The Monaco GP pre­view

Round 6 / 22-25 May / Cir­cuit de Monaco

F1 Racing - - FINISHING STRAIGHT - Pat Sy­monds,

This tight, twist­ing clas­sic puts more em­pha­sis on driver skill than any other race

Of all the tracks, Monaco is con­sid­ered to be the ul­ti­mate test of a driver’s skill. Its tight, twisty streets pile pres­sure on the driver, while en­gine power plays a smaller role. Es­pe­cially in change­able con­di­tions, the driver is para­mount: Nel­son Pi­quet likened rac­ing on this cir­cuit to “rid­ing a bi­cy­cle around your liv­ing room.”

Monaco has one of the slow­est cor­ners in F1, the Grand Ho­tel hair­pin, where cars crawl around as slow as 30mph. It also has one of the quick­est: the kink in the tun­nel un­der the Fair­mont Ho­tel, which is chal­leng­ing enough with­out the rapid change from light to dark then back to blind­ing light as the driv­ers exit at high speed.

The cir­cuit is bumpy and un­du­lat­ing and driv­ers will mod­ify ideal rac­ing lines be­tween Casino and Mirabeau cor­ners to avoid overly un­set­tling their cars. En­gi­neers, mean­while, must pro­vide a ‘soft’ car that will let the tyres re­tain as much con­tact as pos­si­ble with the as­phalt, with­out giv­ing up too much aero­dy­namic grip.

Teams typ­i­cally run a spe­cial, larg­erthan-usual rear wing here to en­sure as much down­force as pos­si­ble is achieved at the lower speeds re­quired here. Front down­force is also an is­sue, with most teams tend­ing to run a lot of – if not max­i­mum – front wing, be­cause the cir­cuit has an un­der­steer-in­duc­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic.

The as­phalt is very smooth, which is why Pirelli will bring the su­per­soft tyre here for the rst time, paired with the soft com­pound. The in­creased torque of the 2014 power units makes good trac­tion more im­por­tant than ever. We may see quite se­vere rear-tyre wear if the tyre man­age­ment is any­thing less than per­fect.

With the high oc­cur­rence of Safety Cars, red ags and/or change­able con­di­tions com­bined with the difculty of over­tak­ing, Monaco pre­sents a unique prob­lem in terms of strat­egy. Al­though a cer­tain num­ber of stops might be op­ti­mal for a sin­gle car go­ing around the cir­cuit, teams are pushed to re­duce the num­ber of tyre changes, tak­ing into ac­count the ac­tions of other cars – be­cause track po­si­tion is key. Teams of­ten take a slower strat­egy (in terms of lap time) be­cause it pro­vides a bet­ter dis­tri­bu­tion of out­comes.

De­spite the difculty of over­tak­ing, there is a lot of ex­cite­ment here, since a sin­gle ac­ci­dent can dras­ti­cally change the out­come of the en­tire race.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.