Monaco Grand Prix Preview – Williams
MONACO GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
When: Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 May, 2011
Where: Circuit de Monaco
Round: 6 of 19
The jewel in Formula One’s crown. The dash through the Principality’s tortuous streets is the most prestigious on the calendar; it stands on a pedestal, almost distinct from the sport from which it was born.
The 78-lap race is one of the most intense and mentally draining of the year for the drivers. The proximity of the barriers leaves no room for error and there are no straights along which they can relax. Overtaking is virtually impossible, which places extra importance on Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session. Grid position is crucial.
Add the glamour of the Monaco harbour and a handful of A-list celebrities into the mix and you have one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Sam Michael, Technical Director: The Spain – Monaco back-to-back presents clear logistical challenges for the operational group and engineering team. Any modifications to the cars based on information gained in Barcelona must be turned around quickly so it will be a busy week.
Monaco is a low grip street circuit, requiring the softest springs and highest ride heights that we operate over the whole season. Normally reducing understeer and improving traction are the keys to a good laptime.
Rubens Barrichello: Monaco is a second home for me so I really enjoy this race weekend, especially qualifying. We need to wait and see how we can use DRS. While the FIA is conscious of that fact that it is notoriously difficult to overtake around Monaco, they want to try and make it possible without making it dangerous. I am open-minded to whatever they decide. We are keen to keep on fighting as we want to score some points as soon as possible.
Pastor Maldonado: I feel good heading to Monaco and it is definitely my favourite track and a place where I’ve had great results over the last five years (including one win in World Series and two wins and two podium finishes in GP2). For me it has a magical atmosphere and to be there racing in Formula One has always been a dream of mine. I would love to score my first points of the year there. I think it will be difficult for us as we don’t have much time between these two races and we’ve never tried the supersoft tyres before. Once we see how they perform, we can then see how we can improve our performance within the car.
From Cosworth’s perspective: Monaco is one of the least demanding tracks of the season in terms of requiring outright engine power with just half the lap spent at full throttle. It does pose its own unique challenges, though. The lack of any long straights and the number of low speed corners means that cooling becomes a critical issue. Drivers need to find a rhythm to put a quick lap time together, which requires driveability from the engine, traction through the slow corners and quick acceleration in the low speed gear range. There is also the added pressure of Monaco being a street circuit; the bumpy nature of the track puts all elements from the driver, car and engine under some considerable strain which can certainly take its toll over 78 gruelling laps.
From Pirelli’s perspective: This race is where our new supersoft tyres, which are ideally suited to a circuit like Monaco, are making their debut.. . It’s a question of extracting the maximum performance and grip in Monaco within the shortest space of time, and that’s what our supersofts are designed to do. It’s not exactly a qualifying tyre but the supersoft is nonetheless quite focussed and we think that the drivers are going to enjoy using them. Monaco is a race where qualifying is all-important and anything can happen. We think it should suit Williams and it’s a track that definitely presents the team with a good opportunity.