Monaco GP: McLaren preview

The picturesque streets of Monte Carlo provide the setting for round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. From Thursday May 19th until Sunday May 22nd, the small Principality will be taken over by the Formula...

The picturesque streets of Monte Carlo provide the setting for round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. From Thursday May 19th until Sunday May 22nd, the small Principality will be taken over by the Formula One fraternity for the race. The Monaco Grand Prix marks Mercedes-Benz's 200th in Formula One, including 12 races in 1954 and 1955.

The Team McLaren Mercedes team arrives in Monaco, the start of the series of four sets of back-to-back races, remaining in third position in the World Championship following Kimi Raikkonen's victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, with 37 points. Kimi lies third in the driver standings, with team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya in eighth. Alex Wurz will take the wheel of the Team McLaren Mercedes third car for Thursday's Free Practice sessions.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"It is great to arrive in Monaco on the back of the positive result for the team in Spain. Hopefully we will be able to carry the performance through, as Monaco is a race that everyone really wants to win, however it is a completely different challenge. It is the shortest and slowest track we race on, with speeds averaging about 160km/h."

"However even without the fast speeds, high g's and braking points, it is very tough on both the cars and the drivers. There is constant cornering and because of the twisty track you need to concentrate 100% as any small error will mean the end of the race. You can't really overtake, but you can take a chance under braking into Mirabeau, if the car in front is much slower or makes a mistake."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"I always love racing at the Monaco Grand Prix, the location, atmosphere, history, and my victory here in 2003 is a highlight of my career. It does have its difficulties, no run off areas, tight Armco, an interesting track surface with gutters and manhole covers, but with Monaco, they don't really bother you. Because of the track surface you will see the cars with the highest ride height of the season."

"Good front end grip is key for all the twisty corners, and you need to be quick through the apexes. Also aero efficiency is not as important as handling here, and everybody will run with maximum downforce. We had a good test at Paul Ricard, working on set-up for the race, so I am looking forward to getting back out on track on Thursday. "

Alex Wurz:

"I am happy to be back behind the wheel of the Team McLaren Mercedes third car this weekend in Monaco. I have had the opportunity to race here three times before and it was a great experience, so I am looking forward to driving the MP4-20 on the circuit. Despite my accident during Friday's session, we had a good test overall at Paul Ricard, with my work focusing on tyre selection with Michelin."

"Mechanical grip is key in Monaco, as a result of the low speeds and the track layout. Also, grip levels are quite low, but they do tend to increase as more miles are put in on the track and more rubber has been laid. Therefore our work with Michelin on Thursday will be as important as always."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"Everyone within Team McLaren Mercedes was obviously delighted with Kimi's victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, and have been continuing to work solidly with the aim of building on the performance. Monaco is a very unforgiving circuit that requires total concentration and focus from everyone involved for the whole weekend."

"Testing at Paul Ricard, which was configured to the Monaco set-up, saw us complete over 1900 km with Kimi, Juan Pablo, Alex and Pedro. Qualifying is of course vital in Monte Carlo, and we are well positioned in the running order for the first session on Saturday, and to ensure a positive result it is imperative we maximise this."

Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The task to be at the Monaco Grand Prix in a similar position as in the last race in Spain is not an easy one. The nature of the Monte Carlo street circuit is completely different from Barcelona and in fact all the other tracks on the calendar. The race on the streets of the Principality is the one with the slowest average qualifying and race speeds."

"Only about 50 per cent of a lap is run under full throttle. With the race lasting for about an hour and 45 minutes it's also the longest in terms of overall race time. However, with 260 kilometres compared to the 300 kilometres plus of the other races it is the shortest Grand Prix."

"The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most important races during the Formula One season, and it is most definitely the one that every driver and team want to win if they could choose one of all the races. Currently I can see at least half a dozen drivers and as many teams that are basically in a position to do so -- it will be therefore very interesting to see who will do the best job in the Principality."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren