At the heart of the razzamatazz that makes the Monaco Grand Prix Formula One's blue ribbon event, is a very serious intent. After a less than rewarding start to the 2004 season, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team returns to the scene of last year's memorable...
At the heart of the razzamatazz that makes the Monaco Grand Prix Formula One's blue ribbon event, is a very serious intent. After a less than rewarding start to the 2004 season, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team returns to the scene of last year's memorable victory on the narrow and punishing Mediterranean street circuit.
Replicating the form that saw Ralf Schumacher claim pole and team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya win the race is a tall order, due in part to the idiosyncratic nature of the track which disproportionately rewards qualifying prowess. Regardless, the team prepare for the race in the knowledge that a strong performance could be a catalyst to revised fortunes for the remainder of the season.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"No doubt the Monaco Grand Prix is both very special and very difficult at the same time. The track punishes you for any mistakes because if you lose the car you end up in the wall. It is an art to learn how to push there! It's a unique race because it's the only real street circuit we race at and this is the main reason why it has so much charm."
"I was on pole two years ago and I won last year. I remain very proud of this particular victory as it has long been one of my main Formula One ambitions to win at Monaco. This year will really down to the car if we'll be able to catch up with our competitors. Naturally I'll be giving my all to repeat last year's success."
"I am looking forward to next weekend in Monaco as I lived there for many years. That said, the track is not up-to-date, but nevertheless, last year it was the highlight of the season as on Saturday I was on pole and on Sunday Juan won the race! It was the turning point of what had been a disappointing start of the season and in the end we nearly claimed a World Championship."
"At the moment we are far away from that possibility, but I would like to believe in a little miracle in the Principality. But looking at it realistically, we are not going to be fighting for the victory unless other teams do not perform at their best. At present the Team is working round the clock, but it will take some time before we can be at the front again."
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer WilliamsF1):
"We have been at the Paul Ricard circuit in France testing tyres for the Monaco GP and progressing setup items. Monaco is a tight street circuit that rewards the best chassis and drivers so it was good for us to win this GP last year. The grip level of the circuit increases a lot during the weekend because the tyres are so soft and therefore a lot of rubber is laid down. Strategy will be interesting here because there has been a trend to go shorter and shorter for the 1st pitstop but at Monaco overtaking is virtually impossible so it may go another way."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"We are now embarking on a new phase in the ongoing development of the BMW P84 engine. At the beginning of the season we had achieved our first target, namely to develop an engine that would survive a virtual doubling of its lifespan, as stipulated by the regulations, without any significant weight increase or sacrifice in performance compared to the P83."
"The second target was to provide maximum engine speed and with it peak power all the way up to seventh gear for the entire race distance. We have now also implemented that. Our drivers should thus be ideally equipped for the race. The third target is to ensure it remains that way by continuing our development work through the season to enhance performance even further."
"In Monaco, you can't win anything through sheer power alone, of course. But good engine driveability pays off in the tight turns. The Rascasse hairpin at the harbour is the only corner in the whole Formula One season where engine speed drops down to around 5000 rpm, even in first gear."