MONACO GRAND PRIX 1997 - REVIEW ================================ The West McLaren Mercedes team experienced a weekend of mixed fortunes culminating in a race which presented...
MONACO GRAND PRIX 1997 - REVIEW ================================ The West McLaren Mercedes team experienced a weekend of mixed fortunes culminating in a race which presented wet weather conditions, for which no one was prepared. As the cars lined up on the grid, the sun, which had prevailed for the previous four days was exchanged for rain and teams up and down the pit lane had to take instant action in order to react to the new set of challenges which this presented.
Having spent all practice and official qualifying sessions running on slicks and dry weather set ups, the sudden change in the weather rendered the work accomplished during the previous three days irrevelant. Based on the team's meteorologists forecast (which predicted drizzle for fifteen minutes) the team decided to cover both options.
Therefore, on David's car we opted for intermediate tyres, whilst a decision was taken to keep Mika on slicks. Unfortunately (as is often the case with weather forecasts) the predictions were wrong and the light drizzle turned to continuous rain.
Racing casualties abounded and sadly David was to be one of these on the second lap of the race. Coming out of the tunnel he made a mistake, spun and ended up backwards on the entry to the first chicane, in the process of which he damaged his left rear suspension.
The chain reaction resulting from David's spin further inflicted pain on the West McLaren Mercedes team with several other cars (one of which was Mika's) damaging their suspension and front body work as they attempted to squeeze through the reduced track width.
This result represented one of the shortest races ever for McLaren. In situations like this it is not productive to do anything other than take a positive approach to the future, put Monaco behind us, and focus on the next Grand Prix in Barcelona.