to reality.
Monaco has no margin for error. Some of the modern circuits are too easy, but Monaco is a real old traditional place. The barriers are close but you respect the limit more and you have to build your speed up slowly through the weekend so that you don’t go over the limit.
Nico’s travel tips
Nico tells us what he’ll be packing for Monaco…
– Laptop and charger: if you forget the charger it’s game over!
– My contact lenses: I use daily lenses so I need enough pairs to last me the week.
– My phone: It’s where I store all my music – house, R&B, hip-hop – a real mix.
– Some football boots: I’ll need these for the charity match on Tuesday evening.
– A pair of sunglasses: It’s usually warm and sunny in Monaco so these are essential.
Whyte & Mackay City Guide
Our team partner, Whyte & Mackay, makers of Scotch Whisky, give some survival tips for a week in Monaco.
Where to stay?
Monaco is the place where you can live like a film star in some of the world’s most exclusive hotels. For those who don’t have a yacht moored in the bay, try the Metropole Hotel for some old-style glamour with a contemporary twist.
If you want to live like an F1 star then visit the Colombus Hotel, which was once owned by David Coulthard. This hotel very much falls into the ‘Riviera Chic’ category as it’s beautifully presented but still has that relaxed vibe.
Where to drink?
The American Bar of the Hotel de Paris is a great place to unwind and enjoy a whisky. Taking its cues from an old style American bar, its laid back style of big arm chairs, wood finishes, subtle lighting and the tinkling of the ivories make this bar one of the best in the region. Plus, if you like wine and champagne, it has over 300,000 vintages on offer in its extensive wine cellar.
Zelos Bar is a great place to visit for cocktails, a restaurant and a disco where you can dance the night away. Beautiful sea views and chic decor is mixed with a more contemporary feel with big chandeliers and large fluffy white chairs.
It’s also worth popping into the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel to their Blue Gin Bar. It has fantastic views over the sea and has some highly innovative and unusual cocktails to sample.
Where to eat?
If it’s fine dining you’re after then Alain Ducasse’s three Michelin starred Louise XV Restaurant in the Hotel de Paris is a must. For something a little simpler, but equally as tasty, try the Brassiere du Cafe de Paris, Le Grill restaurant and Le Mirimar.
If places are judged by the number of locals that go there, then Sass Café muse be excellent. It’s well known for its opulent decor, great food and drink selection and bustling night life around its piano bar. It’s a must visit place for those new to Monaco.
A race against the clock
Moving the race team from Barcelona to Monaco in just a couple of days is not without its challenges, especially where the team’s three-storey hospitality unit is concerned. In fact it took a group of eight people almost 18 hours after the race in Barcelona to break it down and pack it away into six trailers. After that, 12 drivers set off in the trucks to begin the 700km journey to Monaco arriving late on Monday evening.
Setting up in Monaco isn’t exactly straightforward either because you can’t necessarily begin straight away. That’s because the vast city of ‘motorhomes’ have to be built in order. So it could be Tuesday before the set-up crew can start thinking about rebuilding the unit. When they do get started, it takes the best part of a day to get everything in place and operational.